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Meet Our New Executive Director

Lisa Nurnberger has survived incredible odds to find recovery in Cecil County.

Lisa is originally from Elizabeth, NJ.  She was born with multiple health complications including spina bifida.  As a result of the constant care required to keep her alive, her young parents surrendered their parental rights when she was under a year old.  She was cared for by a foster family who was finally able to adopt her when she was 10.  Lisa struggled with her mental and emotional health while she was growing up and learning to live with her physical limitations.  There were conflicts and rebellion that made life tumultuous for her and her family.  Drinking and doing drugs were a part of her coping process.  Things really got worse after September 11, 2001.  Lisa was working on the 72nd floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center when the first plane hit. Several people carried her down all the stairs to get out of the building and survive.  “Afterwards, I had survivor’s guilt.  I felt like I should have died, too.”

The road to recovery began in Cecil County.  “I was living in North East and found myself on the 4th floor of Union Hospital after a deep depression.  Upon discharge, I attended therapy at Upper Bay.  I was looking for support and attended different 12-step fellowships in the area until I found one that fit me.”  Lisa is active in a fellowship that focuses on recovering from the impact of surviving in dysfunctional family systems.  She has found hope and purpose in recovery and wants to share it with others.

Lisa speaks openly about her experiences for audiences, recently at a World Convention of her fellowship in Canada.  She has been a volunteer with Voices of Hope for about 2 years and is very close to achieving the Maryland Certified Peer Recovery Specialist credential.  She has an Associates Degree and 2 Bachelor Degrees.  She is excited to take on this new role at Voices of Hope with the guidance and support of her friend and past Executive Director, Nicola Barteau.  “I am excited to see Voices of Hope grow to be the name people associate with recovery in Cecil County and even in the state, as we are in the forefront of helping people.  My point of view is that we have been there, we understand, even with different recovery pathways, we still relate.”

See Lisa’s recent VoH interview on our YouTube Channel.

There are a lot of changes happening at Voices of Hope as we grow to meet the challenges of supporting those who struggle with behavioral health disorders and their families.  In this process, the role of Executive Director has demanded more undivided attention to face those challenges.  In response, our beloved ED, Nicola Barteau, helped us to select one of our dedicated and qualified volunteers as our new Executive Director.  Responsible for executing the direction of our Board of Directors, Lisa connects with the operations of Voices of Hope, primarily through our Chief Operations Officer, Jennifer Tuerke. Please meet Lisa, our volunteers and employees at our Holiday Open House on December 21, 2018 from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm at 224 E. Main St. Elkton, MD  21921.


Hope Street Outreach: Giving Back by Reaching Out

Our outreach teams believe in the transformative power of recovery.  Our lives have been forever changed by this power.  Hope Street is our action of gratitude:  reaching out to addicts, offering relationship, information, resources and recovery.  Leading up to Giving Tuesday, Voices of Hope wants you to know how your donation is investing in our community response to the addiction epidemic in Cecil County.  One way is through funding supplies, training and coordination of our Hope Street Outreach.  This team’s focus is building helping relationships in the communities that need it most.  We talk and relate to people as equals.  Our mission is to give hope that recovery is possible for all.  Team members have been trained in harm reduction principles, trauma informed care and local treatment and recovery support organizations.  Many friendships have been made and community trust in Voices of Hope as a helping organization is growing.

Teams of two go out routinely every week in Hollingsworth Manor, Lakeside Trailer Park, Downtown Elkton and Winding Brook.  Teams include people who live and recover in these neighborhoods.

In October, Hope Street made 127 connections in 22 walks.  2 sex workers in Elkton were connected to treatment and recovery supports in our first week.  We offer information on how to get into treatment, 12-step meeting information and crisis hotline numbers.  We also give  the walk-in treatment times for the Health Clinic at the Cecil County Health Department.  We know that giving information and encouraging people who use drugs to seek prevention and treatment will lower infections and Hepatitis C transmission.  People will find recovery.  Families will be saved.

Your funds pay for pamphlet printing, condoms, safe use and wound care supplies, needle collection equipment (we clean them up on the street) and for the purchase of Narcan.  By distributing Naloxone to the people who use drugs and their families, we believe the number of overdose deaths will decrease.

Please support Voices of Hope as your charity of choice this Giving Tuesday.  Your investment makes Cecil a safer place to live and raise our children.  Thank you!

 

Grateful for Recovery!!!

Happy Thanksgiving from Voices of Hope!  We pray that you are well, that your loved ones are safe and you look forward to another good day.  Thanksgiving gives an opportunity to count our blessings and we are grateful for you, our supporters, who believe that recovery is possible.  You invest in the solution.  We are grateful for our volunteers who carry the message that no addict need ever die.  Volunteers, like Tonya, show up, reach out and give the hope that anyone has the power to change their own lives if given information, resources and support.  Our volunteers give time, talent and passion – we know that freedom is possible and we want to share it with families and those who still suffer.  We know that Cecil County can become a place that fosters recovery, making it a better place to live for our neighbors, families and children.   If you, or a family member, need help finding treatment or recovery support, reach out through our Facebook page or call us (443) 993-7055.  We are here for you.

 

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.