All posts by Jennifer Tuerke

Voices of Hope Recovery Resources in the Pandemic

VoH wants to provide the latest information to those seeking assistance, treatment and recovery resources in Cecil County.

For access to treatment, recovery supports and harm reduction (syringe services), please call Voices of Hope at (443)993-7055 and a Peer Recovery Specialist will be available to serve you.

Treatment: there are inpatient and outpatient treatment providers in the area still accepting patients that have private insurance and Medicaid. Please do not hesitate to start the process of receiving treatment for addiction during this pandemic. Call us at (443) 993-7055 for treatment options and personalized support. The disease of addiction does not observe social distance nor quarantine. If you or a loved one is currently using drugs and not yet ready for treatment, please keep Narcan on hand to reverse an opioid overdose.

Narcan: To receive Narcan delivered free to your home, fill out a form at http://naloxoneforall.org/maryland. If you are uncomfortable with having it delivered to you through the mail, please reach out to Voices of Hope at (443) 993-7055 for creative delivery using social distancing.

Housing: The Mary Randall Rotating Shelter is over for the season. The Department of Social Services is still the first stop for emergency housing options. Their phone number is (410) 996-0100. The Paris Foundation (484) 459-1299 and the Mary Randall Center (410) 620-4701 are local food and service providers for those who are food insecure or without a home and need showers and supports. For access to recovery housing contact Voices of Hope at (443) 993-7055 to talk over options and to receive assistance.

Recovery Support Groups: the Voices of Hope Recovery Community Center is currently closed due to Governor Hogan’s order that 10 or more people should not gather to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Most of the meetings held at our Center have moved to an online format, click the green for the link:

For Narcotics Anonymous online meetings, go to the Susquehanna Area of Narcotics Anonymous. Voices of Hope is not affiliated with this fellowship.

For LGBTQ Pride in Recovery Support Group meeting click this link on Tuesday nights at 6:00 pm

Voices of Hope OPEN COMMUNITY MEETING every Wednesday night at 6:00 pm – this is a regular opportunity for the community to give input, suggestions, air concerns or get involved!

For Healing Hearts Overdose Death Grief Support Group meeting held every other Wednesday (April 1 is next) at 6:30 pm.

For All Paths Recovery Meeting on Thursdays at 8:00 pm.

For online SMART support group on every Friday at 7:00 pm.

More information will be posted here as it is updated. Thank you and stay well.

COVID-19, Voices of Hope and Overdose Prevention

Our Staff has worked tirelessly in preparation for COVID-19.  After much discussion between our staff and Peers it has been decided that, at this time, our mission will continue.  Unfortunately the disease of addiction does not practice social distancing.  Regardless of this pandemic the people we serve need us.  Our community is still ravaged and people are still dying.  

Presently, all recommendations from the CDC and our local Health Department have been implemented.  We have been speaking with the Maryland Department of Health and our local Health Department representatives almost daily.  At our Main Office and the Recovery Community Center you will find the door locked and a notice on the door outlining how to contact our Peers. Any person needing face to face contact will be triaged outside for symptoms and possible exposure before they enter our buildings.  All community meetings at the Recovery Community Center have been cancelled until further notice.  Online meetings are being set up to keep people connected. Please see our calendar or Facebook page for current links.

Our Hope Street Teams will continue their work in the community while practicing social distancing and proper hygiene.  At this time, we have suspended our homeless outreach at the Mary Randall Center, the Paris Foundation and Nicanor.  Information has been given to them about our Peer hotline.  Peers are answering the phones 24/7 to provide recovery support and treatment connections during this time.  Narcan will still be available through creative delivery.  Please share with your networks that Voices of Hope is operational and to call (443) 993-7055 for services.

All staff and volunteers have been advised to stay home if they feel ill or have come in contact with someone who is sick and could possibly have the virus.  Also, if they have an at risk family members to be proactive and stay home as well. 

This is a fluid situation and our staff is staying up to date with all recommendations of the CDC.  We will update as things change.

Stay safe and love one another. 

Karli Secor, Board President

For the Love of Community Recovery Gratitude Banquet Feb. 2020

Over 175 people attended the Voices of Hope Recovery Gratitude Banquet on February 15, 2020 at Rosewood Farms in Elkton, Maryland. The venue was a beautiful setting for a celebration of recovery and community leaders who make a difference in the battle against addiction in Cecil County.

