Our History

The Early Years

Upbeat was founded in 1988 as a response to the drug and alcohol use that was prevalent among youth. It was started with a $17,000 grant from the United States Department of Education Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act.

8 days of prevention training, provided by the now-defunct Northeast Regional Center for Drug-Free Schools and Communities in Sayville, New York, prepared Principal Tom Galvin and the other attendees to coordinate the development of the program.

The first Adult Training Workshop

When Upbeat was founded, it was clear that Ms. Alice Mitchell was the natural choice to lead it. Mitchell would continue as director for another 28 years, developing a truly successful community organization.

Originally, UpBeat was developed as an early intervention and prevention program to inform students of the dangers of alcohol and illicit drug use. Rather than just talk “at them” about these issues, programs were devised to focus student energies on sound decision making skills and to provide opportunities for positive community involvement.

Upbeat Evolves

Community participation evolved slowly, but in a steady and positive manner. While still informing students of the dangers of alcohol and drug use, Upbeat's focus is now directed at character development and leadership training. These skills allow the students to become active participants in their school and in our community.

Upbeat in transition

When Alice Mitchell decided to retire after 28 years as Upbeat Director and 49 years at Berlin High School in 2016, a search was conducted to determine who would succeed her as director.

The selection committee chose Mr. Jack Rudy, the current director, who has been focused on growing and improving the program while staying true to its core principles.