National Parental Involvement Day

Happy National Parental Involvement Day! Today provides opportunities for parents to evaluate their personal relationships with their children, so they can make an extra push to get more involved in certain aspects of their child’s life. 

Parents have a huge impact on their child’s academic and overall success. This success is further articulated in an October blog for National School Success Month. You can find that here!

This day fosters discussion between schools and parents to prioritize student success, both in and out of the classroom. At Alvis, we believe in the power of family and community, which is why one of our primary groups of clients is families, especially children, impacted by their loved ones’ justice involvement, developmental disability, and/or behavioral healthcare needs. 


Our Family and Children’s Program specifically works to reunite families, and many of our clients are motivated by families to seek treatment at Alvis, in hopes of receiving necessary care that will help them turn their lives around. Alvis joins the rest of the nation in observing this day, which promotes healthy parental involvement that is key in a child’s development. Our goal is always to better the lives of individuals, families, and communities.

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience providing highly effective treatment programs in Ohio. Our vision is that communities value a person’s potential more than their past. For more information on how Alvis can help you or to learn more about how you can get involved, contact us here.

National Philanthropy Day

Philanthropy means the love of humanity.

Philanthropy has distinguishing characteristics separate from charity; not all charity is philanthropy, or vice versa, though there is a recognized degree of overlap in practice. A difference commonly cited is that charity aims to relieve the pain of a particular social problem, whereas philanthropy attempts to address the root cause of the problem—the difference between the proverbial gift of a fish to a hungry person, versus teaching them how to fish.

Created in 1986, The Columbus Foundation Award recognizes organizations that have made a difference in the quality of life in our community. Alvis has worked toward giving clients a second chance for over fifty years. Alvis started out in 1967 at 971 Bryden Road, serving 60 men on parole from the Ohio Penitentiary. Within its inaugural decade, Alvis secured two other facilities and began serving those with development disabilities as well as those with employment service needs. Alvis has over 50 years of experience, we now serve approximately 10,000 clients per year, and in August, were named the 2019 Columbus Foundation Award winner.

Many of our employees have watched Alvis grow and continue to help people turn lives around. Our Social Enterprise Director Ramona Wheeler says, of our recent award, “personally, it means that Alvis has taken a big step in a new direction.”

Director of Grants, April Steffy, says, “Personally I was very proud of the organization.” April believes the award validates that Alvis is a place that shows clients “where I am does not define who I am.”

Alvis wants to reach as many people as possible. Would you like to help turning lives around? Check out our most recent volunteer opportunities:

Family and Children’s Program

Alvis is looking for fun, enthusiastic volunteers to help set up, serve and/or provide a meal; facilitate a craft; create an activities kit or project; play games; and participate in other activities designed to help repair relationships and reconnect families.

HYPE (Helping Young People Excel) Program

This is our after-school program for the children of women at Amethyst, an Alvis recovery program. We are looking for enthusiastic women to assist at-risk children with homework, engage in mindful therapeutic activities, and play games.

Facility Beautification—Inside and Outside

Some of our facilities are in need of some “tender loving care,” such as painting and other

interior beautification. Help for a spring planting or fall clean up will be much appreciated!

Special Events

Opportunities include working at Evening of Light and/or Portraits of Recovery, our fundraising events for our Family and Children’s Programs; Family Picnics and other group recreation projects; helping with monthly socialization activities for our clients with developmental disabilities; bringing some cheer to our clients during the holidays; and more! We can connect individuals and/or groups to an event that will warm your heart.

Mentoring for Women

We need female mentors to be positive role models for women with substance abuse issues who are also in a specialty court program. This opportunity involves volunteering on Tuesday evenings at our Pages Treatment and Recovery Center.

Unique Talents

If you can teach piano, art, cooking classes, yoga, crafts, knitting, sports, etc., we would love for you to join our volunteer team. We can also always use individuals who can mentor clients as they reenter and/or prepare for new challenges and successes in the workplace.

In-Kind Donations

Alvis uses items many people take for granted, like shampoo, lotion, body mist, etc. to help the clients who come to us with nothing and/or as incentive items for achieving program goals. We need men’s/women’s toiletries (soap, lotion, deodorant, toothpaste/tooth brush, and combo products like 3 in 1 body wash, shampoo & conditioner); laundry detergent; books; new/gently used clothing and shoes (both for work, such as black pants & white shirts/dress shirts as well as casual clothing); new underwear and socks.

If you are interested in any of these opportunities, please contact Caroline Ricca, Volunteer and Intern Manager, at Caroline.Ricca@alvis180.org or call 614.252.8402 x337. Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience providing highly effective treatment programs in Ohio. Our vision is that communities value a person’s potential more than their past. For more information on how Alvis can help you or to learn more about how you can get involved, contact us here.

