Advocacy involves speaking up on behalf of yourself or others, an important component in the effort to support an individual’s right to recover and live their best life. Voices of Hope, the University of Maryland Training Center and Beacon Health Options sponsored a training for Peers on August 14, 2018. Peers from throughout the State participate to learn more about advocacy and to sharpen their skills. This training gave 6 CEUs for application for the Certified Peer Recovery Specialist credential in Maryland, through the Maryland Addiction and Behavioral-health Professionals Certification Board.
Attendees are volunteers and employees from throughout Maryland. 7 are active volunteers with Voices of Hope in Cecil County, Maryland. They learned how to advocate for themselves, for others and in systems to support recovery and recovery-oriented systems of care.
This is a passionate group that will make positive changes supporting recovery throughout our state!
Families who have found recovery, those who seek it for a loved one and families who lost the battle were among the group who attended the North East Recovery Town Hall at St. Mary Anne’s Episcopal Church parish house on Wednesday, August 8, 2018. Voices of Hope planned and invited the community to attend.
“We never know who will show up.” said Jennifer Tuerke, President of the Board of Directors of Voices of Hope, Inc. “We just set the date and invite everyone: treatment providers, recovery supporters, people who seek recovery and those who have found it. We want to bring the resources to the people, offer and listen to solutions, but most importantly, to build relationships. Active and caring relationships are what makes a community whole and healthy. We believe that, with our limited resources, it is our best defense against what is happening in our community”
Two people who are seeking Senator seats were in attendance. Two area treatment providers were present: Ashley Addiction Treatment and the Alcohol & Drug Recovery Center (ADRC) from the Cecil County Health Department. Pastor Phil Meekins represented Monarch Recovery Ministries halfway houses and some of the women residents of the Amy House were present. Father John Schaeffer of St. Mary Anne’s Episcopal Church talked about the 12-Step Recovery Church Service there on the second Sunday of each month and the food provided to those in need twice a week. Many people in recovery attended as well as family members whose children are in recovery. Some were seeking treatment and recovery supports for a loved one. A grieving mother was attending the Recovery Town Hall before the Healing Hearts Overdose Death Grief Support Group meeting across the street later that night. She shared a brief introduction which brought many to tears.
Voices of Hope presented how people can get involved in helping and healing our community by attending the Recovery Volunteer Army training on August 25, 2018 from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm at the Susquehanna Workforce Center in Elkton. Information about treatment and recovery supports in Cecil County will be shared, and how to access them. Training will also cover harm reduction principles and trauma informed care. After completing this training, one can decide to join an Outreach Team or just take the information home with them.
5 people were Narcan trained by ADRC at this event. Amazing donuts and coffee was provided by the Chesapeake Bay Coffee Company in North East. Thank you to all who participated – you make a difference!
13 year old Savannah Bennett has experienced a lot when it comes to watching others struggle with addiction health. She knows that despite the struggle, recovery is possible and it is real. To encourage and support individuals going through treatment at A.F. Whitsitt Center, this Girl Scout from Perryville chose to create a mural with an inspirational message just for them. The mural is located in the Recovery in Motion Community Center room.
Savannah worked with the Peer Advocates at the Cecil County Alcohol & Drug Recovery Center, Voices of Hope Executive Director Nicola Barteau and employees of the A.F. Whitsitt Center to make it happen. The mural artist is Tilly Castilli and the project was funded though the Kent County Arts Council. The project started over 9 months ago with the initial request and ended with the official reveal last Monday, July 23, 2018. Her parents and brother were proud of the motivation behind Savannah’s mural and hope that it will encourage others to stay the course in their recovery. The Whitsitt Center has been providing inpatient addiction treatment to the Cecil County community for over 30 years.
If you would like to see the mural and it’s inspirational message in person, stop in to Recovery in Motion Monday – Friday from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm on Friday nights. 300 Scheeler Rd. Chestertown, MD.
Alyssa Holsopple is a member of the Voices of Hope backpack outreach and homeless engagement teams and is a resident of Cecil County. She drove early to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 to represent the needs of our local recovery community. She joined a team from across Maryland to advocate for recovery issues and resources to our policy makers. The day was coordinated by Faces and Voices of Recovery and started with a briefing sponsored by the House Bipartisan Heroin and Opioid Task Force. Afterwards, Alyssa met with a member of the appropriations committee and representative for Congressman Andy Harris. Following that, she met with a Staff Aide for Senator Van Hollen.
Alyssa said that the advocacy team talked about bills currently being considered that need funding added for recovery supports. They stressed that the funding going into the existing treatment structure just is not enough. The Federal block grants given to the states for prevention and recovery gets significantly cut by the time the money gets to where it is intended. They also discussed how the overall correctional system needs monetary support for recovery programs. Alyssa said the briefing included representatives from New Hampshire and Maine who talked about how the addiction problem effects so many. The representative from Maine shared about how his brother died from an overdose. The representative from New Hampshire has a brother in recovery.
Alyssa represents Voices of Hope – people in recovery, family members and allies who support recovery in Cecil County, Maryland. She makes a difference by being an active part of the solution to the behavioral health crisis we all face. You can too. Join Voices of Hope and come to our next Volunteer Recovery Army training on August 25 from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm at the Susquehanna Workforce Center in Elkton.
8 Cecil County recovery allies met on Saturday, July 7 at West End Gardens Motel to clean the stretch of Route 40 in front of the Cecil County Detention Center and Hollingsworth Manor in Elkton, MD. Clean ups are required quarterly as part of the agreement to Adopt-A-Highway through the State Highway Administration but Voices of Hope has been doing it more frequently this year.
