Mission Statement

Offering hope and changing lives by fostering healthy lifestyles.

Preventing Addiction • Sharing Resources • Supporting Recovery

What We Do

Central Nebraska Council on Alcoholism is a small nonprofit organization serving central Nebraska with alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention education, information, referral, intervention and recovery services since 1967. The overall goal is to provide resources that will empower youth and adults in an effort to increase the number of youth and adults making healthy lifestyle choices.  We offer the following services:

Youth Prevention Programs

  • Kids Power!
  • Discovery Kids
  • Kids Power2
  • CATCH Kids Club
  • All Stars

We also facilitate youth leadership activities with middle and high school youth.

Register for a Youth Program

Lending Library

We house more than 1200 books, videos, and DVD’s and CD’s for free loan, offering help and hope for the many challenges of life, including substance abuse and addiction issues. Some Spanish materials are available. 

More Information

The BIG BOOK Store

We offer a large selection (over 400 titles) of books, pamphlets, greeting cards, t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, mugs and other gift items. New items are added regularly. We can special order if needed. Some Spanish materials are available. 

Go to the Store

Informational Resources

Available free or at a low cost; up-to-date print materials regarding alcohol, tobacco and other drugs (articles, pamphlets, meeting lists, posters, etc). Some materials are available in Spanish.

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Referral Services

CNCAA helps individuals and families needing treatment services, self-help groups, or other human service agencies find help, in and out of Nebraska. We are a listening and compassionate ear in times of crisis.

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Intervention Services

It is sometimes very difficult to recognize an addiction problem in a spouse, parent, child or other loved one. You may need the help of a knowledgeable professional and the support of others with the same experience. At CNCAA’s Family Education Program you’ll gather the information and resources you need to help your family deal with addiction. You will receive tools to get you started on the road to recovery.

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Our History

One man’s vision

About Our Founder

Don Marquard was a recovering alcoholic. Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. In other words, an alcoholic can never take one drink without the possibility of trouble. Don came to know this through Alcoholic Anonymous. For twenty-seven years, he had known complete and continuous sobriety. He was able to do this because he followed the Twelve Steps of A.A.

Don became an advocate to help others who were suffering from alcoholism. He did it in person to person contact with alcoholics and their families. He was a warm spirited person, honest with himself and others and willing to help others who wanted help.

He became certified in the field of alcoholism at Columbia University, the University of Wisconsin and the University of Nebraska and Kearney State College. He became a well-known and loyal member of A.A., attending regional and national meetings and sometimes called to speak on this theme. For twenty-two years or longer, he continued as a counselor to alcoholics and families. He and Mrs. Marquard started the first Alateen in Grand Island.

1966, a dream began to take shape. In that summer about fifty businessmen in Grand Island began to meet to think about what could be done to help scores of persons, hundreds of persons in need because of alcoholism. They thought of the formation of an information and referral center, they dreamed of more facilities for A.A. meetings reaching out to so many affected by alcoholism. From this group came the board of directors of the Central Nebraska Council on Alcoholism (CNCA). Progress was slow and money did not come easily, but on April 17, 1967, offices were secured in downtown Grand Island and a program of service and information and counseling began. It continues to this day, touching the lives of thousands of persons in Grand Island and surrounding territory.

The movement of information, education, and counseling has grown in many ways. From one A.A. meeting held down in the basement of the Yancy Hotel, there are now many meetings held each week, held in churches and other institutions. There are Alanon meetings for spouses of alcoholics. There are meetings of Alateen for teenage children of alcoholics. Other improvements have been made to help persons and the community face up to the reality of alcoholism and the help so many persons and families need. Of course, scores of men and women in this community have pitched in to help this program of service and education become a reality (Thank God for them). But most would agree that Don Marquard has been in the forefront all the way. Not only had he continued to be a good neighbor in face to face relationships, he had been a good neighbor in helping to expand the program so that increasing numbers of persons may be helped.”