World Kindness Day and Random Acts of Kindness Friday!

world kindness day and random acts of kindness friday alvis blog

There are two perfect opportunities available this month to spread kindness!

The first one is World Kindness Day, on November 13th. And the second one is Random Acts of Kindness Friday, which occurs on November 29th (Black Friday).

Both of these days are sponsored by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, who, in their own words, is a “small nonprofit looking to make kindness the norm.”


The RAK Foundation, in their mission to make kindness the norm, spreads kindness through their promotion of curated classroom curriculums, workplace kindness calendars, and a huge social media presence that endorses World Kindness Day and RAK Friday. On their website, they also have many touching stories on their community blog, quotations, videos, and the opportunity to become a RAKtivist!

RAK Friday (here’s their Facebook page), is a little more specific than World Kindness Day, and calls upon all global “RAKtivists” to do one random act of kindness during the day. In 2018, through their tag #RAKFriday, they managed to get 2018 different shares of random acts of kindness across the world.

World Kindness Day focuses on pledging acts of kindness, either as individuals, or organizations! Alvis, as an organization, believes in giving second chances. From our office climate, to our direct daily interaction with clients, kindness not only motivates but helps others unlock the potential inside themselves. Kindness is central to making any positive difference, and we commend everyone who is making a positive #180DegreeImpact in their community.

So… go out and make someone’s day a little better!

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience providing highly effective treatment programs in Ohio. Our vision is that communities value a person’s potential more than their past. For more information on how Alvis can help you or to learn more about how you can get involved, contact us here.

Giving Tuesday is almost here!

Giving Tuesday Blog post

Giving Tuesday is almost here! Giving Tuesday is a global giving movement, celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, which occurs right after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This day is also marking the beginning of the holiday season for many people, and it appropriately embraces the spirit of giving. You can follow Giving Tuesday on social media, through Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, to see the giving that others are doing across the globe through this movement to donate time, money, gifts, and voice.

Our summer intern marketing team at Alvis donated time to serve at various nonprofits and service opportunities across the community, such as game nights at the Ronald McDonald House, landscaping at the Franklin Park Conservatory, serving food and water at the Reeb Avenue Center, and helping with fitness activities at Senior Health and Fitness Day at Nationwide Arena. These happened in two hour increments, and in just a short time, interns were touched by the impact they could feel themselves making, and the community was made a little better.

Visit http://www.givingtuesday.org to see the different ways that you can make a #180DegreeImpact in your community. There are a number of local projects that are coinciding with Giving Tuesday, including some in central Ohio!

Here at Alvis, we are honored to have donors that give time, funding, and actual gifts for our clients, and we have volunteers who also put forth effort into directly impacting lives, and helping Alvis achieve its overall goal, which is helping to turn lives around.

Whether it’s using your creative talent, a random act of kindness, or making a donation, this day encourages us all to join in the giving movement, so we can make the world a little bit better.

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience providing highly effective treatment programs in Ohio. Our vision is that communities value a person’s potential more than their past. For more information on how Alvis can help you or to learn more about how you can get involved, contact us here.

National Diabetes Month

November is National Diabetes Month! This month cultivates an opportunity for everyone, whether or not they have diabetes, to practice health and wellness.

The CDC has found that diabetes or prediabetes affects 100 million Americans, contributing to a steady growing rate in the disease across the country. To paraphrase Medical News Today, type 1 diabetes is the result of the body’s inability to produce insulin, and it is unpreventable, while type 2 diabetes, which is far more common among diabetics (facing 90-95%) is the body’s inability to effectively use insulin that the pancreas produces.

Some aspects of type 2 diabetes are preventable. Medical News Today cites obesity, smoking, unhealthy diets, and lack of exercise as risk factors. In this aspect, committing to a healthy lifestyle can be key in preventing type 2 diabetes from arising.

Alvis’ 180 Wellness Club, which recently launched in June, offers healthy tips for employees to follow in an effort to ensure that they are prioritizing physical and mental health. From education about stretches and exercises, to hydration and healthy grab-and-go foods to eat, the Club finds fun, challenging ways to appeal to employees’ health-related concerns, especially in regards to challenges that they will face through their commitment here at Alvis, both mentally and physically. In fact, Mental Health America finds that diabetes can directly affect mental health—people with diabetes have an increased risk for depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Similar to how addiction and mental health disorders in a person can be co-occurring and interconnected, the same rings true with diabetes and mental health, along with other health conditions.

Maintaining a sense of general wellbeing is important when taking on challenges in work, school, daily activities, and life. Because health and wellness can be related to type 2 diabetes and its potential prevention, we are taking advantage of this appropriate time to express our commitment to person-centered work, whether it’s through our interaction with clients or fellow employees. Many health-related aspects of a person overlap, and that’s why it’s important to meet them on a human level, which is exactly what Alvis does.

