Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Hey, friends! Spiffy here with the scoop on the changemaking leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Candace Dellacona, a board member for the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD). Let’s see how she is making a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Candace! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through your organization?
Candace: Glad to be with you, Spiffy! The ravages of drug and alcohol addiction impact not only the individual, but also her family and those she loves. Even worse is that studies have shown that the trauma suffered via addiction has genetic implications for generations to come. Because there are so few resources for families who endure the hardship of addiction, I joined LICADD as a volunteer nearly two decades ago and continued my work on the board of directors to fundraise and provide services for families. For the last 70 years, LICADD has provided free counseling and referral services to individuals, families, and children. LICADD's mission is that through intervention, education, and professional guidance, one can overcome the ravages of addiction.
Spiffy: That sounds incredibly important. What motivates you to tackle this challenge?
Candace: I was personally motivated to assist an organization like LICADD in raising funds to fight the ravages of addiction and support the families who face all of the challenges that surround addiction. My family, like nearly one out of four families, has suffered from addiction. Knowing that the funds that I help raise are directly contributed to an organization that provides a much-needed service in our community and can actually save lives is incredibly meaningful to me.
Spiffy: How would you describe the impact of your work?
Candace: I know that the money we raise goes directly to the families and communities that need the services LICADD provides. The parents of those addicted, the children of those addicted, as well as the schools and community at large all benefit from LICADD servicing these needs.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent milestone or initiative by you or your organization. What impact does that make?
Candace: During the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the need for LICADD's services increased exponentially. The combination of social isolation, economic distress, and stressful family situations for many meant there was an even more dire need for LICADD. I was so proud of the way the organization pivoted to provide these lifesaving services to a record number of families in the midst of an economic downturn and a simultaneous reduction in donations and revenue. Our counselors and experts are kind, compassionate, and resourceful; and I was so honored to be part of their incredible and unparalleled reach.
Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Candace: I think it's so important to find a cause that means something to you and then donate your time, expertise, energy, and—if you are lucky—your resources to that cause. As one of our beloved late-board members once shared with me, "It is so important to be of service. It does not have to be an equal gift to a cause that you find meaningful, but it should be an equal sacrifice to help that cause." I have gotten more out of being a part of LICADD helping families than I've even been able to give!
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Candace—it’s been an honor!
Candace Dellacona is an attorney in New York City. She's also the mother to three busy teenagers and spouse to her husband of 20 years. She enjoys traveling the world with her family to experience new cultures together. (First published on the Ladderworks website on March 1, 2023.)
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.
© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by George Romar. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.