Alison Eriksen has been named the Oceanside Kiwanis Club’s recipient of the 2022 Special Service Award. Eriksen is a licensed social worker by trade, and holds a Master’s Degree from Adelphi University where she graduated with high honors.
She has been working and volunteering in the field of human services for more than 15 years; with her clinical background serving individuals living with severe and persistent mental illness, substance abuse disorders, chronic homelessness and families of sick children.
Eriksen is also an experienced vocalist, singing with her current band “Permission To Launch” across Long Island for over the past decade.
Born and raised in Oceanside, where she currently resides with her husband Mark and their daughter Mackenzie. In addition to the Kiwanis recognition, Ericksen has been recognized as a recipient of Adelphi University’s “10 Under 10,” signifying the success she has obtained in her field in under a decade after post-graduation.
Most recently she was chosen as a recipient of the Town of Hempstead’s “Making a Difference” award, alongside some of the most influential residents in Nassau County. Throughout the years, Eriksen has been dedicated to the wellness and safety of those in her community.
In response to an increase of local deaths by suicide and overdose in 2015, Eriksen and a team of former Oceanside Graduates founded The Makeshift Movement, a grassroots organization whose mission is to create a safe space where the Oceanside community can talk openly about mental health, suicide, and substance abuse.
Together, the Makeshift Movement has spearheaded community events and awareness efforts such as education panels, resource fairs, media campaigns and even a community art project.
Eriksen’s work with The Makeshift Movement connected her to the Oceanside SAFE Coalition, which was being formed around the same time to better combat the substance use epidemic that had been claiming young lives.
In the winter of 2019, Oceanside SAFE Coalition was awarded a federal grant to provide at least five years of funding for the organization. Eriksen was asked to take the lead of this project as the full time Project Coordinator, and the Coalition is proud to be in their third year of operation.
Since their formation, the Coalition has honored their mission to help prevent and reduce alcohol and drug use among youth in Oceanside by helping to expand district prevention curricula, hosting educational workshops, providing community prevention events, evidence-based prevention programming, awareness campaigns and various other environmental strategies.
The Coalition also provides guidance and training for Oceanside High School’s Youth Council; whom have been at the forefront of many community’s prevention projects.
As the landscape of substance use rapidly changes, the Coalition has also been instrumental in advocacy efforts to educate district and community leaders on needed policy changes that would continue to provide the safest environments possible for community youth.