About Us

Nicasa is a behavioral health, substance abuse prevention and treatment agency. As an independent not-for-profit agency, our mission – Nicasa empowers and promotes healthy lifestyles to prevent and treat substance abuse, addiction, and other risky behaviors – drives our vision – Nicasa will be the premier behavioral and social health organization for individuals, families, and communities in northern Illinois and beyond.


Nicasa’s eight Lake County locations include: Bridge House – a halfway recovery home for adult men and women; the Judy H. Fried Center – an intensive outpatient treatment facility in North Chicago; an administrative, prevention, and counseling center in Round Lake; a counseling and prevention facility located in Waukegan; and counseling facilities in Buffalo Grove, Highland Park, Mundelein, and Zion. Nicasa provides 80 services within 14 different programs to approximately 6,000 registered clients annually and reaches thousands more through our extensive prevention services.  Nicasa is committed to providing quality, compassionate service to those in need regardless of race, age, gender, or economic status; and is able to provide services in English, Spanish, Polish, and Russian.

Nicasa’s History

In 1966, Nicasa was founded by members of a local Alcoholics Anonymous group as a one-employee organization. Its original mission was to provide advocacy and a more humane approach to the issues of recovering alcoholics and their families.

Since then, Nicasa has been a leader in the field of substance abuse treatment and prevention.  Nicasa developed some of the State’s first Latino services, DUI programs, community awareness and public education campaigns, and prevention programming.

In 1988, because of Nicasa’s integrity and expertise, the judges of the 19th Judicial Circuit of Lake County and McHenry Counties ruled Nicasa as the sole provider of alcohol/drug abuse evaluations for those arrested for alcohol-related offenses in Lake County.

In 2010, Nicasa was able to expand its battery of services to include families that do not have a substance abuse problem with Family Advocacy Services.  These services have been very successful and continue to help families achieve stability and self-sufficiency.

In 2013, Nicasa began offering mental health services in response to a severe shortage of available mental health services in Lake County.  Nicasa continues to develop and provide innovative services to meet the changing needs of the men, women, youth and families in our communities.

Nicasa’s Leadership

Nicasa is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors that is comprised of high-level representation from corporations, criminal justice groups, and community groups, all committed to operational and programming excellence.  Day-to-day operations are overseen by Chief Executive Officer, Bruce N. Johnson who has led Nicasa since 2005. Bruce serves on local, county, and state initiatives to develop and sustain effective partnerships. He was instrumental in the opening of the Mano a Mano Family Resource Center that has become an invaluable resource for the Latino community. He is a founding member of several area coalitions and advisory boards including the Lake County After School Coalition. Bruce spent more than 20 years in law enforcement, including 10 years as the Chief of Police for Round Lake Park/Hainesville immediately prior to joining Nicasa. Additional oversight is provided by Chief Operating Officer Linda Snelten and Managing Director Dr. Mary Roberson EdD, LCPC, CSADC, MISA II.

Employment at Nicasa

Nicasa offers empowering positions at competitive salaries.  Staff include client services staff, prevention specialists, counselors, program directors, administrative staff, and management.  Read more for open positions.

Read more about Nicasa as an agency.

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