Our Staff

Connie Holmes has spent the last thirty-four years employed with the Central Nebraska Council on Alcoholism and Addictions in Grand Island serving in all capacities throughout those years, is currently serving as the Director (since September 2006).  Her passion is prevention (focusing on youth) and helping individuals and families whose lives are affected by addiction.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:
“I love the mission and the work of this organization!  Having grown up in a family where alcoholism and other addictions were present, I had then and still have a strong desire to help others who are affected by addiction, especially the children who sometimes are overlooked or neglected.  We want to do all we can to break the cycle of addiction and help children grow up strong and healthy.”

Email: connie@cncaa.info
Phone: (308) 385-5520 ext. 208

Naomi Vogt is the administrative assistant and is the first face you will see when you walk into our doors and the first person you will talk to when you call our office. Naomi received her Childhood Development degree through Central Community College in Grand Island after attending Hastings College for 2 years. When she is not working, she keeps busy residing on a farm outside of Palmer, NE. She has a brown eyed, beautiful boy named Jig who is a mixed Lab and a spunky, short, sweet girl named Darcy that is a Border Collie/Corgi mix.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:
“My parents are both addicts. I had the perfect example of what NOT to be when I grew up. I was always trying to find hope for things to change – they never did. Working at CNCAA, I get to see recovery every day in a way that I never knew that existed. I’ve been able to learn about alcoholism/addiction as a DISEASE. I see hope and have hope every day that recovery is possible. I’ve always wanted to make a difference and here, I feel like I do.”

Email: naomi@cncaa.info
Phone: (308) 385-5520 ext. 202

Sandy Yager began her career at CNCAA the summer of 2007 and is currently the development coordinator. During Sandy’s tenure she has served as a CNCAA program facilitator, and both the Tobacco Free Hall County Coalition’s assistant and coordinator. Sandy participated in the Health Policy Academy at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, studied Human Services and Early Childhood Development at CCC-Grand Island, and is currently working toward a Certificate in Fundraising Management at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She is a Trauma Informed Care and 40 Developmental Assets trained trainer. She has also served the community of Grand Island as an adult volunteer for a number of youth programs. Sandy has been a nominee for the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce’s Top 35 Under 35 and the Grand Island YWCA’s Young Woman of Achievement. Sandy is a Leadership Tomorrow Class 30 alumnus, and in 2016, she earned her Distinguished Toastmasters award. Sandy is a proud mom of two teenagers, Brian and Lila.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:
“As an adult child of addiction, sharing the message of hope to children, families, and individuals is important to me. I have met amazing individuals with powerful recovery messages with many years of sobriety. I have also met individuals at their bottom needing a hand in the right direction and full of gratitude that CNCAA is here in the community to help individuals like them in a time of despair. It is an honor to be able to serve CNCAA’s mission and strive everyday to fulfill CNCAA’s founder, Don Marquard’s vision.”

Email: sandy@cncaa.info
Phone: (308) 385-5520 ext. 210

Sherri Klentz has worked at CNCAA as a Program Assistant for five years since retiring from the Grand Island Public Schools. At CNCAA she works with the Discovery Kids and Catch Kids after school programs, as well as Kid’s Power and Kid’s Power 2. She also facilitates 40 Developmental Assets workshops. Sherri has a Master’s Degree in Education from Wayne State College and has more than twenty-five years of experience as an educator in addition to having worked in both the public and private sectors.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:
“After retiring from Grand Island Public Schools in 2014 I wanted to find a part time job that would allow me to continue to work with kids. I took the summer off, thinking I would look for something in the fall. In mid-July I saw an ad in the paper for a Program Assistant at CNCAA. As I read the job description, I thought, this sounds like a great way to spend time with kids and make a difference! The final sentence in the ad said, “Must have the heart of a teacher.” When I read that, I knew this was the job for me! Not only do I have the heart of a teacher, I also have the heart of one whose life has been affected by addiction. I love the part of CNCAA’s mission statement that says, “Offering hope and changing lives by fostering healthy lifestyles.” It is truly an honor and a privilege to have an opportunity to be a part of helping to achieve that mission.”

Email: sherri@cncaa.info
Phone: (308) 385-5520 ext. 204

Janie Mick has served as a program facilitator for the past two years teaching youth prevention classes in the after school programs, Kids Power, Teen Power, and Kids Power 2. Janie also instructs the substance use education classes.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:
“I love kids and have a passion for those struggling in families of alcoholism and addictions as being from the family of alcoholism I understand those struggles.  My life lessons have given me an understanding of what those kids and families live with yet more importantly to love and teach them how to overcome those obstacles.  Teaching prevention of using alcohol, drugs and tobacco help kids understand why they should say no and how to say no while protecting their body and brains. I also have come to understand the disease of alcoholism and addition and have a passion for teaching our Prime for Life classes and showing how we can change our outcome by making low risk choices.”

Email: janie@cncaa.info
Phone: (308) 385-5520 ext. 205

Cristina Terrazas is the bilingual program facilitator and bilingual substance use education instructor. She began her career at CNCAA the spring of 2019 and loves working in the after school programs.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:

“My brother died from alcoholism and working at The Council has help understand that alcoholism and addiction are diseases. The Council has given me the chance to meet new faces that I can share this information and provide hope to them and their families.”

Email: cristina@cncaa.info
Phone: (308) 385-5520 ext. 203

Tesha Hall serves as an AmeriCorp Vista here at CNCAA in partnership with the Heartland United Way. Tesha was born and raised here in Grand Island, NE and was a high school graduate of Hampton, NE. She has an Associate’s Degree in Human Services and a Bachelor’s Degree is in Child and Family Welfare. Tesha enjoys working with all different types of people with different backgrounds and making a difference in their lives. In Tesha’s free time she loves being around her family and being active.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:
“I am very passionate with the work I do and the career field I am in as I enjoy making a difference in people’s lives and watching them continue to stay on the right path is truly a good feeling.”

Email: latesha@cncaa.info
Phone: (308) 385-5520 ext. 205

Celeste L. Heaivilin-Penner is the coalition coordinator for Hamilton, Howard, and Merrick counties. Celeste also co-facilities the Intervention and Family Intervention programs as well as the 40 Developmental Assets parenting classes. Celeste is a Licensed Mental Health Practitioner and has a private practice. She has lived in the Grand Island/Lincoln area for the past 36 years. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and the family in 1988 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She worked at the Bridge, Inc. in Chemical Dependency and at Health and Human Services in the Foster Care and Adoption Program. She received her Master’s Degree in Community Counseling and Education in 2000 from the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Other work experience includes the Camelot Care Center serving children/teens with severe behavioral disorders, the University of Nebraska Extension in the Building Nebraska Families life skills education program, and in private counseling practice.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:
“I want to help those suffering from addiction and their families.”

Michaela Perry became the coordinator for the Tobacco Free Hall County Coalition in November 2017. She graduated in May 2018 with a Master of Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology from the University of Nebraska Omaha. Michaela started with the Central Nebraska Council on Alcoholism and Addictions as a Program Assistant in February of 2017. Outside of work, Michaela loves spending time with her family and pets, reading, playing and coaching volleyball and riding horses.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:
“Substance abuse has impacted my family and because of that I am passionate about helping individuals that have been struggling with substance abuse. I am also passionate about being healthy and helping our community to be healthy as well.”

Email: michaela@cncaa.info
Phone: (308) 385-5520 ext.206

Katie Usasz became the coordinator for the Prevention Project (formerly the Grand Island Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition) the fall of 2017 after coordinating the Tobacco Free Hall County Coalition. Katie has worked in everything from retail, to nursing, to clinical trials at the cancer treatment center and is grateful to be able to use all of the skills learned from these positions and education as the coordinator for Hall County’s substance abuse prevention coalition called “Prevention Project.” She graduated high school in 2005 and became a fully engaged non-traditional student in 2016, completing her Associate’s Degree through Central Community College in December of 2017 and her Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Sciences through Bellevue University in August of 2019. Katie is humbly grateful for the opportunity to continue her education and looks forward to continuing her education and applying for a master’s program soon! Katie is a single mother of one child with two legs, two with four legs that bark, one bunny, a lizard, and a turtle. Katie states there is rarely a dull moment in her house! Katie loves to talk about her work- if you are ever in the office feel free to stop by and pick her brain!

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:

“I have experienced the pains of helplessness and hopelessness that come with living with the disease of addiction and alcoholism. I am grateful to have been saved from the wreckage that the disease caused in my life and the lives of those who care about me. God willing, I will celebrate 5 years of recovery in December of 2019. I want to give what I have to be of service to prevent others from ever having to enter that arena.”

