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.
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!!!
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.
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.