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!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com
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:
Voices of Hope hosted the first of the Cecil County Recovery Town Hall series in Port Deposit on Wednesday, May 9, 2018. 19 people attended, with 3 from Port Deposit. There were no Town Administrators or Officials, no Cecil County treatment providers, no churches or organizations from Port Deposit present. The three people from Port Deposit in attendance represented recovery in the area. No families or individuals came seeking addiction treatment, support or requested Narcan training or medication.
Perhaps the low attendance was poor publicity on our part. We promoted on social media, through the newspapers and posted throughout the town. Or maybe this could be a positive indication of the health and wellness of this small town of 767 people (2016). However, Raymond Lynn, Cecil County Heroin Coordinator, presented statistics at the meeting that suggest caution. He said of the updated 600 overdoses in Cecil County in 2017, 80 were fatal. About 15% of the total were from the Port Deposit area. That percentage from Port Deposit is remaining the same so far in 2018. There has been a total 200 Cecil County overdoses and 20 fatal to date. Mr. Lynn also reported that the average age of the County’s overdoses this year is 22, from about age 35 last year. Sadly, 21 Cecil County children have lost a parent to overdose so far in 2018.
Those also in attendance were core Voices of Hope members: people in recovery, family members and recovery supporters of Cecil County. We ended the meeting by strengthening our resolve to keep working to bring recovery treatment and support to individuals and families struggling in Cecil County. Healing Hearts, the Overdose Death Grief Support Group, was present and talked about their mission. Mike Massuli, Clinical Director of the Alcohol & Drug Recovery Center at the Cecil County Health Department, presented resources and Narcan training for anyone interested. Also present was Maryland Circuit Court Judge Will Davis, Assistant State’s Attorney Amanda Bessicks and Maryland House of Delegates candidate Jobeth Rocky Bowers. Thank you all for your support.
We hope that our next Recovery Town Hall in Cecilton on June 13 is also a success and more local resources represented. We appreciate the time and energy of all our Recovery Supporters. Cecil County is caught in an addiction epidemic, we will not lay down and let our community die easy. We will fight to save our families.
On Saturday, March 10, 2018, Voices of Hope hosted a banquet to express our gratitude for all of the Cecil County First Responders who administered Narcan and first aid to individuals experiencing an overdose in 2017. This event was sold out beyond capacity. In attendance were first responders, public safety officers, politicians and town officials, small business owners, treatment providers, people in recovery, family members and recovery supporters.
A recorded 587 people experienced an overdose in 2017 in Cecil County. 71 were fatal. We credit our first responders and the increased availability and use of Narcan for those lives saved. We chose to acknowledge and honor Officers First Class Jeremy Fuller and Thomas Saulsbury from the Elkton Police Department for saving Erin Woodie, a young mother from Cecil County. Erin read the police report that was filed that day at the banquet. She talked about her family and their gratitude for the Officers’ actions and humane treatment that day. She credits them for saving her life, as she now is experiencing long term recovery.
Also honored was Shelley Smith, a volunteer of Voices of Hope, Inc. for her grateful service and willingness to help achieve our mission. We presented her with the Distinguished Volunteer Award.
Although music and dancing was available, most people opted for the free Narcan training at the end of the night, hosted by Mike Massuli and Katie Carroll from the Alcohol & Drug Recovery Center. 24 people received the training and took home the life saving medication.
Please check out all the photos from the night on our Facebook page or #VOHBanquet2018
We are so grateful for the sponsors and supporters that made this night such a success, thank you!
Union Hospital of Cecil County
Ashley Addiction Treatment
Recovery Centers of America
A and M Tent Tents
A & M Elegant Affairs
David Heitur Fotograph
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD)