“Be A Part of the Conversation” Celebrates Five Year Anniversary with Its First Fundraiser at the Home of Mary Nixon, Founder of the New Leaf Club


BERWYN, PA (May 19, 2016) – On an unseasonably cool Sunday morning in May, Mary Nixon graciously opened her Berwyn, PA, home to host a fundraiser to commemorate the five year anniversary of Be a Part of the Conversation, an innovative organization that provides much-needed support to local communities through engaging, educational programming. Approximately 80 people were in attendance, including young people in recovery, family members whose loved ones have struggled with addiction, professionals, friends and supporters. Nixon is the Founder and Executive Director of the New Leaf Club, a non-profit community center dedicated to education, enlightenment and entertainment.

Guests connected over a delicious brunch on Nixon’s porch, followed by a warm welcome by Be a Part of the Conversation’s (BPOC) Board President, John Mergenthaler, who shared his personal involvement in the organization. Next, guests gathered in the rustic barn just a short walk from the main house for the main program. Hatboro-Horsham High School (HHHS) English teacher, Kristin Hannings, director of the one-act play, Addict, introduced the performance. Four students performed a scene from the acclaimed play (from a recent performance at HHHS, where the actors attend). The cast fielded questions from an engaged crowd before special awards were presented.

BPOC Executive Director, Kim Rubenstein, received a standing ovation for her dedication to the organization before presenting the Conversation Youth Inspiration Award to Caroline Fenkel, MSS, LSW, Clinical Outreach Representative, Newport Academy Teen Treatment Center. Fenkel, who is in long term recovery, is pursuing her doctorate in social work at University of Pennsylvania this fall.

Next, Rubenstein presented the Conversation Inspiration Award to Roland Lamb, MA, Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services in Philadelphia. Lamb has been working in the field of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Dependence Treatment for more than 42 years as a counselor, therapist, supervisor, coordinator of addictive services, program director, trainer, lecturer, consultant and administrator. Both Fenkel and Lamb were were deeply honored to be recognized by BPOC.

Following Rubenstein’s brief overview of the mission and programming of BPOC, Steven Perlman, a financial advisor, closed the program by sharing his emotional experience as the parent of an addict.

BPOC would like to recognize the generosity of its sponsors, who support this valuable programming: The Gibson Holden Foundation, Jamie and Becky Bentley, Caron Treatment Centers, Joseph and Mary Fenkel, Hatboro Federal Savings, Horsham Clinic, Kessler, Topaz, Meltzer & Check LLP Charitable Fund, Mirmont Treatment Center, Rehab After Work, Laurie & Steve Rosard, Steps4Hope, Summit Behavioral Health, and Anonymous donors.

A photo gallery for the Spring Brunch can be found on Flickr.

About Be Part of the Conversation

Be a Part of the Conversation creates effective, culture-changing programs that are designed to significantly increase awareness of the effects of alcohol and other drug use. We are a collaboration of community leaders, students, school district representatives, and families who believe that having meaningful, inclusive conversations will support individuals and their families in their efforts to develop healthy coping skills and access support whenever there is a need.

Be a Part of the Conversation is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization founded in 2011.

(Board photo below)

 Spring Brunch

Be Part of the Conversation Board of Directors:

Pictured, from top left: Shea Hoffman, Doug Leavitt, Esq., Vice President, Bill Roberts, John Mergenthaler, President, Jim Kosa, Kim Rubenstein, CRS, Executive Director, Nancy DeLucia, Treasurer, Kathy Sarlson, Dawn Tucker, MS, Secretary, Heather Gregan, LPC, CADC

BPOC-Board