Email: katieu@cncaa.info
Phone: (308) 385-5520 ext.207

Our Board of Directors

Mike Timmerman serves as a CNCAA Board Member. Mike was raised right here in Grand Island, was a Newell Knight, a Walnut Wildcat and then a Senior High Islander. After Mike graduated he went to the Unites Stated Air Force. Mike came home from the service and started to work at Case New Holland for a couple of years and then started to work and continues to work at Hornady Manufacturing. Mike has three children and 2 step children and has been married to his wife, Jeanette, for 27+ years.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:
“I have been on the board for quite a long time and I love being a part of this agency that does so much to help people in recovery and their families. It sure does seem in my life that whenever I think I am doing something good to help others that God returns that back to me threefold. I feel very blessed that I have an opportunity to serve on the Council’s board because this is important work.”

Dan DeNeui has served as a CNCAA Board Member for a number of years.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:
“The Kids Power program transformed my children into confident, understanding, and coping kids in a time when I couldn’t afford a therapist. The program was invaluable to their healing and I will always support the program at CNCAA because I have seen firsthand the benefits of it to this community and all the little children affected by addictions in it.”

Trevor Stryker has served on the CNCAA Board for over two years and currently serves as the Board’s secretary. He is a certified Intentional Peer Support and Wellness Specialist through the State of Nebraska’s Department of Behavioral Health. Trevor has been trained as a facilitator for Mental Health First Aid with a focus on the Veteran population. Trevor received his associates degree through Central Community College in Human Services with a Specialty in Drug and Alcohol Counseling in 2012, his bachelors degree from University of Nebraska at Kearney in Social Work in 2017, and is expected to graduate from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a Masters Degree in Social Work in December 2019. He has experience working with veterans, and families, from all walks of life; from homeless, or near homeless, to those simply making the transition from military life to civilian life. He has been featured by the Brain Injury Association of Nebraska, sat on countless veterans’ panels, has experience working alongside with the Department of Veterans Affairs inpatient treatment center.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:

“I have continued my sobriety since July 1, 2007 with the assistance of developing a strong support network. I want to be able to give back and be a strong asset to the community of Grand Island and the State of Nebraska to help individuals and families overcome addiction and mental illness.”

Chalee Fernau serves as a CNCAA Board Member. Chalee is a graduate of University of Nebraska at Kearney with a degree in Business Administration and an emphasis in accounting.  She has been an accountant for 13+ years, most recently at Home Federal Bank as the Accounting Manager.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:
“I love CNCAA’s mission to help others and to educate youth and adults by offering hope and changing lifestyles.”

Dan DeNeui has served as a CNCAA Board Member for a number of years.  He is on the Grand Island Fire Department.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:
“The Kids Power program transformed my children into confident, understanding, and coping kids in a time when I couldn’t afford a therapist. The program was invaluable to their healing and I will always support the program at CNCAA because I have seen firsthand the benefits of it to this community and all the little children affected by addictions in it.”

Hall County Attorney’s Office

Roe Buick

Suzanne Riley serves as a CNCAA Board Member and is a Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor with Grand Island Mental Health and Medical Clinic. She is a Registered Service Provider for the State of Nebraska accepting voucher payments for qualified services. She enjoys completing alcohol and drug evaluations/counseling as well as mental health services. Suzanne has an Associate of Applied Science Degree from Central Community College and a Bachelor of Science in Family Studies and Women’s Studies as well as her Master of Science in Education with an emphasis in Community Counseling from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Suzanne has over 10 years of experience working in the helping profession with experience at an inpatient mental health facility, volunteering as a domestic violence advocate, assisting those experiencing physical and developmental disabilities, and counseling in a correctional facility.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:
“I enjoy being a part of CNCAA as I get to assist families impacted by addiction in another way and see the positive outcome that happens when people come together in this fight.”

Ken's Appliance

Angela Smith serves as a CNCAA Board Member. She currently is a Specialized Substance Abuse Supervision Probation Officer in Grand Island. Angela has been a Probation Officer since 2007.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:
“CNCAA has always been important for me in providing professional trainings as well as providing education for my clients.”

Ashley Davis serves as a CNCAA Board Member and is a Registered Nurse that has experience in emergency medicine and nephrology. Ashley currently is a charge nurse at Fresenius Kidney Care for dialysis clinics across the state of Nebraska. She is a compassion and empathy coach for a company in the Grand Island Clinic to improve the culture of care. Ashley is currently working to obtain her bachelor’s degree in nursing in leadership.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:
“As a person in recovery myself and being raised by two addicts, I strive to make a difference in our Grand Island community and try to give back what was freely given to me in my trials. My twelve-year-old son was an active participant in Kids Power in 2016 during the time he needed understanding and communication. I find this to be a fulfilling opportunity and beneficial learning opportunity as I grow in my life reaching my goals. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this team.”

Communty Collaboration

CNCAA brings individuals and members of communities, agencies and organizations together in an atmosphere of support to systematically solve exisitng andemeriging problems that could not be solved by one group alone.

CNCAA partners with many community coaltions addressing substance use and abuse issues, and offers technical assistance to other who want to organize and evelop new coaltions.  We collaborate with:

Mission Moments

This organization has a staff of people genuinely committed to helping their community! Every time I've called or visited, the people there have been kind, knowledgeable, and had a sincere desire to help in any way they could. In my experience here I learned more than I ever expected, and left feeling much better than I did when I came.

Sam M., Drug education class participant

He’s more focused, well mannered, and he has better self-esteem.

Parent of a Discovery Kids participant

My child now has an increased knowledge and awareness, especially after reading and going over the homework and other paper brought home from the program.

Parent of a Discovery Kids participant

Since Discovery Kids, she has shown a lot more responsibility and is trying to be more of a leader.

Parent of a Discovery Kids participant

The program is a different approach to teach a child about important issues. These issues can be really hard to talk about.

Parent of a Discovery Kids participant

My son has a better judgement when selecting foods and choosing foods lower in fat. The whole family has learned a lot too!

Parent of a CATCH Kids Club participant

I liked the program. You shared an important message to our kids, such as how to prevent problems with alcohol and drugs. Thank you!

Parent of a Discovery Kids participant

I think the program is wonderful and my child loves to go to CATCH Kids Club!

Parent of a CATCH Kids Club participant

My son runs, walks, and jumps on the trampoline more often. We also go for walks to the park more often as a family.

Parent of a CATCH Kids Club participant

The first time I attended Tree of Hope, I was living at Hope Harbor two years ago. Representatives of CNCAA had visited while I was in treatment at St. Francis ADTC. What wonderful gifts and literature I have purchased from the store. I plan to utilize the tobacco free program in the future. Thank you for supporting my recovery!

Michelle B., (9/20/14 - present)

Kids Power 2 helps me to be drug free and helps me with my mom's problem.

Addison, Kids Power 2 participant
I feel passionate about spreading any type of help for families going through the devastation of addiction. More importantly, showing families that there is hope and solutions to live a beautiful, fun, and peace-filled life.
Mia W., Past CNCAA Board Member

Being a part of an organization that cares so much about the community is a place I want to be. Until we, as community members, come together as a force to educate those needing assistance, we struggle. CNCAA has mission to be that force.

Melissa A., Past CNCAA Board Member

CNCAA helped me in the very beginning of my recovery process with their wonderful lending library.

Jolene S., Past CNCAA Board Member

I always visited to get medallions, cards, or books. Staff was always friendly and helpful. The Council was very important to my daughter and that is what made me want to get involved. I had not realized all the kids programs offered, but that is the main reason I want to stay involved. Prevention is key. Thank you Connie and staff for all you do!

Jo G., Past CNCAA Board Member

Thank you! Kids Power gave us HOPE!

Crystal C., Parent of a Kids Power participant

Kids Power really helped my children cope with a life changing effect of alcoholism. It gave them the tools and confidence to get through.

Dan D., CNCAA Board Member

I like getting together to see friends at Kids Power 2 that I don't usually get to see. I am concerned for my friends. Kids Power 2 is fun and so is getting to go to Timberlake.

Autumn, Kids Power 2 participant

Photos in testimonials are random and do not necessarily portray the author of the statement.

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