Co-Founds COPAY, a drug treatment program
Marty helps found -- and is the first president of -- COPAY, a community organization to provide drug and alcohol treatment. It is still going strong and has helped thousands of people deal with addiction through the years. The PDF is Marty's speech at Temple Emanuel describing the birth history of COPAY. A few fascinating passages:
"It was back in 1969, a period of ferment in our country, and of changes in our communities. Young people were deeply troubled by a war that even adults had trouble justifying. There were new generational conflicts, uncertainty about the future, changes in family life, for some, lack of direction. An unfortunate component of the ferment that resulted was the spread of teenage drug abuse -- at first in the cities, and then to affluent suburbia.
In Great Neck, some people had recognized the problem, and small attempts here and there were made to do something about it. But there was no broad community-wide effort. In fact, some people wanted to pretend that the problem didn't exist.
[Chana Friend, the chairman of Nassau Country Drug Abuse Commission and Rabbi Widom of Temple Emanuel convinced me to help organize the effort]
The months that followed became a constant frenzy of activity, meetings, publicity, organizing, persuasion, arguments, politicking, negotiations and structuring...all designed to create an organization that was broad-based, could obtain county funding and would have acceptance and a positive chance for survival.
Above all, we wanted to create a professionally-run organization... an organization that could go beyond the individuals who created it.
It was not all fun and games. Anyone who is a student of the formation of organizations should take note: when a community organization is formed to meet a problem -- even with the most noble of motives -- there will always be a few people who will find it threatening -- some, in this case, because it reminded them of a problem they did not want to hear about, some who wanted to politically exploit the problem, some leaders who took offense because they felt that the creation of a new group somehow implied that existing organizations or institutions had failed to meet the problem. Fortunately, most people understood the need, and the ball was rolling.
As I look back at that year, I see a kaleidoscope of images -- I remember Rabbi Widom working on the phone till all hours to obtain the support of other clergy in the community who agreed to serve on our advisory board and encouraging several temple members to also serve on the initial board, as I recruited other leaders from outside the temple to also serve.
I remember Sol Friend, who we had drafted as our free attorney, sitting with me as we seriously discussed the name for the organization. It was vital that the word AND in "Community Organization for Parents AND YOUTH" be stressed. If we didn't COPAY might have been called COPY... not the best name for a new organization....
I well remember the team of Widom and Waldman begging, pleading and cajoling people for rent money and contributions for other expenses to get us rolling with the first contribution coming from the Temple's own Social Action Committee.
I remember Channa and I appearing before the Mayors of the nine villages to seek their support. I remember my wife Sandra calling everyone she knew through her years of involvement to form a brigade of volunteers who would answer the phones, who could be called upon for a variety of tasks, who could become the core of the future leadership of COPAY. I remember temple members bringing in paneling and providing free electrical work to make COPAY's first offices pleasant attractive.
I remember too, when my wife and I took part in a symposium on drug abuse on Channel 13, being asked by a representative of another community group, "Do you really think that a community group can do anything about a drug abuse problem?" I could only answer, "I dont know. But all we can do is try."