Tag Archives: Voices of Hope 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

VoH Recovery Volunteer Orientation

Ready to take your service to the next level?   We can use your help!  We need Team Members for:

Hope Street Outreach – distribute safe use and safe sex information and materials in Hollingsworth Manor, Winding Brook, Lakeside Trailer Park and Downtown Elkton.  Make relationships, help people access treatment and care, provide peer support.

Homeless Outreach – work with people who are without homes or are in extreme poverty.  Help them to access services and substance use/mental health treatment and peer support.

Overdose Survivor Outreach – actively reach those who have survived an overdose.  Offer treatment, recovery support and relationship.

Healing Hearts – be a support to someone who has experienced a death of a loved one.  Attend the bi-weekly support group meeting.

We will be reviewing the Certified Peer Recovery Specialist credential and how you can get on track to earn this through Voices of Hope.

We also have need of technology, administrative, social media and advocacy volunteers.

OR you can just attend this session to learn about all the different addiction treatment modalities available in this area and recovery support organizations we know of.  NO commitment is necessary to attend.  Tickets are being assigned due to limited space available.

All are welcome!

VoH Recovery Volunteer Orientation

Ready to take your service to the next level?   We can use your help!  We need Team Members for:

Hope Street Outreach – distribute safe use and safe sex information and materials in Hollingsworth Manor, Winding Brook, Lakeside Trailer Park and Downtown Elkton.  Make relationships, help people access treatment and care, provide peer support.

Homeless Outreach – work with people who are without homes or are in extreme poverty.  Help them to access services and substance use/mental health treatment and peer support.

Overdose Survivor Outreach – actively reach those who have survived an overdose.  Offer treatment, recovery support and relationship.

Healing Hearts – be a support to someone who has experienced a death of a loved one.  Attend the bi-weekly support group meeting.

We will be reviewing the Certified Peer Recovery Specialist credential and how you can get on track to earn this through Voices of Hope.

We also have need of technology, administrative, social media and advocacy volunteers.

OR you can just attend this session to learn about all the different addiction treatment modalities available in this area and recovery support organizations we know of.  NO commitment is necessary to attend.  Tickets are being assigned due to limited space available.

All are welcome!

Who Have We Reached in 2018?

Voices of Hope is an organization made up of people in recovery, along with family members and allies who support recovery. We have been working together to advocate and build recovery supports in our community since 2013. This year has been our busiest ever. Your donations of time, talents and treasures have made results that we are proud to report. We hope to inspire community members to continue to support us, or maybe give for the first time.

We have three main initiative where we focus our efforts.

  • Outreach – going into the communities and neighborhoods that are hardest hit by this epidemic.
  • CPRS Academy – providing training to our members so they are best informed to provide help to others, as well as creating a career path for those in recovery who often times face barriers to employment.
  • Fundraising – raising money to overcome barriers to treatment and providing funding for recovery housing to people in early recovery.

Outreach

We began most of our official outreach programs in October, 2018. Our approach is based on harm reduction, reducing overdose deaths and addressing the various other health issues that plague our communities. We are also a connection to recovery for them if they decide to ask for help. Hope Street, our backpack outreach program, provides health resources and builds recovery relationships in our most disadvantaged areas: Hollingsworth Manor, Lakeside Trailer Park, Winding Brook and Downtown Elkton. Our Homeless Outreach provides peer support and engagement at Paris Foundation, the Mary Randall Center and everywhere in-between. Our Overdose Survivor Outreach engages people who survive an overdose at their homes and with their families. Here is our data from October 1 through December 22, 2018:

  • 484 Connections (conversations and engagement)
  • 178 Safe Use Bags given (wound care, clean supplies, resources)
  • 121 Safe Sex Bags given (condoms, dental dams, resources)
  • 102 doses of Narcan given
  • 53 Discarded syringes collected
2018 VoH town hall

103 people attended 6 Town Hall meetings that we held throughout Cecil County. At these Town Halls, we invited local people to talk about their own recovery, the strengths that support recovery and some barriers that we would work together to overcome.

Healing Hearts Overdose Death Grief Support Group formed in March, 2018 and meets every other week. This group is for the families and friends of our neighbors who have lost someone they love to addiction. We are a place to grieve openly, when you want, how you want, with people who understand.

70 people attended Financial Capabilities classes held throughout the year, teaching people new in recovery or anyone interested how to better manage finances.

668 people attended various activities hosted by VoH: our Gratitude Banquet, Adopt-A-Hwy clean ups, Memorial Day cook out, etc. These events help promote the positive effects that recovery has on the entire community. When people recover, so do their families, friends and neighbors.

Certified Peer Recovery Specialist Academy

1st VOH Outreach Volunteer Trainees June, 2018

74 people attended 4 Recovery Volunteer Army Trainings that introduced Cecil County statistics on drug use and overdoses, domestic violence, abuse and neglect. Training was given on principles of trauma-informed care and harm reduction to people interested in helping their neighbors. These trainings are given free of charge. Attendees were invited to sign up to a VoH volunteer outreach team.

Recovery Advocates
CPRS Academy training 2018

282 people were trained in courses that gave CEUs for the Maryland Certified Peer Recovery Specialist Credential. Courses included Recovery Coach Academy, Trauma-Informed Care for Peers, Harm Reduction for Peers, Recovery Messaging and Mental Health First Aid for Adults and Youth. We believe each student is better capable of carrying the message of recovery to those who suffer at any stage of sickness or in a crisis.

Fundraising

$2,508 was given to residents seeking recovery supportive housing in Cecil County as they left treatment, or to continue their housing during periods of difficulty. We also were able to provide transportation to treatment for people who had no other way to get there.

We believe that addiction and recovery is a health issue. By providing our community with the tools and information to stay alive and access treatment, we will lower the number of deaths by overdose. By providing safe use and safe sex equipment with resources, we will prevent infections that are costly to treat and can be barriers to recovery. By keeping people alive and out of jail, we will keep families together and reduce the trauma and cost of providing care for children living without their parents. By providing Narcan to people who use drugs, we are empowering people to save each other, more often.

Mark on Hope Street Outreach

Our volunteers and employees are people who are in recovery or family members of people in recovery. We reflect all pathways of addiction and mental health recovery and are passionate about the people of Cecil County, Maryland. We care and will go above and beyond to help someone seeking recovery. Our problem here is big and it will take big hearts to make the difference.

If addiction has touched your life or someone you love, please consider giving what you can to our mission: Attend a Volunteer Orientation and join a team that works with your schedule. Donate funds that will be used to purchase Narcan and contribute to someone’s safe place in recovery. Reach out to us and be a face and voice of recovery in a video or story of hope. Thank you!


Holiday Open House

Please stop in for some cookies and tea at our new office location!  Meet people in recovery, family members and allies who are a part of the solution to the addiction epidemic.  We will have a free holiday craft for kids!  All supporters and volunteers are encouraged to attend!  Bring an ornament with a picture of your loved one to add to our memorial tree.

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.


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.

 

North East Recovery Town Hall Attracts 30 Participants

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!

 

 

 

VoH Speaks Up at Recovery Advocacy Day in D.C.

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.