Category Archives: Uncategorized

Camp Educators Complete Youth Mental Health First Aid Training

Voices of Hope facilitated Youth Mental Health First Aid training for educators at North Bay on Monday, October 15, 2018.  Training and books were supplied through the Maryland AWARE grant that strives to equip people who interact with adolescents with this helpful training.  Mental Health First Aiders are trained to be able to assess a crisis and how how best to help.  They were given suicide and mental health crisis resource information.    Although North Bay has an effective system of addressing and supporting students in crisis while at the camp, this training equipped educators on how to provide mental health first aid in their families and communities.

If you are interested in having Mental Health First Aid course provided to your organization or community in Cecil County, please email us at voicesofhope414@gmail.com

Hope Street Backpack Outreach Begins in Cecil County

Trained volunteers hit the streets in October to make relationships and to offer resources, safe use and safe sex materials throughout Cecil County, Maryland.  Hope Street is the backpack outreach team of Voices of Hope, Inc.  Volunteers are people in recovery, family members and those who support recovery in Cecil County.  Hope Street volunteers have been trained in harm reduction and trauma-informed care.  They are given information and training to connect people with treatment providers and recovery supports.

Teams walk through 3 neighborhoods on a weekly basis, always at the same time.  The SHE Unit is building relationships with sex workers in our County.  The police and sheriff departments are aware of the shifts and the identifiers that indicate Voices of Hope volunteers.

This outreach is an effort to build helping relationships and reduce the harm that comes with chaotic drug use.  By offering safe sex and safe use equipment, Voices of Hope will reduce the number of those acquiring infections and serious, expensive health conditions like Hepatitis C and HIV.  The teams also collect and dispose of discarded needles if any are found along the routes.  Narcan will be distributed with training to anyone interested.

One of the best results of this outreach is building new relationships with people who care about their neighbors.  Many good citizens are in these neighborhoods and want to contribute to the well being of their communities.  Together, we will carry a message of caring, health and help to get to the next step of a recovery journey.

Want to join our teams?  Plan to attend the next Volunteer Recovery Army Training on November 3, 2018 from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, location to be announced.  Stay tuned to our Facebook page or website for information or sign up to our email list by request email to voicesofhope414@gmail.com.

 

Recovery Month Proclamation 2018 in Cecil County, Maryland

People in recovery, family members and allies attended the Recovery Month Proclamation at the County Administration Building on Tuesday, September 4, 2018.  The County Council gave the Proclamation to Ken Collins, Director of Addiction Services and Mike Massuli, Deputy Director of the Alcohol & Drug Recovery Center and to John Bennett, Chairperson of the Cecil County Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council.  People in our recovery community brought signs with messages about what helped them in their recovery, what we need to combat the addiction crisis and issues important to that individual.  Although the group was not allowed to bring their signs into the meeting, they were held up in front of the County Administration building as participants walked in.  John Bennett invited the group to stand and receive the Proclamation with them.  After the Proclamation, a spiffy new commercial about Peer Support was televised.

 

 

5th Annual Overdose Vigil and Awareness Day

Voices of Hope joined forces with Youth Empowerment Source (YES), Maryland Coalition of Families and local churches to host a day of activities for International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31, 2018.  A Prayer Breakfast was held at Wesley United Methodist Church to start the day.  Members of the church and the Paris Foundation served a breakfast donated by Chik Fil A.  After breakfast, members of the community offered prayers out loud for the families and loved ones of those lost and for those who still suffer.

After breakfast, a Memorial Wall was constructed outside the old County Courthouse.  Names that had been emailed to YES were placed on the wall.  Others were added by friends and family as the event was carried out.  There were crafts for children, drinks and snacks while people shared about the lives of those lost.  Marc Butler, from Ashley Addiction Treatment, brought donuts to share with the group.  Dr. Alan McCarthy, the County Executive, and Judge Will Davis, stopped in to pay their respects.  Family members and friends braved the rain to express their grief for those whose lives were cut short by overdose.

In the evening, a candlelight vigil was held at the North East Community Park.  Attendees were invited to design a luminary for their loved one and to speak about their life and loss.  Josh, from an Elkton area recovery house, donated his talent and played music throughout the event.  Jim Kamahachi from St. Mary Anne’s Episcopal Church, gave the closing prayer as storms were approaching.  A huge fire on Route 40 kept many from getting to the event on time or at all.  Nonetheless, respectful space and condolences were expressed for those lost.

Thank you to the many Voices of Hope volunteers that made this day possible.  Their service to those who grieve and for those who have passed made this event possible.  Thank you to YES who gave extra attention to this issue that impacts too many of the youth they serve.  We are also grateful for the Christians from many organizations who participated, even when this has not effected them personally.  Thank you for your compassion and active involvement.  You make the new culture of Cecil County.

Learning to Represent at “Recovery is the Message” Training

People in recovery and family members attended the Faces and Voices of Recovery Messaging Training on August 30, 2018 at the Susquehanna Workforce Center in Elkton, MD.  Over 30 people were in attendance to learn how to carry the message that recovery works!  Whether in private settings or with the media, the group practiced how to hone their recovery story into one voice with a message that we do recover.

Presenters were Chelsea Duiett from Bowling Green Brandywine and Brandon Welsch, Director of the Office of Consumer Affairs at the Maryland Behavioral Health Administration.  Sponsors were Voices of Hope and the University of Maryland Training Center.  Training space was donated by the Susquehanna Workforce Center.

Participants also earned 6 CEUs for the Certified Peer Recovery Specialist credential in Maryland.

Thank you to all who attended, go carry the message!!!

Recovery Messaging Training

Cecil County Residents Prepare to Combat Addiction, Group 2

People in recovery, family members and concerned citizens attended the 2nd Recovery Volunteer Army training on Saturday, August 25, 2018 at the Susquehanna Workforce Center in Elkton, MD.  In this three hour training, participants learned about harm reduction and trauma informed care.  They also received general information about all approaches to addiction treatment and support available in Cecil County.  Training included information about homeless shelters and service providers, mental health treatment providers, how to access the Mobile Crisis Unit and Suicide Hotline.

Training also included statistics about the health and well being of Cecil County residents, as found on reports from the Cecil County Health Department, available on their website.

Participants were invited to join an outreach team at the close of the training.  They were asked to use the information in the neighborhood in which they live or work.  A brief overview of the Certified Peer Recovery Specialist credential was also explained and support offered.

Voices of Hope appreciates the individuals who have stepped up to be a part of the solution to the addiction epidemic.  It is wrecking havoc and heartache on our community.  Education, conversation, community networking and support is key.  It takes follow up action that will make the difference in the recovery of our community:  one person, one family at a time.  Together, we must advocate for change – a change of heart, a change of policies and a comprehensive plan to bring treatment providers, recovery supports and community organizations together, empower them, cut through the red tape and appropriately respond to the emergency situation we are in.  This epidemic is killing our neighbors and abandoning children in it’s wake.  These are the concerned citizens that will make the difference.

 

Training Maryland’s Recovery Advocates!

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!

Perryville Girl Creates Mural to Support Recovery at Whitsitt Center

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.

Why We Pick Up Trash on Route 40

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 voicesofhope414@gmail.com.