Opening remarks were given by Robin Rickard, Deputy Director of the Maryland Opioid Operational Command Center. She stated Governor Hogan supports community organizations like Voices of Hope that form as a response and help to address opioid related deaths.

Elkton Police Officer Jokob Brown credited his parents for raising him with the direction and support to treat all individuals with respect and dignity. His humble speech moved the crowd to give a standing ovation.

Richard Raftery, Peer Advocate at the Cecil County Health Department, attributed his drive and tireless service to his relationship with Jesus Christ.

Linda Williams, Executive Director of Addiction Connections Resource, shared her journey of helping individuals and families access treatment in her community to leading this nonprofit that has made a large impact in Harford and Cecil Counties and throughout Maryland.

Chris Pederson, Vice President of Evolve Life Centers, shared his experience, strength and hope that treatment and recovery will someday be readily accessible to anyone seeking help for addiction, anywhere.

Dr. Niaz was awarded the Cecil County Medical Provider of the Year award for his outstanding service to individuals seeking emergency medical care in Cecil County.

Bob Gauss was surprised to be given the Voices of Hope Volunteer of the Year Award for his selfless service and transportation assistance given to many individuals seeking access to treatment.

This fundraiser by Voices of Hope, Inc. raised almost $8,000 for individuals seeking treatment and recovery supports in Cecil County. THANK YOU to all our sponsors, supporters and those who donated and purchased from the silent auction. Your generosity, compassion and action makes a difference in our community.

Platinum Sponsors:

Recovery Centers of America – Bracebridge Hall
Cecil County Office of the State’s Attorney

To access all the awesome photographs taken that evening by David Heitur Photography, please click this link.

Voices of Hope

Community Leaders Highlight Voices of Hope Recovery Banquet

This event is SOLD OUT as of 2/5/2020. Sponsorships are still available and silent auction items are deeply appreciated!

Voices of Hope’s 5th Annual Recovery Gratitude Banquet will feature community leaders who have made a monumental difference in the lives of Cecil County residents affected by the addiction epidemic. The event will take place Saturday, February 15, 2020 at Rosewood Farms in Elkton, Maryland. Tickets are $60 and will include dinner, silent auction and special speakers. This is Voices of Hope’s annual fundraiser to help local people overcome barriers to recovery from addiction in Cecil County. Here are the community leaders who will share how and why they take the road less traveled to help so many.

We are pleased to announce that our evening will begin with opening remarks from Robin Rickard, Deputy Director/Chief of Staff for Governor Hogan’s Opioid Operational Command Center.

Officer Jakob Brown

Officer Jakob Brown is a patrol officer who has been with the Elkton Police Department for 3 years. His trauma-informed approach to law enforcement has inspired individuals engaged in the criminal justice system to find hope for a new life in recovery. Ofc J.Brown was awarded Officer of the Year in 2018 for his police work and efforts in the community.  He continues to be a figure in the community for his upstanding work as an Elkton Police officer.

Linda Williams

Linda Williams is the current Executive Director at Addiction Connections Resource in Harford County. Linda lost her daughter Jessie in 2007. Her compassion and advocacy for people seeking recovery has helped many individuals in Cecil County to access treatment and supports. She has been working with substance users and their families since 1996. Linda was appointed the Governor Hogan’s Emergency Opioid and Heroin Task Force in 2015. She continues to make a real impact on saving lives throughout Maryland.

Richard Raftery

Richard Raftery is a Peer Advocate at the Cecil County Health Department. Since moving to Cecil County from Philadelphia, he has been an indispensable asset to families seeking treatment for their loved ones in our area. Richard goes above and beyond his position with the State of Maryland, meeting people on nights and weekends to be sure they have the transportation, treatment connections and recovery supports they need to improve their lives.

Chris Pederson

Chris Pedersen is a person in long term recovery originally from Cecil County. He is a father, an employee, a son and a brother. He gives back to the community by helping others find hope to recover from addiction. He uses his own personal experience to uplift individuals seeking recovery.

Dr. Niaz

Dr. Niaz has been a practicing physician for over twenty years, and during his career, he has had a particular interest in the treatment of addiction. He has treated Cecil County residents for opioid addiction and has made his services available to those in substance use crisis after hours and on weekends. He understands the urgency and life threatening situation of the opioid epidemic in Cecil County and gives his expertise as part of the solution.

Voices of Hope will also honor their Volunteer of the Year!

We are grateful for our Platinum sponsors for their generosity and support!

Check out our Facebook page for current Silent Auction items!

Call Voices of Hope at (443) 993-7055 for tickets and sponsorship opportunities. Ticket sales end on February 4 and no tickets will be available at the door. Voices of Hope, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)3 grass roots recovery community organization originating in Cecil County, Maryland.

VoH – Committed to Serve

Voices of Hope feels an obligation to address our community about the challenges we have faced and our continued commitment to serve.  The services offered by our newly established Crisis Center have been recently reduced due to the unpredictability of funding and need for coordinated efforts to address our overdose crisis.  I am the current Chief Operations Officer, lifetime resident of Cecil County and a person living in long term recovery.  I am a mom, sister, wife and neighbor who is proud to live here.

Voices of Hope is a non-profit 501(c)3 community based organization and one of the only Recovery Community Organizations in Maryland.  People in recovery, family members and recovery allies from Cecil County created this organization in 2013. Our passion came from the frustration of watching our families become decimated by the addiction crisis.  Our overdose rate was just below Baltimore’s, our suicide rate and child maltreatment rate led the state, and our resources were few.

Over time, we built a program to help people access recovery supports such as recovery housing and recovery education, and this work was supported entirely through donations and small local grants.   We added backpack harm reduction outreach in our most disadvantaged communities weekly, connecting people to health care and treatment through compassionate relationships. We distributed over 3,000 doses of Narcan since 2018, and we operate a Certification program to train people in recovery to get jobs in the healthcare profession.  More recently, we applied for big grants with the State and Federal government and we received foundation awards to support our work. We were primarily volunteer run up until 2017. These funds allowed us to hire over 25 local people, many of which are living in recovery. We are recognized as a leader in innovative substance use and disease prevention programs that have been built by grass roots efforts.  

We were excited about the Crisis Center request for proposal and the services it would provide to our community.  We were the only organization in Cecil County to apply. It funded a vision Voices of Hope already had and was actively pursuing.  During the 2 1/2 months that our Crisis Center was open, we helped 75 people access opioid use treatment and 140 people were referred to us.  Cecil County people received compassionate referrals to treatment providers, received transportation to services, and connected to peer and family supports.  Although the State adjusted our grant and we are continuing to work with the Health Department to reach a new contract, we will continue to provide Substance Use Peer Support 24/7 with adjusted available resources through contacting (443) 993-7055 .

Voices of Hope embraces evidence-based practices as outlined by the CDC for how a community can respond to the opioid crisis.  However, acceptance of these practices has been a challenge. Many supporters have asked, “How can we help?” Donations to support our mission are welcome and needed.  Additionally, we need to strengthen relationships with community partners. Support from law enforcement, local government and health care providers are needed to adequately address the overdose crisis of Cecil County.  More than just addressing the use of drugs, we need a community alignment to address our trauma from the effects of chaotic drug use and overdose deaths, build a recovery oriented system of care through coordination of resources and a structure that brings together prevention, early intervention, harm reduction, treatment, and the recovery community along with emergency responders, criminal justice and family preservation equally, encouraging all pillars to take their seat at the table. We need our politicians to be actively engaged with initiatives and invested in the success of our shared efforts.  Without this, we are swimming against the tide of addiction that faces us in Cecil County.

Please support your local non-profit.   If you know someone who has been helped by Voices of Hope, it is because someone donated to the cause and others volunteered in the effort.  We sincerely thank all of those who have donated and have given time and support to our organization. Our strength is the people of Cecil County who are dedicated to preserving our families and our future.  

Jennifer Tuerke

Cecil County Overdose Candlelight Vigil 2019

Voices of Hope and Healing Hearts will host a candlelight vigil service on International Overdose Awareness day, August 31, 2019. This is the 6th annual gathering of families and loved ones at the Gilbert Lighthouse Pavilion at the North East Community Park. From 6:30 pm until sunset, families are encouraged to attend and decorate a luminary for free. There will be crafts for children to create and take home. Rob Robinson will play an acoustic set that will accompany the river backdrop. There will be speakers and an opportunity for to share about the life of their loved one, if so moved.

Jourdan Creations is offering T-shirts for $20 that include your loved one’s name and photo for this event. This is not a fundraiser. Please call (410) 920-3290 to order.

Healing Hearts is an Overdose Death Grief Support Group held at the Voices of Hope office at 224 E. Main St. in Elkton every other Wednesday. The next meeting is Wednesday, August 21, 2019 at 6:30 pm. All are welcome.

Cecil County lost 57 people in 2018 to overdose. We have had led the state with the most amount of overdoses per capita for the past several years, behind Baltimore City. Voices of Hope strives to end overdose deaths. We advocate for the dignity and respect for families who are struggling with addiction and those who lost the fight in Cecil County.

Raising money, Saving lives

Our 4th Annual Gratitude Banquet “Fighting for Families” was a huge success! Thank you to our honorees and Judge Murray for an insightful speech. Tommy Taylor received the surprise Spirit of Recovery Award. Recovery Centers of America presented Voices of Hope with our own plaque award for our work with harm reduction in the community! We raised over $5,500 for recovery housing and special needs for Cecil County people seeking or maintaining their recovery. Our 2018 banquet raised about $2,000 so we are thrilled with this growth. Thank you for the over 250 people who purchased or donated tickets, all of our sponsors and those who gave some very amazing items for our silent auction.

For pictures of the event, click this link.

We are continuing our outreach efforts with over 1,791 encounters so far in 2019. We have given out 352 safe use kits, 316 safe sex bags and 291 Narcan kits. Many of our encounters include conversations about health, prevention, treatment and support. Several have resulted in access to treatment, reaching a few who have been struggling on the streets of Elkton for a long time .

Voices of Hope was one of 9 local organizations that participated in the UNSHELTERED International Resource Clinic at Hollingsworth Manor on April 6. This faith-based event offered reading glasses, birth certificates, haircuts, Bibles, lunch and more to the over 334 attendees (not including volunteers!). VoH provided Narcan training and connections to treatment and community recovery supports. Click here to see pictures and data collected of the event.

We continue to offer Narcan training, volunteer opportunities and recovery supports to the community. Sometimes that is sending Peer Recovery Specialists to funerals to provide support to families and friends of those who we have lost to addiction or related to substance use. Last week, our Peers attended 4 funerals in 6 days. At one funeral, a relative of the deceased had to be revived with Narcan. We are grateful to have been there to help. The trauma of experiencing such grief and despair takes its toll on all our Peers. We are seeking ways to increase emotional supports to our volunteers and employees. Your prayers are welcome. Donations to our cause is deeply appreciated!

For the latest events, keep an eye out on our Facebook page! There are many trainings and opportunities that are offered only to those who have completed our Volunteer Orientation. Stay involved, make a difference!

Fighting for Families Recovery Banquet 2019

Voices of Hope invites you to attend our 4th Annual Gratitude Banquet on March 23, 2019 at NorthBay in North East, Maryland. This fundraiser is our opportunity to show appreciation for those who have made an impact on the fight for recovery in Cecil County. This year’s theme is “Fighting for Families” and will allow us to shine a light on individuals whose compassion is outstanding.

Our main speaker will be Judge Jane Murray, Associate Judge for the Cecil County Circuit Court. A graduate from Elkton High School and past Attorney for the Domestic Violence Program, Judge Murray understands the culture of our community and the challenges of families struggling for a new life in recovery.

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Please join us in celebrating this year’s amazing honorees:

Jennifer LePore – for her selfless service supporting Voices of Hope and Healing Hearts – our overdose death grief support group.

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Karen and her daughter Courtney, who passed March, 2011

Karen Prettyman-Bishop and Addiction Connections Resource – for compassionate and dedicated support of Cecil County people in recovery, notably the Mommy & Me Oxford House in Elkton.

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Lorri Irrgang – with Maryland Coalition of Families, for going above and beyond to help Cecil County families struggling with addiction to find recovery supports and a voice for self advocacy.

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Jack and one of his many close friends!

Jack Foraker – for being the “Rock of Sobriety” for Cecil County. Life-long resident of North East and currently Executive Director of Haven House, he has been a model of service and recovery for over 35 years.

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