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience providing highly effective treatment programs in Ohio. Our vision is that communities value a person’s potential more than their past. For more information on how Alvis can help you or to learn more about how you can get involved, contact us here.

National Caregivers Month

November is National Caregivers Month! This month, we recognize the impact that caregivers have in our lives, and our families, and we raise awareness of the issues that they face. The theme of this year’s National Caregiving Month is “Caregiving Around the Clock,” indicating that caregiving is a job that might need to be done 24/7, at all hours of the day and night. This can “crowd out other areas of our life,” according to the Caregiver Action Network.

The American Society on Aging finds that more than 65 million people in the United States provide care for chronically ill, disabled or aged family members or friends during any given year, and these people spend 20 hours a week providing this care.

Caregiving can be taxing on one’s mental health, physical health, career, nutrition, rest, and general wellbeing. Caregivers include both unpaid family members and loved ones, and paid individuals, like some of our staff members at Alvis, who work in our integrated behavioral healthcare services, as well as with our clients that have developmental disabilities.

We thank our Alvis caregivers, and stand with them as they care for clients who are on the road to reentry and recovery. It is because of them that we are able to touch so many families, and help in turning entire lives around!

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience providing highly effective treatment programs in Ohio. Our vision is that communities value a person’s potential more than their past. For more information on how Alvis can help you or to learn more about how you can get involved, contact us here.

National Make A Difference Day

The mantra “pay it forward” has been gaining attention as movements such as random acts of kindness are popping up across the nation. But today, we want to focus on one man who is working to turn his life around and make a difference for someone else. This man is a convicted murderer. 

Windell Drake’s father died when he was young and his mother, grief-stricken, was in and out of mental health institutions. Drake says that when his parents disappeared from his life, so too did all form of discipline. He got involved in minor criminal activity, but he says he never felt totally settled in the lifestyle he was building. 

He was sent to a juvenile facility at the age of 16, where he noticed that the other guys in the facility were enjoyed and embraced their lives in criminal activity. “That was the beginning,” he says with tears in his eyes. “That was the beginning of my destruction.”

“I was in a world of trouble,” Drake says of the next few years when he ended up serving nearly two years as a juvenile after an armed robbery where one of the co-defendants was shot in the head. He says at one point, he would have denied being there that day because he didn’t go inside. But now he recognizes “I was just as much responsible for it as any of them were.” But still, the time he spent in jail was a “badge of honor” to so many of the people in his life and, when he came home, he was asked to be part of another robbery. He agreed. 

“At that point in my life,” he explains, “I probably didn’t even realize that I had an inner-self. Not to mention the string of victims that I left in the wake.”

On the day he would pull that trigger, he says he never planned to use the gun. But the owner was not willing to stand by and be robbed. The owner pulled out a pool stick and Drake panicked. Before he realized what he’d done, he pulled the trigger that would kill an innocent man. But Drake says his intentions on that day do not matter. He never meant to hurt anyone, but he did. “It does no good to the person that I shot nor does it do any good to the grieving hearts of his remaining loved ones who know that their loved one was struck down for nothing. It does them no good.”

After nearly half a century of justice system involvement, Drake says, “it was necessary.” He believes it was “preordained from the Creator for me to go through the experiences I went through in order to be the person that I am.”

And who is that person? A man who has accepted his guilt, accepted his punishment, and accepted his ability to change. Drake believes that people have the ability to turn their lives around and that humans are not the sum of where they came from. “For the rest of my life I will be trying to do everything in my power to help an individual live a little bit better than what they’re living now.”

Drake’s goal is to be part of a reentry program like the one he completed at Alvis. “I would like to continue to work in reentry in a formal type of way. I would like somebody to take a look at me, look at my credentials, look at my experiences… and see if I am who I say I am.”

He sites the 40% recidivism rate in Ohio as being a primary concern as well as the demographic of kids who are growing up in the same situation he did. His goal to be part of reentry comes from his experience with Alvis

“I had nowhere else to go when I was on parole,” he explains. But Mr. Ross, the former director of Alvis, told him, “we are going to give you all the opportunity in the world to succeed and see what you do with it.”

Programs such as Touch have reached him in life-changing ways, and Drake jokes his praise is so strong, “they will have to pay me for a commercial.”

But Drake has seen what a true support system can do for a person. “CPT, Primary Care Solutions Agency, the Nehemiah House, Refuge—organizations and groups like this, people like this, they helped me to want to do the right thing by showing that ‘I believe you can make it.’”

After seeing the difference such programs have made in the lives of others, Drake believes this is his calling. “I want to be able to make a significant influence,” he says. “What you do for somebody else can be grand if you are truly helping them move from one point to another. And that’s what I try to live by.”

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience providing highly effective treatment programs in Ohio. Our vision is that communities value a person’s potential more than their past. For more information on how Alvis can help you or to learn more about how you can get involved, contact us here.