“It feels good to give back and to make a positive contribution to our community”, stated one participant, a young woman who is in recovery and lives in a Cecil County recovery house.
“I think it is important to show the families that live in this area that they do matter and people do care about them, especially the children.” said Voices of Hope President, Jennifer Tuerke.
Mike Massuli, Deputy Director of the Alcohol & Drug Recovery Center at the Cecil County Health Department, was also present to contribute to the shared mission. The group hopes to expand their operation to locations in or around Lakeside Trailer Park and Winding Brook. If you would like to participate in the clean up effort or other programs with Voices of Hope, please email email@example.com.
Members of Voices of Hope attended the Maryland Harm Reduction Summit today. One member participated on a panel discussing her experience as a previous sex worker. Voices of Hope plans on using our knowledge, skill and experiences to perform outreach in our most disadvantaged communities in Cecil County. Through harm reduction practices and trauma informed care principles, we hope to build relationships that will lead to healthier choices, prevent disease and early death while promoting behavioral health treatment and recovery.
The Maryland Harm Reduction Summit on June 28, 2018 will bring together community members, policymakers, health and social service providers to focus on non-judgmental, harm reduction approaches to individuals seeking care at any stage in their recovery. Topics include racial justice, trauma, and harm reduction, strengthening systems of care, and integration of harm reduction into substance use disorder treatment settings, among others.
Nicola Barteau, Voices of Hope’s Executive Director, recently completed the Maryland Harm Reduction Services course. This 10-week program was sponsored by the State of Maryland. By completing this training, she can now train our volunteers to better understand trauma and help us to assist others in Cecil County.
She is currently attending the Maryland Harm Reduction Summit with other leaders from Voices of Hope. The Maryland Harm Reduction Summit on June 28 will bring together community members, policymakers, health and social service providers to focus on non-judgmental, harm reduction approaches to individuals seeking care at any stage in their recovery. Topics include racial justice, trauma, and harm reduction, strengthening systems of care, and integration of harm reduction into substance use disorder treatment settings, among others.
We believe this training and certification will allow VoH to perform our Outreach services with principles that will help, not harm, those we serve.
15 people supported the Recovery Town Hall on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at the Cecilton Community Center. 5 residents of the area, including Crystal Beach and Earleville, were in attendance. Although there were no town officials, first responders or safety officers present, citizens from around the County attended to show their support of our neighbors south of the Canal.
Local treatment representatives were Mike Massuli, Deputy Director of the Alcohol & Drug Recovery Center at the Cecil County Health Department and Patrick Webb, a Peer Recovery Advocate at ADRC. Two employees from Recovery Centers of America (RCA) attended: a driver in recovery and a Recovery Support Specialist, along with an alumni from RCA. Lorri Irgang from Maryland Coalition of Families was also in attendance. Two members from the Cecil County Progressive Caucus who support recovery were participants as well. A mother who lost her daughter to overdose in Earleville attended along with the residents of the area. People in recovery/sobriety and our supporters made up this Recovery Town Hall.
The group discussed the most current overdose fatality statistics available: out of the 35 overdose deaths in Cecil County this year, 6 are from this remote area (1 from Cecilton, 5 from Earleville). Recognized barriers to recovery are a lack of transportation to treatment and supports, zero 12-step meetings south of the Canal and no recovery housing. Finding childcare while the parent/caregiver attends treatment is also a barrier that was discussed. Online support meetings are not easily accessible in this area where wifi can be very spotty.
Solutions involved coordinating efforts to take interested people to meetings in Middletown, Delaware through Cecil Transit. A resident talked about how this is currently a practice for seniors in this area getting their prescriptions filled. Another solution is to approach RCA and ask for support with providing a place for recovery support meetings to occur regularly. We talked about how and who to proceed with these solutions.
Mike Massuli trained 5 residents to administer Narcan.
Our next Recovery Town Hall Meeting will be held in Rising Sun, MD. Always on the second Wednesday of each month. Please join us and be a part of the solution in Cecil County!
26 people who support recovery attended the free Recovery Volunteer Training on June 9, 2018 at the Susquehanna Workforce Center in Elkton, Maryland. Attendees were introduced to a brief overview of harm reduction, trauma-informed care and addiction and mental health resources in Cecil County. Also discussed are the barriers that many in our community face in regard to access to and coordination of care, family preservation and lack of accessible shelters in Cecil County.
Participants were offered Narcan training and medication by the Alcohol & Drug Recovery Center at the Cecil County Health Department.
These volunteers were invited to take part in Voices of Hope Outreach Teams that will be engaging with the community in various settings:
Overdose Response Team
Overdose Death Compassion Team
If you are interested in participating in any of these efforts, or volunteering your talent in another way (administration, marketing, training, fundraising, etc) please email firstname.lastname@example.org
People in recovery, family members and allies came together on May 28, 2018 to honor our fallen service men and women and to celebrate our freedom. RYD Entertainment played music until Gunsmoke headlined at 1:30 pm. People played flag football, tug-of-war and corn hole while children played in the moon bounce and got their faces painted among bubbles blowing in the air. There were raffles and prizes for the smallest and biggest fish of the fishing tournament. Free chair massages were offered and an introduction to yoga session offered a peace break during the afternoon.
Winner of Tug of War: The Anonymous Team
Winner of Biggest Fish: Carter DeStafano
Winner of Smallest Fish: Sean Martineau
Best of all, we made new friends, spent time with old ones and strengthened our alliances to build our recovery capital in Cecil County! Thank you to everyone who made this celebration possible, we could not do it without you. Here are just a few special moments: