End of Violence Against Women Day

“Overcoming abuse doesn’t just happen, It takes positive steps every day. Let today be the day you start to move forward.” – Assunta Harris.

Trigger Warning: Sexual violence, rape, verbal abuse, domestic abuse, human trafficking.

End of Violence against Women Day is celebrated every year on November 25th. Violence against girls and women is widespread. Women are mistreated irrespective of their age, cultural or racial background. One of the worst things to know is that violence is one of the most persistent, devastating, and widespread violations of human rights today.

It is shocking to know that various cases go unreported due to the stigma, immunity, shame, and silence surrounding violence against women. The awful thing is that most women don’t even know they are going through abuse. Women who are abused by their perpetrators remain quiet due to the fear of being harmed or further abused.

According to UNICEF, some of the most common types of violence against women are;

  • Intimate violence of partners (marital rape, battering, femicide, psychological abuse)
  • Harassment and sexual violence (sexual acts, child abuse, cyber-bullying, forced sexual acts, street harassment)
  • Human trafficking (sexual exploitation, slavery)
  • Genital mutilation of females
  • Child Marriage

How Alvis is Helping Women Who Face Violence

Recovery Houses

Apart from Alvis’s other impactful programs, the recovery housing programs are for the women who had suffered trauma, abuse and/or drug addiction. It is a program for women to stay safe in a trustworthy environment, without the fear of being attacked or kidnapped by their predators. We provide holistic treatment therapy to help them heal. We remind them that no matter how traumatic their pasts might have been, they matter, and they are loved. It is a societal notion set up in our community members’ minds that domestic or sexual abuse only occurs in poor and underprivileged communities. When that is not true at all.

Abuse can happen anywhere, whether it is in a poor community or a wealthy state. Sexual and domestic abuse is real. It might happen to someone close to you or to someone you know. It is essential to recognize the signs of abuse and help those who cannot help themselves by becoming a voice for the voiceless and lending a helping hand to those who cannot get out from the dangerous situation of domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and human trafficking.

As Patty Rase Hopson once said, “Abuse changes your life…Fight Back and change the life of your abusers by Breaking Your Silence on Abuse.” On this eradication of violence against women day, make a promise to yourself to speak up about the unjust happenings and the abuse happening worldwide or in your community. At Alvis, we work to provide a safe living space for these victims and give them time and a safe space to recover.

Why should you Speak Up for Violence Against Women?

According to the United Nations;

  • Sexual violence or physical violence is experienced by 1 in 3 women in their lifetimes, most commonly by their intimate partners.
  • Only 52% of women in a union or those who are married decide sexual intimacy by their own free will.
  • Almost 750 million females are married all around the globe before they turn 18 years old, while 200 million females have suffered from the trauma of female genital mutilation (FGM).
  • In 2017, 1 in 2 females were killed by their family or partners.
  • The victims of human trafficking worldwide are 71% of girls and women. Whereas, 3 out of 4 of these women suffer from sexual exploitation.
  • Violence can cause kill a person, and it is more severe than traffic accidents and malaria.

Health Consequences

According to the World Health Organization, women who go through any kind of violence are more likely to suffer from a lot of health consequences such as;

  • Dangerous outcomes, such as suicide or homicide.
  • Injuries, physical and emotional.
  • If gone through sexual violence, women are more likely to suffer from gynecological problems and infections that are transmitted through forced sexual acts.
  • Various effects on one’s health might include back pain, gastrointestinal disorders, headaches, poor health, and limited mobility.
  • If a woman faces sexual violence at a young age, it is common for her to suffer from alcohol and substance abuse.

Impact on Children

It is highly likely when a woman faces violence and goes through its negative consequences, her child will suffer from those negative consequences as well.

How to Prevent Violence Against Women:

There are several ways in which you can prevent violence against women. Some of them are as follows:

  • Educate yourself regarding the different types of violence that women face, irrespective of their cultural, racial, or religious background.
  • Acknowledge the fact that it is happening within your community and try to help any woman in your life, in your friend circle, or in your neighborhood who might be struggling.
  • Have courage and speak up on behalf of all those women who have lost their dignity and voice from the things they have been through.
  • Encourage your friends to speak on behalf of sexual violence victims to bring more awareness to this subject.
  • Make a report if you witness someone getting violated or harassed at school or your workplace.
  • Advocate for the rights of victims in your community, neighborhood, or family.
  • Stop yourself or your friends from taking advantage of any individual who might be intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.
  • Respect the victims who come from diverse backgrounds.

Do you wish to make a difference in someone’s life, no matter how small it might be? Help our community turning their lives around #180degreeimpact. Donate and/or volunteer with us. We need you! Email: volunteer@alvis180.org

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children’s services, and the community, we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved.

Blog post opinion piece written by Eman Khalid

World Children’s Day

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

  — Frederick Douglass, abolitionist, and statesman

World Children’s Day 2020 will be celebrated on the 20th of November. World Children’s Day promotes awareness worlwide in regards to the children rights, especially for those who live in the minority communities.

World Children’s Day at Alvis

At Alvis, we encourage the children, youngsters and families in our recovery programs to take part in various activities which significantly plays one of the most contributing roles towards their recovery process. You can always donate and contribute to the members of our Reentry Services, DD Services, and Behavorial Health Services. Help our children and families turning their lives around #180degreeimpact. Donate and/or volunteer with us. We need you! Email: volunteer@alvis180.org

World Children’s Day Activities

World Children’s Day Celebrations can be done by conducting various activities for children. Whether you are a child in search of an activity you could do or an adult who wants to celebrate this impactful day, here is a list of some of the activities you could either do at school or home;

World Children’s Day Art

Bring out your child’s inner creativity by allowing him to create any art piece of his desire! To encourage him further, hang the painting in a room, and decorate the wall. Giving him compliments for the work he’d do will make the child feel appreciated, and it is an appreciated child who grows up to be a responsible human being.

Importance of World Children’s Day

There is a lot of significance to World Children’s Day. One of the most significant importance of this day is to raise awareness among the children of our community regarding the importance of unity and harmony. These are the prime years of their lives, and if we teach them the difference between right and wrong now, they will grow up to be responsible citizens. Another best thing about World Children’s Day is the bonding time of a child with his parents or friends.

World Children’s Day Cards

One of the many best ways to celebrate on November 20 is by making new cards and distributing them. With the help of your creativity and imagination, you can make any card of your choice and build a card with any shape or size of your personal preference. Distributing cards on World Children’s Day helps the children in your life to feel appreciated and loved.

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children’s services; we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved at http://www.Alvis180.org

Young Readers Day

“Literature is the safe and traditional vehicle through which we learn about the world and pass on values from one generation to the next. Books save lives.” – Laurie Anderson.”

Academic institutions and parents worldwide celebrate Young Readers Day on the second Tuesday of November. The Young Readers day is an auspicious occasion for parents to commence a celebration with their children by reading to them and with them.

On Young Readers Day 2020, read a book for your children, no matter how small or long the book might be. When a parent reads books to his/her child, it provides the child with the background knowledge on their young world, which helps him/her make sense of what he/she sees, reads, and hears. Reading has proven to be far more effective than playing video games or watching TV.

As an intelligent investment towards your child’s future, select intriguing books with creative stories, innovative characters, an exciting storyline with a moral lesson behind it. Early age reading is a complex interaction between a reader and text, shaped by his early knowledge, attitude, experiences, and language community, which is socially and culturally situated.

Research shows that regular reading has a significant improvement in one’s brain’s connectivity by increasing their comprehension and vocabulary by empowering them to empathize with other people. Reading is a good daily habit for all children.

It is said that a person who reads literary fiction and stories while exploring its character’s inner lives show a heightened ability to understand the beliefs and feelings of those around them. This feeling is known as the “Theory of mind”. A child who reads can more easily empathizes with the feelings of others. He/She grows up to be a more compassionate individual.

Young Readers at Alvis

Your contributions and donations play a crucial role in helping our clients. Would you like to make a difference in someone’s life? Help our children and families turning their lives around #180degreeimpact. Donate and/or volunteer with us. We need you! Email: volunteer@alvis180.org

Do you wish to improve your child reading habits? It is never too late! Let the Young Readers Day 2020 be that day of change. Be inspired and move forward with it. Grab a book and make it happen!

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children’s services; we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved at http://www.Alvis180.org

National Ohio Day

Today is National Ohio Day! Alvis began as a single halfway house in Columbus. We have since expanded to serve over 10,000 clients and 400 families on a daily basis. One thing that has endured throughout our existence is our strong tie to Ohio, and the rich community of support in this state. We would not be able to do what we do without our community behind us. Behind every Alvis program is a team of staff that are dedicated to making it happen. Also behind many of our programs are community partners committed to helping our mission of turning lives around by 180 Degrees become a reality.

Our journey coincided with developing needs in the state of Ohio. We were founded in 1967. In our second decade of existence, our decision to begin offering workforce development services was dictated by the growing needs in the community. Justice-involved individuals were in need of help transitioning back into the Ohio community by holding steady jobs and gaining a source of income to stabilize their reentry into society.

We also began to serve individuals with developmental disabilities during that decade, which was pioneering and progressive during a time when many did not provide adequate treatment or highly regard the independence of those with developmental disabilities. We responded to a growing population in our community that needed our help.

Then, we expanded to help women, children, families, and human trafficking survivors, as these populations consisted of community members in need.

Our programs like the EDGE (Empower Development by Gaining Employment) Program is a five-month program assisting justice-involved individuals in overcoming barriers to employment, which is formed from a partnership between Alvis, the City of Columbus, and the Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio (WBDCO). Our POWER Program, another community partnership between us, Franklin County Adult Probation, and Talbot Hall, addresses the ongoing opioid epidemic in the state, in which we have already helped hundreds of individuals recover and reconnect with their communities.

Our local partnerships enhance our programs by providing expert direction from leaders acquainted with our community. We proudly work with these partners to give our clients the benefit of having a caring community leading a #180DegreeImpact.

This includes partners such as the Reeb Avenue Center, a hub of hope on the South Side of Columbus, which provides job readiness classes and workforce development services. There is also The Zonta Club of Columbus, a service and advocacy organization whose mission is to empower women. Zonta helps with local service projects for our Amethyst program throughout the year.

And it would be impossible to forget M/I Homes, who run the Holiday Cheer Program for our moms and kids in our Family and Children’s Program. M/I Homes goes above and beyond for

the holidays—they gift families items for the holidays each season according to specific wish lists. They then deliver these to the clients and sponsor an annual holiday party.

Even our own President and CEO has strong ties and roots to Ohio—Denise M. Robinson did graduate from The Ohio State University, after all!

Today, we are especially thankful for our Ohio community, who helps our clients reach their fullest potential. Happy #NationalOhioDay!

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children’s services, and the community, we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved at http://www.Alvis180.org.

United Nations Day (opinion)

“Even the weak become strong when they are united.” – Friedrich von Schiller.

The United Nations Day falls on the 24th of October every year. The United Nations Day first started in 1945, 24th October. It is a day that celebrates the accomplishments of the UN and a day that unites people from all corners of the world, irrespective of their gender, religion, nationality or cultural background.

A couple of interesting facts around this day

  • An event held for the first time at the auspicious occasion of the “United Nations Day” was at the Allies’ day of the World War II and the parades of the military launched by Franklin D.Roosevelt, who tied the flag day of the US on June 14th, approximately six months after the United Nations declaration.
  • A further resolution was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1971. They declared it celebrated as the United Nations Day and observed on an international scale. It was also reported to be marked as a public holiday by the United Nations member states.

Here some fun suggestions for this United Nations Day Activities

Hosting a Speaker

Host a speaker who can share information regarding the United Nations’ work and positively impact the international community.

Play a Documentary

Play a documentary related to the United Nations day. Watching a documentary about unity and harmony can positively impact individuals and communities.

No matter how you decide to celebrate, find your favorite way to show appreciation to other cultures and diversity. Share it on social if you want the world to know about it.

We are proud and thankful to have a diverse staff here at Alvis. We could not serve all the clients we do, without all the amazing employees we have, a wonderful mix of people from all over the world.

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children’s services, and the community, we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved at www.Alvis180.org.

Mental Illness Awareness Week

“Sometimes, the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to; it’s not for them.”  Joubert Botha

Mental illness Awareness Week occurs every year from October 4th to October 10th to educate the masses regarding mental illness and increase awareness among the youth. Some of the various mental diseases discussed during mental illness awareness week include bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and schizophrenia.

During the Mental Illness Awareness Week, participants across the United States and the National Alliance on Mental Illness raise the public’s awareness of mental illness symptoms and its prevalence in society. During this week, various organizations of mental health fight off the stigma attached to mental illness.

Mental Illness Awareness Week Activities

There are various activities that an organization or an individual can do to celebrate the mental health awareness week 2020.

Plan an Event

Planning an event in person is one of the best methods for raising awareness of the mental illness and its stigma. Not only that, but it also unites the people of your community for a common cause. The various events you can plan are bake sales, art shows, golf tournaments, dinners, galas, and concerts. There are no limitations to what event you can prepare because you will have plenty of options for different kinds of fundraising events.

Spread Awareness

We live in a world where media is being used in a vast amount. Thus, various individuals worldwide take advantage of their social media platforms to shed light on the issues that need to be spoken. You can use your platform to spread awareness on the importance of mental health and why we must speak up about it more. Various social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook can be one of the best platforms to inspire people and be more involved in mental illness movements.

Encourage Kind-Words

If you hear someone talk about mental health or mental illnesses negatively, politely confront them, and tell them about their words’ impact. Person-centered language is such a practice that allows an individual to separate the mental illness symptoms from a person with thoughtful terms.

Mental Illness Signs

Mental illness is widespread, and it is more common than we know. That is why it is essential to recognize the warning signs of mental illness beforehand. Some of the warning signs of mental illness are as follows;

  1. Excessively high or low moods.
  2. Social withdrawal.
  3. Long-lasting irritability or sadness.
  4. Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits.
  5. Excessive anxiety, worry, or fear.

Mental Illness Causes

  • Family history or genes.
  • Life experiences such as an abusive past or stress, mostly in childhood.
  • A chemical imbalance in one’s brains that might have been caused by biological factors.
  • Traumatic injury on brains.
  • Use of recreational drugs or alcohol.
  • Medical severe illness such as cancer or schizophrenia.
  • Not having many friends, feeling of isolation overcoming you.

How Alvis is Helping people with Mental Illness

If you or someone you know has a mental illness, there is always a second chance to recover again. The majority of individuals diagnosed with mental illness achieve recovery and strength through various programs and treatment methods.

There are programs offered by Alvis that help heal the patients of mental illness. Some of the behavioral health services provided by Alvis that help those patients who are suffering from mental health issues are;

You, Will, be Okay:

One of the most important messages that we’d like to put forth on this mental health awareness week 2020 is; the recovery path is never easy, but it is always worth it. Whether you or someone you know is suffering from depression or anxiety, you can always seek the proper treatment and the right programs to heal. Life’s circumstances often cause scars on our hearts that make life a little hard to live. If you decide to join one of Alvis’s programs, you can turn your life around. Five years later, when you look back at your life, you’d be proud of how far you’ve come. You’ll be proud of how bravely you overcame everything life threw your way. The pain you are feeling today shall be the source of your strength tomorrow. Just wait and have faith. One day, you shall be okay.

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children’s services, and the community, we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved at www.Alvis180.org.


Keywords:

Mental Illness Awareness Week Activities, mental health awareness week 2020, Mental Illness Causes, Mental Illness Signs, mental illness symptoms

National School Backpack Day

It’s National School Success month! And just recently, the families here at Alvis received donations from the Tom Fennessy/ Mike Harden Back-to-School Project! Their organization has been around since 1998, providing backpacks and school supplies to disadvantaged children. Their goal is to give children the same opportunity and tools as their peers to build their confidence. Here at Alvis, we would want to say a special thank you to every volunteer that helped organize and pass out school supplies to the children. Many parents and guardians were relieved from the stress and pressure of buying school supplies by the many donations provided by The Tom Fennessy/Mike Harden Back-to-School Project.

The start of a new school year brings about new teachers, friends, football games, and a fresh start for the rest of the year. A lot has changed in only a few short summer months, and classes are looking different this year. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many parents take a more “non-traditional” approach by homeschooling their children or taking online and in-person courses. The one thing all these methods of teaching have in common is that academics are the priority. Whatever decisions parents make, the ultimate goal is to progress their child’s academic careers.

September is also the month of setting goals, not only academic goals but new lifestyle goals. I like to think of National School Success month as a Fall “New Year’s Eve” society tells us that we can only start over once out of the year, but at Alvis, we believe anyone can start new goals and create healthy life choices any day of the year. When setting goals, remember to also make your goal reasonable. If we don’t give ourselves a fair amount of time to complete our goals, we are ultimately setting ourselves up for failure.

Alvis provides many programs and services dedicated to guiding our clients in creating attainable, long term, and short-term goals. From helping our DD clients enter the workforce to developing personalized treatment programs for our Reentry clients at Alvis, we are all about assisting people in becoming better versions of themselves.

Why is goal setting necessary? Before we begin by answering why goal setting is essential, we must ask ourselves, ‘what is a goal?’ According to the Oxford dictionary, a goal is “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired results.” When we set goals, we can turn our focus on something positive that benefits us. It is especially important to our clients to Alvis when our clients develop their goals; it gives them an exact destination as to where they want to go. Our trained staff uses a holistic view to create personalized plans to help them reach goals. With setting goals, we subconsciously stay away from any distractions that will deter our clients.

National School Backpack Day Alvis Blog

Not only is goal setting a critical way to start the school year, but creating a routine for yourself and family is also beneficial. Studies have shown that routines are essential to creating home life stability for both adults and children. Many people who don’t have daily routines typically; are more stressed, have poor eating habits, and have inadequate sleep patterns. Creating a routine can be fun! Many families find that hanging up large poster boards on their walls detailing the days’ task help them stay on track and accomplish their goals. A great tip is to sit down with your family and delegate tasks to each household member. Whether that be someone is tasked with making lunches or washing the dishes in the evening.

Creating a routine that delegates tasks help relieve the minor stresses of the day. With schools starting back up, it’s essential to set specific times for children to complete homework and relax. Establishing a bedtime routine also takes away the stress off of parents. When children go to bed simultaneously every day, parents have time for self-care to focus on themselves. Creating a daily routine will develop good habits for your children to take with them for the rest of their lives.

Alvis offers many programs designed for our clients to create routines for themselves and their families. National School Success month is not only about the children starting a new school year. Here at Alvis, we have various programs and services helping our clients that support our client’s growth. Whether Workforce Development, Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities(DD), Community Reentry or Family and Children, most of our programs offer many benefits that further our clients’ academic careers, as well as their children’s development. Don’t let the pandemic stop you from completing your goals and daily routine! Make September the month of new goals and habits!

Peace and Gratitude

“Gratitude is one of the most powerful human emotions. Once expressed, it changes attitude, brightens outlook, and broadens our perspective.” ― Germany Kent

Peace. It is a feeling we all crave. And there comes a particular moment in each one of our lives when we realize that all of those things that we once thought would bring us happiness end up being meaningless. One day, the realization would dawn upon you like an epiphany, the only contrivances that can satisfy you are your friends, family members, and those close to you. When you are on your deathbed, you won’t think about the money you made and the cars you bought.

Instead, you’d think about the moments you spent doing the things you loved, surrounded by those who brought out the best in you. You’d think about that day when you pushed aside your fears and chose to walk unto the bravery path to follow your dreams. You’d think about that day, when you showed up on your child’s football game, instead of being stuck in a meeting. You’d think about all the good times and the bad ones too, the moments you wished to give up, but didn’t. In the end, it’s the little things you’d remember; the things that brought you peace when you were alive, and the people who made you feel at ease.

Effects of Gratitude on the Brain:

Often, life takes a U-turn, and you find yourself stuck in a turmoil of darkness, and life comes at a point when nothing seems to be going your way. Your personal and professional relationships seem to be staggering. And you wonder if forever this will stay, you wonder if you’ll ever be okay. You look at those around you, and they seem happy. You question God, why am I not happy like them? When your days get longer and nights get sadder, shift your mind to an attitude of gratitude. Life is fair because it is unfair to everyone. Learn to embrace your pain; it will give you peace. Learn to accept your mistakes; it will teach you the art of gratitude. The effects of gratitude on the brain are tremendously impactful. When an individual expresses gratitude and receives, the same, serotonin and dopamine are released by his brain. Those are the two most important neurotransmitters that are responsible for the emotions that a human feels. When those emotions are released, an individual feels ‘good.’ When an individual practices gratitude, serotonin, and dopamine are released, they enhance an individual’s mood and make him feel happy internally.

Benefits of Gratitude:

Being grateful for the little things in life can hold more power than we realize. There is a lot of scientifically proven benefits of gratitude. Some of them are as follows;

  1. Gratitude will make you happier.
  2. Gratitude helps in honing your social skills, and it makes people like you more.
  3. Gratitude is proven to keep you healthy by reducing fever symptoms to 16% and increasing the quality of sleep by 25%.
  4. Gratitude helps boost your career by making you a more effective manager and helps your networking skills increase by broadening your professional horizons.
  5. Gratitude helps in making your personality more attractive, and it makes you confident in your skin.

How to Practice Gratitude:

Gratitude is immensely powerful; it can entirely change one’s outlook on life. Being grateful for the little things in life is an art that only a few can master. Gratitude is a contrivance that is hard to implement in everyday life. However, with dedication and persistence, you can shift your mindset and be grateful for everything you’ve been blessed with. There are various ways in which you can practice gratitude. Some of those techniques are as follows;

  1. Gratitude Journal:

There is no better way to be grateful for everything you’ve been blessed with than by counting your blessings. Every night before going to bed, take out a few minutes from your time and note down your blessings unto your gratitude journal’s sheets. The length of your text does not matter. They can be three pages, or they can be only in five lines. Using the technique of writing a gratitude journal is known to have changed the perspective on many individuals’ lives.

  • Volunteering:

When you help those around you, you’re making fair use of your time. When you help heal the pain of the hurting ones, it helps heal your pain too. When sorrow is shared with those who are suffering, it remains a sorrow no more. When you volunteer for the underprivileged and underrepresented community members, you start to view life differently.

When you help the minority communities, you become more compassionate, kinder, and wiser. And what better way to practice gratitude than by practicing these qualities? So the next time you start to compare your life to someone else, you will imagine yourself in their shoes and realize, perhaps their life isn’t as perfect as it seems. Remember, the grass is always greener on the other side. Maybe, in their eyes, you’re living an ideal life. So don’t take your blessings for granted before they are snatched away from you too.

  • Live Mindfully:

Appreciate the life you’re living now because there might come a moment when nothing remains the same. Time is not everlasting, and with the seasons that change every year, you might not be here tomorrow. Life is too short to be drowned in a sea of sorrows.

If you had only two days to live, would you want to spend then being ungrateful, or would you be happy with what you have and spend the rest of your living days surrounded by those who brought joy to your heart?

Life is made beautiful only with the presence of those who make you feel loved, those who make you believe “perhaps life isn’t so bad after all.” Don’t forget to live in the moment because tomorrow is promised to no one.

  • Meditation:

Meditation has been practiced for many decades. It is encouraged by doctors for their patients to practice meditation at home as it has a lot of health and psychological benefits. It is known to reduce high levels of stress and fix the chemical imbalance in one’s brain that might cause an individual to suffer from depression.

If you are willing to fix these ungrateful habits and practice gratitude, you must practice meditation. If you have difficulty getting started with meditation, start small, baby steps are promised to take you a long way!

  • Tell Them You Love Them:

If you live beside an elderly neighbor, invite him to your house for dinner, and remind him how much his company matters. Call your parents and tell them how much you love them. Say the words “I Love you” to your beloved. Remind those around you how much they mean to you. And remind yourself as well, that love is a gift that only a few people are blessed with. Telling your family and friends how much you love them is an excellent way to practice gratitude.

Importance of Peace:

Having peace of mind is a mental state of tranquility, calm, and freedom from any kind of worry or tension. Possessing a vital peace of mind holds a lot of importance in the life of an individual. There are various advantages of peace. Some of them are as follows;

  1. It Keeps Things in Perspective:  When you have a peaceful mind, it will help keep things into perspective. You will have a more precise state of mind and a feeling of calmness in your heart. When you have peace, it will give you the motivation to look for the positive in any negative situation and learn from your past mistakes instead of dwelling on the moments that have passed away.
  • Growing Wisdom: There is a rainbow after rain; there is wisdom after pain. It is only through grief do human beings genuinely understand the nature of life. And when we know the nature of life, we start to realize that everything we go through, every pain, every obstacle, every struggle, is only meant to shape us into the person we are meant to be. When we realize that our pain was a blessing in disguise, we attain peace of mind.
  • Increased Self-Acceptance: When you possess peace in your heart, you will become more self-accepted. You accept all the parts of yourself, the good ones, and the bad ones too. The realization will dawn upon you that you don’t have to be perfect at everything that you do. You will start to accept your mistakes and learn from them.
  • Improved Relationships: When you are at ease with who you are and where you are in life, your personal and professional relationships are likely to prosper and blossom. When you feel peace in your heart, you will treat those around you with love, care, and affection, instead of demeaning them. Certain people who do not feel at ease with who they are they take out their frustrations with their employees or family members. However, if they have real peace of mind, they would not be so frustrated towards those around them.

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children’s services, and the community, we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved at www.Alvis180.org.


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Positive Thinking Day

“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” — Oprah Winfrey

Positive Thinking Day occurs every year on the 13th of September and is a day solely dedicated to positive thinking and its impact on an individual. It is a particular day to educate the masses regarding the importance of positive thinking and how they can implement positive thoughts in their everyday life, work, and relationships. It is a day when caretakers, writers, and scholars from all around the world, gather and celebrate those individuals who have overcome their negative thoughts through dedication, commitment, and hard work. This year, on the Positive Thinking Day 2020, you can shift your thinking and view your life’s circumstances through a positive perspective.

History of Positive Thinking Day The history of positive thinking day is very intriguing. An American Entrepreneur initiated positive thinking day in 2003. It is a day that encourages individuals to carry a positive attitude. As its name denotes, this day celebrates the importance of positivity. It was commemorated to educate the Americans regarding the importance of thinking positively.

If You Think It, You Can Do It:

Human beings function in a way their feelings often portray in the actions that they do. If depression has consumed your heart and all you feel are negative thoughts, you will likely portray those emotions through the actions that you’d do. However, if you shift your mind into thinking positive thoughts, it is likely to influence your everyday life positively.

When you think positive, you attract positive. That is the law of the universe. Human feelings are uncanny, we tend to overthink a situation, letting it overwhelm us, and then we tend to stress over the thoughts in our mind, thoughts that haven’t even come true.

Positive Thinking Everyday

If we’re so fast at losing hope, why can’t we use that time to be more hopeful? Why can’t we use that time to comfort ourselves? Why can’t we treat ourselves the way we treat those around us?

A negative mind-set would never be able to achieve positive results. Positive thoughts will cause positive actions, and positive actions will attain positive results. If all you think are negative thoughts, all you’d attract would be negative people and negative energies into your life. What you feel is what you do; what you think is what you attract. To have negative thoughts is easy, but have you ever thought how easy your life would be if you tried thinking more positively?

Four Activities for Positive Thinking Day There are many positive thinking day activities you can do to celebrate the 13th of September, on the positive thinking day 2020.

1. Self-Love: The journey towards self-love and self-discovery is one of the stepping stones to thinking positively. Ask yourself this question, how many times a day do you tell yourself, “I don’t deserve success,” “I don’t deserve to be loved.” How many times have you looked at your reflection and not liked what you saw? How many times have you compared your social status, career, and education to those around you? How many times have you sat in a group and felt inferior, just because they were more affluent and better looking than you?

When you stare at yourself in the mirror today, look into your eyes, and say these words “I am capable of making my dreams come true,” “I am deserving of love,” “I might be broken, but my scars make me who I am, they make me beautiful,” “I possess a strong soul,” “I’ve overcome difficulties before, I can easily overcome them again,” and most of all, say these words to yourself aloud “I am good enough.”

2. Spend Time With Yourself Spending quality time with yourself is one of the excellent ways to initiate positive thoughts. No matter how many difficulties you’ve been through in life, there is a way for you to be happy again. If you ever feel like you aren’t good enough, try meditating or reading because words and ideas hold the power to change someone’s perspective on life. The feeling of not being good enough is one of the worst feelings that could ever consume someone’s heart. You must realize that self-doubt is poisonous. Once it enters your mind, it spreads throughout like a virus, infecting every aspect of your heart and mind. And that self-doubt turns into a belief. You start believing that you’re not good enough, nor for success, neither for love.

3. Erase the Painful Memories

One of the many reasons people go through self-doubt is that they were told cruel words that still haven’t been erased from the closet of their memories at one point in their lives. As human beings, we must be careful with the words that we speak. And one of the worst feelings that a human being could feel is to dwell on his past.

We often find ourselves reminiscing the days that have passed away and feel anger at what happened to us. However, thinking about your past won’t change what happened to you. You no longer remain in the same situation, but the feelings still cause you sorrow from time to time. Try to forgive those who have hurt you, and focus on your present. The more you think about your past, the more it will make you suffer. You can’t change the moments that have passed away, but what you can do is fix your present and learn from the moments that have gone away.

4. Celebrate Yourself, Celebrate Life

One of the best ways to have a positive attitude is to celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how minor they might be. Take out a few minutes from your day and write down the things you’ve achieved in the past few years. Write them down, no matter how minor those accomplishments might be. Perhaps your article got published in the daily newspaper, or you found the courage in yourself to complete all of your house chores during the weekend. Recognize the little things, and for you to be grateful for an accomplishment, it shouldn’t be a mountainous achievement. And most of all, be easy on yourself. The way you belittle yourself is also self-harm.

Positive Thinking Techniques

You can use various techniques for shifting your mindset from negative to positive, and there are many effective ways for you to think positively. It is true, thinking positive all the time can often be impossible. It is easier said than done to think only positive. But one thing you can do is to reframe your thoughts and tell yourself, no matter how hard it might be right now, there is always something good hidden in the bad things that happen to you. Take your pain as a source of teaching yourself the art of compassion. Take your heartbreak as a lesson of teaching yourself the art of forgiveness. Nothing in life comes easy. But when you find yourself drowned in the dark turmoil of life, always remind yourself that if the good days have gone away, so will the bad ones.

Why can’t you believe in yourself? The way you believe in others?

Try changing your perspective towards something when you find yourself having an adverse reaction. To think positively is not about suppressing your emotions, nor is it about being ultimately optimistic. It is impossible to remain entirely positive when grief has consumed your heart or when you go through a loss in your life. However, what you can do is to give yourself a gentle reminder that things will get okay soon, and your heart will heal. Because time heals all

emotional scars. Remind yourself; you have a right to feel anger and anguish too. But do not let those feelings consume you. Remember to breathe, and remind yourself, it is a bad day, not a bad life.

Positive Thinking Importance

Positive thinking will let you do all those things you could not do with negative thoughts running through your mind. Positive thinking helps manage stress and is also known to improve the overall health of an individual. There are also various health benefits of positive thinking. Some of those health benefits include:

● There will be lesser chances of you being depressed.

● It decreases the extent of sorrow or grief that you might feel.

● It develops resilience in you, to go through periods of hardships.

● It gives you the strength to overcome life’s obstacles.

● You will attain a better health-related to cardiovascular problems.

● An excellent psychological and social well-being.

Books for Positive Thinking Day

Books are one of the best ways to initiate positive thoughts. That is why we have compiled a list of some of the best books for you to read on Positive Thinking Day 2020.

● Positive Thinking Every Day, by Norman Vincent Peale.

● A Daybook of Positive Thinking: Daily Affirmations of Gratitude and Happiness by Patricia Wayant.

● Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude.

● Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone.

● Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation by Gabriele Oettingen.

● The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

● Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children’s services, and the community, we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved at http://www.Alvis180.org

401K Benefit Plan at Alvis

Alvis is a great place to work. Not only the company has a wonderful mission, their 500+ employees are amazing people, plus they offer robust benefits to staff, 401K is one of the extra perks.

What’s a 401(k) plan?
A 401(k) plan is a tax-deferred retirement plan designed to help you invest regularly for your retirement. Your contributions are taken directly from your salary before it’s taxed and can be invested among a selection of investment options.


Why should you consider a 401(k) plan?
It’s a great way to save for retirement:
It’s easy! – You contribute through convenient automatic payroll deductions.
Tax-deferred growth – You don’t pay taxes on your contributions and earnings until you withdraw them, which leaves more money in the plan to provide greater growth potential.
Consistent savings – Saving a set amount every payday can help you build the savings you need.
“Free” money – Your employer may match all or a portion of your contributions.

Interested in joining our team? Check out our current job openings here: https://alvis180.org/about/employment/

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children’s services, and the community, we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved.

International Charity Day

“He who has never denied himself for the sake of giving has but glanced at the joys of charity.” -Anne Swetchine

Charity is an act of giving to those who are less privileged than we are. It is heartbreaking to see children sleeping on the roads, and parents cannot feed their children, despite how hard they work.

As responsible citizens, we must look after those who cannot look after themselves and feed those who go to bed with an empty stomach. Of course, we cannot provide for every human being who is suffering. But what we can do is to start with a single person. Because even if you help one person, it has a massive impact on your life and the life of the person you helped. One person can make a difference.

If you can’t make a financial donation on September 5, there are still many ways to get involved. Overall, this day reminds us that simple acts of charity can alleviate the worst effects of humanitarian crises and create more inclusive and resilient societies. Here some ways to get involved:

Run a Cupcake Contest:

Are you craving something sweet to eat? Gather all the passionate members of your community and engage with them in a cupcake contest where a panel of individuals would judge your cooking abilities. People will buy tickets, and that money will go to your preferred charity organization.

Host a Local Concert:

Individuals of every age group enjoy concerts, which is one of the main reasons why conducting a local show can be an excellent idea for raising funds and collecting donations. Pick a good day for a concert by a local band, and invite your community members to enjoy the show. Taking

out some time from their busy schedule, people can have a great time with their loved ones and family members.

Create some Seasonal Events:

Seasonal events can be a great excuse to raise charity for a noble cause. Some of the ideas of seasonal events are Haunted House of Halloween, summer fair with music and magic shows, Christmas Party, and various other events that are specifically winter themed.

All over the country, various charity organizations are working for the underprivileged community members by fulfilling their every need. Some of the great charity organizations in the state, include: Goodwill, United Way, The Harmony Project and Furniture Bank of Central Ohio. Learn a bit more about their wonderful work here:

1. Goodwill of Central Ohio

Goodwill of Central Ohio’s mission is to transform the lives of disabled individuals. All of this is done through the power of work and the effort of every volunteer. At the Goodwill of Central Ohio, the programs are driven by a specific mission, and that is to impact the lives of its people. There are programs of specialized rehabilitation along with commercial operations for career development.

2. United Way of Central Ohio

“Together; we fight poverty.” The fundings from the United Way of Central Ohio’s community supports a network of more than 70 local nonprofit partners that provides for the poverty-fighting services. Together, they create miraculous opportunities for people in the critical areas of Basic Needs, Good Jobs, Strong Neighborhoods, and Student Success.

3. The Harmony Project

The Harmony Project’s vision is “Many People. One Community.” By working together with each other, they are building a more robust and inclusive community with a focus on developing the social infrastructure to create a more peaceful society. Harmony Project connects people across social divides through the arts, education, and volunteer community service. This organization invites people to sing, even if someone does not have a good voice. And what better way to connect people than through their love for music and art? Some of our Alvis clients and staff sing with them. Watch them

4. Furniture Bank of Central Ohio

They provide furniture to those who cannot afford it for themselves. While working with nonprofits and agencies, Furniture Bank of Central Ohio helps people affected with mental illness, homelessness, and a lack of sufficient employment. It requires a lot of support to turn empty houses into homes, and the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio provides that support to the needy families.

Act of Kindness

An act of generosity might seem insignificant to you, but to the person you are doing it for, it might positively impact them. Kindness can be smiling at a stranger on the bus or helping a blind man cross the street. An act of kindness holds power to change someone’s perspective of life because it touches the soul. Kindness is felt by the heart of the giver and the taker. And every act of kindness that is done by you is an act of charity.

Importance of Charity

Charities help in uniting people, and it helps in diminishing the bridge of social status that has been created between people due to societal norms. There are many health benefits and spiritual benefits in giving charity to those in dire need of it.

Encouraging Others to do Good

When you give charity, you encourage your friends and family members to do the same. Your children will grow up seeing you giving and most likely adopt those characteristic traits of yours.

It Makes you Grateful

Human beings tend to take their blessings for granted. When you donate and give charity, you start to notice how blessed you are for having the little things that others yearn for, such as a warm meal, a decent job, a roof over their head, and a loving family.

Making a Difference

Do you wish to make a difference in someone’s life, no matter how small it might be? Help our population turning their lives around #180degreeimpact. Donate and/or volunteer with us. We need you! Email: volunteer@alvis180.org

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children’s services, and the community, we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved.

National Recovery Month

“Getting sober just exploded my life. Now I have a much clearer sense of myself and what I can and can’t do. I am more successful than I have ever been.”

– Jamie Lee Curtis

National Recovery Month is celebrated every year in September to educate the masses regarding substance abuse treatment and mental health services. There are people in this world who suffer from the burden of their thoughts, and they find their solace in drugs or illegal activities, National Recovery Month 2020 is solely dedicated to those people.

Celebrate Recovery

Recovery is all about how much progress one makes; it is never about perfection. The National Recovery Month celebrates the progress of those who tried their best in healing from their traumas. We celebrate recover from addictions and mental health issues. The month of September reinforces the message of positivism for those who believe they can never recover from the scars of their past. Still, they are unaware that they can become sober and pave their way towards a brighter future.

Addiction Treatment

One of the main reasons people hate being sober is that they are continually trying to fill a void in their hearts. They believe the only way to live life is through finding solace in things that make them forget about reality. But the more they run away from reality, the more it will haunt them. Suffering from the addictions of alcohol and drugs damages you internally, it affects your family members and the community at large. If a child sees an adult mistreating themselves, they might grow up and do the same thing. The cycle goes on.

Amethyst Recovery Program

Amethyst is a holistic recovery program for women who struggle with mental health issues, addictions, trauma, and various mental health issues. Thousands of lives have been transformed through our Amethyst Recovery Program.

Amethyst offers treatment for individuals who suffer from drug addiction, alcohol and drug abuse, trauma, sexual violence, and/or domestic abuse. It is uncommon for recovery programs to allow for children to stay with their mothers while the parent undergoes treatment. But Amethyst allows for the mother and her child(ren) to live together during recovery treatment. It’s one of the only few available in the nation.

National Recovery Month 2020 Activities: Portraits of Recovery

Each September, programs of treatment and recovery celebrate National Recovery Month all over the country. Portraits of Recovery 2020 is among one of those celebrations occurring on the 29th of September this year. Whether you are a survivor or supporter, please join us for our drive-in event at Easton Town Center. Your ticket purchase will help funding a wide range of treatment and services for our Amethyst Recovery Program. Reserve your seat here!

National Recovery Month Color

National Recovery Month is specifically for those individuals who are struggling to live life normally. It is to remind those who suffer in silence, that they are not alone. We are all in this together. And to portray our togetherness, the National Recovery Month color is purple. The color purple denotes togetherness, and it represents that no matter how diverse we might be, we are all connected with one contrivance: our Journey towards recovery and self-discovery.

National Recovery Month for All

National Recovery Month 2020 is for you to speak up. Your story might inspire someone else to seek mental health treatment, to fight and to live. Help our mission! Ignite a light of hope in others.

September is a month for all those who were lost, but eventually found their way towards a better life. It is a month for people who broke toxic cycles of generations and stopped the suffering from passing on to their offspring.

National Recovery Month is a tribute, a celebration, a period of knowledge, for those members of our country, who can be so underrepresented and misunderstood. We celebrate them all, the ones who turned their lives around, all with the help of our community members and hope.

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children services, and the community, we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved at www.Alvis180.org.

“Can A Junkie Really Recover?” by J.

Struggling with the devastation that drug and alcoholism brings upon yourself and your family is surreal.  I don’t know an addict out there that can say that this has ever been short lived.  I lived in the grips of  such deafening snares for nearly two-decades.  Never could I have imagined a life succumbed to such savagery and emptiness.  Filled only with drive for the next fix to get me through the anguish of the reality of a life that was my     own. A life that no one would ever bargain for.

My eyes shot open, blinking in utter confusion as sharp, pain twisted my insides like a towel being wrung out ! I squinted as the sunlight blazed through the canopy of the tent I found myself laying in. I was soaking wet – both with sweat and early morning dew. Propping myself up onto one elbow took twice the exertion as my body ached from pains of withdrawal! 

“How the **** could I be so ****** stupid to let myself fall asleep here!” I screamed within myself. More of a statement than a question. Looking around the tent – I realized I was all alone – my friend ran off! Go figure.  As my stomach continued to rumble I forced myself upright as sweat poured down my back. The tent was acting as a greenhouse in the morning sun.  Fumbling with the zipper – it seemed to echo through the woods causing the birds and wildlife to react in panic.  

I couldn’t escape the tent fast enough – taking in huge breaths of cool air as if I had been drowning! I attempted to take several wobbly steps but my legs didn’t seem to want to cooperate. They ached so badly I stopped to pound on them with the sides of my fists.  I paused for a brief moment to check my back pocket for toilet paper and to attempt to remember which direction my friend said to head to use it in the woods. After all we weren’t complete animals – were we?

After trudging back up hill I was so exhausted and sweating profusely in the hot sun that it was all I could muster to grab water out of the cooler and pull the tent flaps open on the windows and door and collapse back on my body soaked blanket.

I felt I layed there for hours – too sick to force the idea of the long haul back to the main road.  That’s when I heard it – the thud of boots.  Fear struck me!  Flashes of a recent rape played in my mind as I lay there in silence – my heart pumping fiercely in my ears!

 “Are you still alive in there?” a familiar voice rang. I gasped a breath of air and tears filled my eyes!  “DON’T EVER DO THAT TO ME AGAIN!” I shouted, “You have to announce yourself yo!” He smirked, “Calm down – this will make you feel better.”

I am sure that many of you have heard of or even experienced, “Rock Bottom.”  For me, I didn’t just hit bottom – I lived there for years. In fact, I stayed there for so long I grew accustomed to the lifestyle and the daily struggles that came with it.  I was denoted to the lowest level of animalistic living. Always on the prowl – on the hunt – searching for my next score – a way or means to get more!  The sun would set and rise many times before my eyes would find rest again. But my mind … my mind only seemed to rest when I took too much.  I remained vigilant and on guard at all times out of fear! History had proven to me that this was vital to my survival by age 15. 

If you are like me – our stories may differ – but our ends are always the same – jails, institutions and death!

I had been in and out of jail since I was a juvenile delinquent. Institutions as well – you name the place and I have probably been there. Typically ordered there by way of the law or a parent when I was still an unruly child. But, it was never because I believed that I could ever truly recover.  In the beginning – I didn’t think I needed to. “Recover from what!?” I thought to myself, “I’m not an alcoholic!” But as time progressed – so did my drinking. And then pretty quickly I found newer, better ways and means to get the feeling I was chasing.  Which was anything but feeling what was truly going on within myself and facing myself and my own reality and shame. It took decades to try and re-try every possible scenario that would prove that I was more powerful or had some sort of control over my use.  Every single attempt eventually led to failure because the substance wins all out every single time. Always has and ALWAYS WILL!  It is only in the mind of a true addict and alcoholic that one will find themselves attempting to manipulate their  own thought processes into considering that there may be just one more way they may have not tried when so many years of attempt have led to the exact same, horrific results! This is what I have come to know as “insanity.” 

 July 24th, 2017, began like any other day.  As I slowly regained consciousness I realized where I was. The all-too-familiar bathroom of a friend I had known since I was a teenager. My legs were swollen and I could barely walk as I had been sleeping standing up. “Bang- Bang-Bang!” I jumped! The intense knocking on the bathroom door must have been what had woke me.  I stepped towards the door to open it and fell flat on my face into a pile of laundry. The smell was sour.  “Open the F******* door!” my friend screamed! “C- C- Coming-” I managed as I scrambled to reach up for the door knob and twist the lock.

She swung the bathroom door open smacking me in the arm! “What the ****?” she shouted – rushing to the toilet.  I struggled to pull myself to my feet as pain radiates through my swollen legs and feet.  “Where are your clothes?” 

I focused all my strength on pulling myself up right and into the bar stool that sits next to the counter. “WHERE ARE YOUR CLOTHES?!” She shouted! “Huh?” I responded looking down at my bare chest and then into the mirror before me.

I was stark naked! “I have no idea,” I paused, looking into her eyes, “can you please help me find them?” 

Vibration and ringing tore through my sleep and I found myself once again alone – naked in the bathroom.  Time had eluded me as I gazed down at the phone in my hand.  The screen read : “ SUBOXONE APPT 2 HRS” Although I was still shredded from the night before – I convinced myself that I needed to get ready and do the rest of what I had in front of me since I would be getting more after my appointment. I am not sure how I made it there. I vaguely remember taking a bus.. I think. What I do remember is falling out of the chair in the waiting room several times. I can also remember that I was still able to somehow walk out of that clinic with a script that day and once again – I have no recollection of how I made it back to my stomping grounds.  What I can tell you is that I know I scored at least a handful of xanax bars, which I am assuming another “friend” of mine and I did. And the last thing that I remember is sitting in her car behind my children’s father’s house – mainlining  almost a half gram of the best the west side had to offer.  The release was instant.

I am unsure how long I remained in that state before the police arrived. I don’t even recognize that poor soul in that photograph today.  I am very blessed that I am here to write this now – 3 years later.  Many of those friends did not make it.  “God sat me down, July 25th, 2017,” I have told those who ask.  I had absolutely no intention of getting sober that day. I had tried a thousand times to do it on my own to no avail! God truly saved me that day – from myself.  I was locked up for months without bond, as I had already been released on bail prior. I was forced to sit down – and feel – for the first time in at least a decade!  My higher power had a plan for me when all I could think about was getting out and using.  The further I got away from my last use – the more the fog lifted – and the reality of the life I had been living and things I had done set in. I was riddled with shame!

The jail clothes they provided still hung from my skeleton of a body. My hips and collar bones protruding and eyes set deep within the dark sockets of my face. I was on week two of my detox and my stomach was still sour and muscles still ached.  The sweats lasted the longest – these continued on and off for months. During that time I was sentenced to CBCF where I successfully completed. It was there that a psychic change began to take place. I knew that if I got out and went around the same people that were doing the same things I was going to get the same results.  I was going to meet my end.

Deep within me I was clinging to a shard of hope that the same Higher Power that delivered me from that Toxic lifestyle would continue to keep me safe upon my release.

I hit my knees for the first time since I was a child and prayed the most heartfelt, pleading prayer I have ever prayed – I begged God’s forgiveness and pleaded with him to have mercy and to save me from myself!

Two months later I was moving into one of the best treatment centers in America – AMETHYST!  I had heard so many amazing things about this place and had even attempted to come on numerous occasions, but always on someone else’s terms.

This time was different – this time I wanted this to save myself! 

“Can you tell me why I should spend several more hours with you doing another assessment? After all, this wouldn’t be the first..” the woman said dropping a stack of about 7 assessment folders onto her desk!

“Because!” I nearly shouted as I began to tear up, “I was just released – I have 7 ½ months sober and I have absolutely no idea how to stay this way on my own and without help I am going to die out here!” The woman’s entire demeanor changed as she calmly sat herself into her chair and rolled herself to her desk. That day I got totally -brutally honest with her – with myself and about my program! 

I shook my head at the memory of that day just two months ago – giving me all the more reason to find gratitude in this moment. I smiled as the case manager pressed my house keys into my hand. “Welcome home,” she said. I began to cry – I hadn’t had a home – nor anyone wanted or welcomed me in years! The flood gates opened that day and I will not lie and tell you it’s been easy, but  IT IS WORTH IT!

I want to thank Amethyst from the bottom of my heart for loving me until I could love myself. For teaching me that I have a voice and I have the ability to use it. That it is okay to stand up for myself. Thank you for helping me recognize unhealthy character flaws and coping skills within myself so that I can replace them with healthier ones. Thank you for allowing me and my children and family the time and space to begin our healing process in our own apartment.  Thank you for offering supportive steps and assistance in job seeking and financial planning services through the e3 program and the Alvis Reentry Program. It is because of these programs that I am now a working member of society. I have  learned the necessary skills to pay my bills – on time, lower my debt, and am on my way to financial security.  You have helped me recognize that I can set healthy boundaries with people, places and things. You have taught me how to communicate. And the best part – you taught me that feelings are only temporary. “Do not make a permanent decision on a temporary feeling.”  You taught me how to listen.

To those still struggling with alcohol and drug addiction…I am listening. I am you.

Celebrating Amethyst graduates

Despite obstacles from COVID-19, Alvis, with the help of others, was able to pull together and celebrate a graduating class of twenty, strong Amethyst women this past July 16. The largest graduating class to date!

Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, we had to celebrate things a little differently this time with a virtual ceremony. But everyone pulled together to make it happen! The graduation of our Amethyst women was pre-recorded the week prior at Reeb Avenue Center with limited seating due to social distancing, each graduate was in attendance with a special person of their choice and several counselors, and special guest speakers spoke on the live showing of the graduation on July 16 over Webex. Thank you, Reeb Avenue Center, for hosting us and providing all equipment! Also thank you to the UA boys soccer volunteers who did set up and blew up the balloons for the occasion!

Big thank-yous also go out to our sponsor Zonta Club of Columbus, a service and advocacy organization whose mission is to empower women, as well as all other Amethyst supporters. Thank you for always believing in our Amethyst ladies!

To kick off our digital ceremony Linda Janes, Alvis’ Chief Program Officer, expressed thanks and recognition to all Alvis individuals and groups who have and continue to support Amethyst, as well as Zonta Club of Columbus for continuing to support and empower women and for contributing to another Amethyst graduation, all Amethyst alumni in attendance, Amethyst staff, ladies currently in the Amethyst program, and our new graduates. “I hope each graduate is very, very proud of everything they have accomplished to get to this point,” Janes continued, “I know there are a lot of people online with us today to celebrate the healing power of recovery and reunited and strengthened families and hope for a brighter future. Because there are so many people tuned in for this special occasion, it may occasionally get messy. Let’s just remember that technology, like life, certainly isn’t perfect. But we can use the tools of the Amethyst program to choose how to respond when things don’t go the way we expect. Today we can choose not to allow any imperfections to spoil our joy of being together to celebrate virtually.”

Next, we had the pleasure of hearing from our own Alvis President and CEO, Denise M. Robinson. “It has taken great strength and resiliency to get to this point. In addition, you have faced new challenges over the last six months as COVID-19 has had a far-ranging impact on all of our lives. As a community, we have also seen the devastating impact isolation and fear has on people suffering from addiction. We mourn those still lost in addiction and those we’ve permanently lost to an overdose during these scary times. But our graduates are not lost. They are here and they are strong, and they are leading in the way for the ladies who are right behind them coming through the Amethyst program in the footprints of the graduates…I also want to take a moment to acknowledge our graduates who are also mothers and especially those who have had their children with them during the Amethyst program. I know how hard you’ve worked, on yourselves and with your children. And then your children have done their own work too. The gift of giving a healthy, loving family is one of the greatest gifts of all. Be blessed, I appreciate each and every one of you. Graduates, know that we will always be with you, at least in spirit, joyously cheering you on as you continue on your life long journey to reach your highest potential. Congratulations once again.”

Following Denise M. Robinson’s live speech was the start of the pre-recorded graduation video from the week prior in which 15 of the graduates were able to attend. First to speak was Tori Buck, a primary care counselor at Amethyst, “Amethyst has a reputation for being a tough program, but these 15 ladies, and all 20 of our graduates, are even tougher. They are not only able to say that they are Amethyst graduates, but they are lifelong learners and beacons of recovery.” Beaming and full of pride, she concludes with something tremendous, “I want to share with you a number that always brings chills all over. In this room, with these 15 ladies, we have 2 days, 9 months, and 36 years of sobriety.” As the graduation continued and counselors introduced graduates, it was hard to miss the pride and excitement they had for these women that had grown to be family.

Portraits of Recovery

Since entering Amethyst, Brina has reunited with her son, returned to work full time, completed her E3 program, and will begin school at Columbus State this fall. “I am beyond grateful for Amethyst, all my peers and staff support along the way. I think most importantly what Amethyst has given me, it has helped me see me for who I am and what I was and loved me regardless. All of these accomplishments are great, but to be able to love myself today is irreplaceable. I want to say thank you to each and every staff member because every single one has helped me and guided me in some way.”

Deliqua, another graduate, poured out her heart in an emotional speech about her love for her two young boys that she was able to be reunited with because of Amethyst. And like many other graduates, expressed her gratitude for Amethyst staff, friendships, and newfound self-love. “I am so grateful for Amethyst and that I came when I did…So the things that I have gained from being at Amethyst that I didn’t have before is gratitude, gratefulness, intuition, honesty— true honesty. I was allowed the time and space to be a victim but also come out on the other side and be the survivor that I am today. I have self-trust today, self-worth, and also what I am leaving with is knowing that I will be okay…I’m really grateful to those who stuck through this transition and put years into this program. I just feel blessed for the team I have. It wasn’t until I got here that I made true friendships—I really love you guys—and I am able to be myself and be loved completely for who I am.”

Cheyenne came into Amethyst as a struggling teen and started her journey while pregnant with her daughter Lily. But as she now prepares to leave the program, she can leave not only as a graduate, but as a strong, independent woman and mother. “My recovery journey started when I was pregnant, and I was young—I’m still young. I grew up without my parents and so I want my daughter to have a loving mom. Today I can be that mom. I have my own apartment now and I’m working; I am that mom…thanks to this program for saving my life.”

Krysten had a lot to say about how Amethyst and its staff changed her life. “If you would have asked me three and a half years ago when I got here if I could see me here today or see the woman that I am today, I would have not believed you. I had no idea what I was doing. Things this program have given me are so many. I want to thank many people along my path staff wise. Because when I had the shoes to do it for myself, they’re the ones that guided me and held me through this path and encouraged me and didn’t give up on me when I needed it…I had such an incredible loss but it’s because of that loss that I knew I was strong. It turned me around and saved me from myself. Now I have an amazing fighter and she is the best thing I have, and I never knew I could love something this much. I get to enjoy life today and I get to live life to the fullest. I get to love myself, because before I did not like myself or love myself. I didn’t even know who I was.” Because of the Amethyst program, Krysten was able to regain custody of her fifteen-year-old daughter, has stable housing, and now has a new car that is also insured.

Like other graduates, Jeanna became emotional when reflecting on her recovery journey and all the things she has been able to accomplish since she has been with Amethyst. “When I came to Amethyst I was lost, broken, and angry. Amethyst was rough, but it saved my life. I am two years clean now. I have a new relationship; I just got married. I have my own house. I have a full-time job. I have a new car. And I have a beautiful relationship with my daughter. And that’s all thanks to Amethyst. Like I said I came in lost and Miss Caroline just helped me find my way and I know that I’ll make it because I came through this program.”

Many women like Doretha shared stories of hope and a new spark that was ignited within themselves with help from the program. “I’m so grateful that words couldn’t express how I feel or even the results of what everyone has done for me in this organization; every staff member, every peer, has contributed to my growth. This place gave me an understanding of myself, it gave me determination, goals and dreams and accomplishments that I want to achieve and a fire in me that will not go out. I am very determined to accomplish goals. I have a lot of dreams and goals that I have set and I have accomplished a lot of them already and I still have a lot of things that I still want to accomplish but I have hope today. And I’m so grateful for people encouraging me along my way when I felt hopeless cause that’s how I felt when I came here. I felt hopeless. But now I don’t feel hopeless anymore. I have belief and I have faith today. I was basically trapped emotionally, that’s what my emotions did to me, they kept me in jail—they kept me in prison, but now I’m free. And this journey has been scary, it’s been fun, it’s been good, it’s been a hot mess, it’s been so many different things and I have so many wonderful, wonderful memories of the journey that I’ve had with you ladies and I really appreciate each and every one of you. I’m just really, really grateful and I’m just grateful that I can be humble today and be present and accomplish something because I was not that kind of person. I didn’t accomplish anything; I quit everything I did. I’m really grateful to be here.”

After all the personal stories and battles told of times of hopelessness, addiction, trauma, and more, by the end of the ceremony, one thing was clear. All graduates were filled with newly discovered hope, self-love, empowerment, and confidence in themselves and their futures. It marked the beginning of the next part of their journeys and truly showed the healing power of recovery.

Closing Words

To wrap up our program, Vince Sabino, managing director of Behavioral Health area at Alvis, gave a few closing words about Amethyst and the power of recovery. “The Amethyst program is unique in its recognition of the complex needs of women in recovery and the needs of their children. It is an amazing program that I am so honored to be apart of. As you can see in the video, the women of Amethyst are surrounded by a community of love, support, compassion, joy, pride, and more. The Amethyst program is so much more than just a two-year program, it is a community of recovery that supports and wraps its arms around the women and their children. It can be hard to watch today’s news, as it is filled with sickness, conflict, tragedy, battles, and so on. Sometimes it can feel like there is no good news in our world today, but over the last hour, we have heard that recovery works and that it lasts and that it’s changing the future of our women and their children in the Amethyst program.”

Congratulations Amethyst graduates on your huge accomplishment!

Consider Recovery 

If you or someone you know is considering recovery, the Amethyst program is now recruiting women with and without children seeking treatment for addiction, mental health, and trauma. Supportive housing, family counseling, job readiness training, job placement and more included. Amethyst takes walk-ins and women seeking help can go directly to the main treatment facility located at 455 E. Mound Street, Columbus, OH or call 614.242.1284.

Support Amethyst

Consider supporting Alvis and our Amethyst women! Join us on Tuesday, September 29th from 6pm-7pm at Easton Town Center for our annual Amethyst Portraits of Recovery celebration. This is an annual celebration that brings together 350 donors, supporters, community and business leaders to help empower women and their families to achieve lifelong recovery and financial independence. Women whose lives have been turned around through the Amethyst program will share their inspiring stories of healing, hope, and recovery. Molly and Adam Mandel will also be recognized at this time as this year’s Purple Heart Award winners to honor the remarkable impact their contributions have had on the women and families of Amethyst. Parking opens at 5 pm for our drive-in event celebration that will include social distancing precautions. Be a part of these women’s remarkable recovery journeys by buying a ticket or by making a donation today at alvis.kindful.com/e/por2020. For further questions, contact development@alvis180.org.

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children services, and the community, we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved at www.Alvis180.org.

July 30: World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

Modern Slavery

Slavery dates back hundreds of years and has existed in different countries and different circumstances around the world since the first civilizations. When we think of slavery today, we tend to remember and study the past, but, although it may seem surprising, slavery is still very much alive today, and in plain sight. In fact, it is currently a 150-billion-dollar industry with roughly 46 million people worldwide being trafficked to date (2019), (Freedom K9 Project). In 2018 in the US alone, the National Human Trafficking Hotline reported having 10,949 cases of human trafficking that involved 23,078 individual survivors, 5,859 potential traffickers, and 1,905 trafficking businesses. Even more, they reported that 898 victims and 443 cases were in the state of Ohio, a substantial amount from around the Columbus area. Ohio as a whole is one of the states with the most cases. And because human trafficking is notoriously underreported, these numbers are likely only the tip of the iceberg, (polarisproject.org).

What is trafficking in persons?

Trafficking in persons is the illegal and dehumanizing act of recruiting, selling, trading, transporting, and harboring people by means of force, threat, coercion, abduction, deception, abuse of power, fraud, etc. for the purpose of exploitation. This includes, but is not limited to, the prostitution of others and other forced commercial sex acts, forced labor, slavery, servitude, forced begging, forced marriage, trafficking individuals as soldiers, for the removal of organs, and includes men, women and even children (un.org).

Anyone can become a victim, but it is important to note that some people are more at risk than others. United Nations sites that women make up 49% and girls 23% of all trafficked victims. Polaris Project lists factors such as migration, substance abuse, mental health disorders, involvement with the child welfare system, and being a runaway or homeless youth among high risk factors. As for who is trafficking and how, traffickers can typically be people of power and privilege such as company owners, powerful corporate executives, celebrities, or government representatives. However, it is also very common for a victim to be trafficked by someone they know and are close to like parents or other family members, friends, and intimate partners. These people are manipulative and deceiving. They’ll say what they think a victim wants to hear or play on their weaknesses, such as isolation from friends and family, often employing tactics such as physical abuse, mental abuse, and economic abuse to get what they want.

2020 Mission

This year the theme for World Day Against Trafficking in Persons is first responders. These are the people working firsthand to support, protect, and seek justice for victims of trafficking such as law enforcement officers, social workers, counselors, and healthcare professionals. Because of COVID-19, the role of first responders has become even more important and even dangerous. It’s time we recognize these heroes!

Thank you, Alvis first responders, for all that you do for victims of trafficking!!

Learn What Alvis Has to Offer

CHAT

Alvis is very thankful to be able to offer a women’s program just for human trafficking survivors called CHAT. This is a unique residential reentry program that aims to provide adequate resources to human trafficking survivors so that they may overcome their traumatic experiences and re-enter into society.

Part of what CHAT provides includes: safe and sober housing, holistic treatment services including clinical treatment for substance abuse and/or mental health issues and trauma, comprehensive support services including case management, life skills instruction and vocational services, and the tools to help clients build relationships with family, partners, and children. At the CHAT House, communication is key. Staff are sure to remain transparent and on-call for clients in need and emergency situations are tackled as a team.

Additionally, it is required that these women are graduates or participants of the CATCH Court, which was established by Judge Paul Herbert. Read more about CATCH Court here. Participants in the CHAT program must also have no recent violence within the past 12 months and a willingness to participate in the 18-month program.

Amethyst + Recovery Choices

Like previously mentioned, two high risk factors for individuals vulnerable of being trafficked are unstable mental health and substance abuse disorder. To combat these, Alvis also offers two behavioral health programs called Amethyst and Recovery Choices. In the Amethyst program, women with and without children can receive treatment for addiction, mental health, and trauma while also receiving supportive housing, job readiness training and placement. What makes the Amethyst program special in particular is that it allows women to live with their children and works to reunite and strengthen families. Amethyst takes walk-ins and women seeking help can go directly to the main treatment facility located at 455 E. Mound Street. Similarly, in the Recovery Choices program, individuals with justice involvement can receive behavioral healthcare and addiction services. Clients can also receive transportation from halfway houses to Alvis reentry centers, where they can take job training courses, receive counseling and individualized treatment plans, and have the opportunity to attain their GED, take university classes, and participate in activities with their family.

Additional Reading and Resources:

6 Things to Do When Someone You Know is Trafficked

U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline and 2018 Statistics

The Blue Heart Campaign

Background on World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

What Does Human Trafficking Look Like?

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children services, and the community, we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved at www.Alvis180.org.

National Intern Day

National Intern Day is celebrated on the last Thursday of July. The holiday was created in 2017 by WayUp, a site that helps college students and recent graduates find internships and land jobs. In their own words, today is a day, “dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the future leaders of the world: interns.” That is why today we would like to take some time to focus on our own interns.

Why are interns and internships so important?

Internships are useful for a number of reasons. As an intern, they can help you learn more about yourself and your interests, help you develop soft skills like being on time for a job, how to think creatively, or working with a team, help you develop some technical skills specific to the job and type of work, build your resume, help you network, possibly earn college credit, and most importantly, they can help you land a job! Whether it is at the same company your interning for or another company, internships give you the experience and skills you need to be a full-time employee. In fact, according to a 2017 survey, 67% of college students who completed an internship received a job offer for a full-time position upon graduating, (careervision.org). Take it from new hire James Hagerman. James, a previous intern who was a part of the creative and marketing team, is now our Community Relations Specialist, overseeing all intern and volunteer programs.

Q & A with James

Q: Where did you graduate from college or where are you attending if you are still?

A: Wittenberg University

Q: What are/were your major(s)/minor(s)?

A: English and communications with a minor in creative writing.

Q: What did you do as an intern at Alvis?

A: I was a blog writer for the marketing team. I also collaborated with the other roles on bigger projects like branding videos and certain media posts.

Q: Why Alvis? Why did you want to come back as a full-time employee?

A: I love the people here (they’re like a family) and I also enjoyed the size of Alvis. It’s small enough to feel like a community and see the impact you’re making, but large enough to really make a huge difference with your role. I also really enjoyed all of my previous interactions with people here and admire Alvis’ mission.

Q: What role do internships play/ why are they important?

A: They can give you hands-on experience so you can determine if a career path is right for you. Also, the skills you learn are so transferable and applicable to later job interviews and career opportunities down the line.

Q: Why are interns valuable?

A: An internship is a give-and-take relationship between an organization and the intern. Interns learn so many new things that they simply can’t learn in the classroom, and organizations are able to learn from the intern in the forms of new ideas and fresh ways of thinking. Interns are usually super capable and will contribute their talents to an organization if they are placed in the right position—the “right position” being where they can grow and cultivate their own passions.

Q: Is there any advice you might give to students debating on taking on an internship?

A: Take it for sure—it’s a valuable experience, regardless of whether or not you end up in that specific career field. Internships allow you to get a holistic education that applies things you’ve previously learned or desired to learn about to a real-world, professional setting.

Thank you, James, and congratulations on your new position!

What some of our interns had to say on the importance of internships:

“Internships are important because they provide real-life experience that is essential to learn and grow as a young professional and to help us better gauge the career path that we wish to pursue.” —Adam Haag, Ohio State University, majoring in psychology and minoring in neuroscience and legal foundations of society

“Internships are ways for students to get hands-on experience in their major that the classroom can’t fully provide. Internships are important because they provide real-life experience that can help you further your knowledge/experience and help you better understand if that major is for you.” —Kathryn Brown, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, majoring in marketing with a collateral in resource management.

“Internships play a role in helping people and giving experience for a position in the work field. They are important because they give students an opportunity to gain exposure and a possible foot in the door when it comes time to apply for that job or any job in that field.” —Kiara Johnson, Wright State University, majoring in mass communications/mass media

“I think the role that internships play is providing that experience of working in a potential workplace after college and what that entails. The chance of having an internship in the field that you are studying is valuable to gather notes if you want to work in the field, network with other people, and get your skill levels up.” —Joan Merise, Ohio State University, majoring in film studies and minoring in musical theatre

But internships are also beneficial to employers. Having interns around increases productivity, allows for new ideas and different perspectives that otherwise might not be realized, provides insight into new strategies, techniques, trends, and technology that could be relevant to the field, gives back to the community by enhancing the local workforce as a whole, and the big one, helps find and test future employees, (Chegg). Once you see what it’s like to work with an individual and the potential they possess, it is easy to know if you want to keep them around. It’s a win-win!

What Alvis employees think of the importance of internships and having interns:

“I have always loved working with interns. They bring so much to the table! They provide different perspectives, up-to-the-minute information on trends, extra sets of eyes, extra hearts, and different, unique talents. Additionally, I believe it is our responsibility as professionals to provide students with opportunities to get valuable experience in the “real world” so they are better equipped to build successful careers paths for themselves.” —Priscila Teixeira, Marketing and Creative Director

Now let’s shine the spotlight on what some of our interns are doing at Alvis and skills they feel they have gained so far:

“I ran the Big Give Campaign on social media (in June), create other posts on social media, am helping to create/design the new Alvis website, and look over how everything is done. (Skills learned so far:) how to use Canva, Buffer, work with a team, and being able to create a plan for social media.” —Rachael Broyles, Wittenberg University, majoring in management and minoring in marketing

“I have been owning most of the graphic design projects for the (new) website. Whether it’s been designing a logo or a graphic for a webpage, I have been creating and designing content. My creativity has grown as an Alvis intern. I have been able to work with the Alvis brand colors to make logos and icons and learn how to incorporate them into the website in a cohesive way.” —Anna Munsell, Columbus State Community College, majoring in interactive media.

“So far as an Alvis intern, I have mostly edited various videos, podcasts, and done a little bit of graphic design for invitations and logos. As an intern, I have gained more editing skills in trying to elevate the film aspect of the editing process. I have also learned a little bit of administration in the sense of organization with projects and have learned interviewing skills which I will be applying to my own projects.” —Joan Merise

“I am working in Alvis’s Developmental Disabilities branch. My daily routine consists of meetings with clients and their behavioral support teams and interacting in-person with the clients as much as possible. When I am not in a meeting or visiting one of Alvis’s houses, my time and efforts are focused on reading about the clients, learning more about them, and working to find similarities or trends in their behavioral support plans. As an Alvis intern I have been offered a lot of freedom to work on activities that I am interested in. As a result, without a strict schedule to adhere to, I have had to learn to hold myself accountable in order to maintain productivity. Additionally, this internship has reinforced the importance of perspective. Learning about the clients and interacting with them in person has helped me to remember to be kind and patient with everyone despite their history and regardless of my first impression of them.” —Adam Haag

“As an Alvis intern I have been writing blog pieces for the last few months, including this one! My tasks include interviewing, researching, writing, editing, and asking lots and lots of questions. I have learned a lot about social media, blog trends, what it’s like to run a blog, and what it’s like to be part of a nonprofit organization with so many caring and passionate individuals! It has been a truly humbling experience.” —Emma Whalen, Kent State University at Stark, majoring in English and minoring in creative writing.

Finally, we asked our interns why Alvis? What made them want to apply, why would they want to come back again if given the chance, and their overall thoughts on their experience:

“I would love to work with Alvis again in the future. Alvis provided me a safe, fun, and hardworking workplace where I was able to build and utilize my business skills. My overall thoughts on working for Alvis is that Alvis is a very driven nonprofit that does everything they can to turn lives around. Their mission, their staff, their attitude, and their success all perfected my experience.” —Kathryn Brown

(Would you want to work with Alvis again in the future?) “Yes! Alvis is a great organization that is helping people live their best lives. This is a professional passionate team of people working to make a difference in the lives of many around Columbus, Ohio. So happy I chose to do the Alvis graphic design internship! There have been many good experiences and it has given me a way to use and develop my creativity!” —Anna Munsell

“I wanted to apply for Alvis because not only is Alvis a wonderful organization, but I love what they stand for and the mission that they stand by.” —Kiara Johnson

“I would love to work with Alvis again in the future because not only have I developed an interest in working with this population of clients, but I have also really enjoyed meeting and working with the Alvis employees. I have noticed that each employee genuinely cares about the clients which inspires me to want to help in a similar way. Interning with Alvis has been incredibly beneficial for me. It has allowed me to gain a different type of real-life experience than I am used to. I am so thankful for Alvis, all of the employees that I have met, their help and guidance, and everything that I have learned this summer.” —Adam Haag

Alvis is always looking for interns and volunteers year-round. Interested in being a part of a nonprofit, helping your community, getting hands on experience, and more? Apply now!

Thank you, Alvis Interns, for all you do to help turn lives around 180 degrees!

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children services, and the community, we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved at www.Alvis180.org.

National Give Something Away Day

Today, July 15, is all about giving! Whether you are decluttering your closet, the pantry, the junk drawer, the garage, or even just have some extra time on your hands, celebrate by giving to people you know like friends, family, neighbors, or even people you don’t know. Don’t know where to start? Here, we’ll help you!

Before you throw an item away, have you ever thought to yourself, ‘could someone else use this?’ The answer might be ‘yes’ more than you realize. Almost anything can be donated to someone in need.

Goodwill

Go through your closet and make a pile of clothes you haven’t worn in the last few months. Donate them or offer them to a friend or family member. If you have children who are older or adults, consider giving away some of their old clothes or toys. Books and games that go unused might be a good idea for donating also. A good place for gently used items like these is your local nonprofit Goodwill store. Goodwill also accepts furniture, electronics, jewelry, DVDs, housewares, domestics, hand-tools and more. See a full list of what you can and can’t donate in Columbus here. To find a store or donation center near you click here. Keep in mind, COVID-19 may affect some locations ability to receive donations. It’s always a good idea to check with your own local Goodwill or donation center to see their new policies and what they accept. Some Goodwill locations do pick up donations as well. To learn more about the organization, their mission, donating, how to volunteer, or find a career at Goodwill, visit your local Goodwill’s website or visit goodwill.org.

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity is another nonprofit you might consider giving to. This housing organization helps families in need to build their own homes alongside volunteers. According to their website, their vision is of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. To find out how to volunteer near you click here. Habitat for Humanity also has a chain of home improvement restores where proceeds are used to, “build strength, stability, self-reliance and shelter in local communities and around the world.” These stores accept new and gently used appliances, furniture, building materials, household goods, cars, and more from individuals and companies. Each store is unique, and many locations also accept items outside these categories which is why it is always important to check with your local store on what they accept. To learn more about this and the donation process, visit their sites donation page or learn more about them at habitat.org.

The Salvation Army

A third, similar donation option could be to the international Christian charitable organization called the Salvation Army. This organization accepts donations for a range of services and help they provide including for their food pantry, disaster relief, homeless shelters, drug and alcohol rehab, job training programs, human trafficking help services, veteran services, domestic abuse help services and much more. Donate to any one of these specific causes by going to the Salvation Army homepage and clicking under “What We Do.” They also accept a range of goods including appliances, automobiles, clothing for children and adults, furniture, household goods, electronics, books, and games. Learn more about how and where to donate goods here. If you are interested in even more ways to give including toward airline miles, sponsoring a child overseas, or volunteering, visit the Salvation Army “Ways to Give” page. See more about the mission and history here as well.

The American Red Cross

Not interested in donating money or goods? Donate blood! The American National Red Cross is a nonprofit humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief, and disaster preparedness education with the help of volunteers and lifesaving blood donors. According to the Red Cross website, 90% of the humanitarian work of the Red Cross is carried out by volunteers. Interested? Find your volunteer opportunity here! You may also consider donating blood, platelets, or plasma. Did you know, every two seconds, someone in the US needs blood? One donation could potentially save up to three lives! Red Cross has a whole page about giving blood including how to find a blood drive near you, how to host your own drive in your area, eligibility requirements, the donation process, and blood facts. Click here to learn more. Read more about the Red Cross, their work, and their mission on their site as well.

Consider Donating to Alvis!

We are a nonprofit human services agency providing reentry and family support programs, behavioral health and substance abuse treatment services, recovery housing for women and their children, and services to individuals with developmental disabilities who are trying to live more independently in the community. Our mission is to innovate and deliver evidence-based human service programs that empower those we serve to build successful, productive lives. We serve nearly 8,000 men, women, young adults, and children in Ohio each year and our programs indirectly impact tens of thousands more. We work to keep families together, make communities safer, and give people the inspiration, the encouragement, and the tools they need to turn their lives around 180 degrees. But we could not do it without the help of our generous volunteers and patrons!

Volunteer

Here at Alvis, we are always looking for volunteers. Whatever your interests, skills, strengths, we can use your help to change people’s lives around, big or small. Whether that’s helping clients study for their GED test, tutoring math or another subject, assisting at a fundraiser, pulling weeds, hanging shelves, teaching a yoga class, or hosting craft classes/activities, every little thing really helps and we have endless opportunities for you. The sky is the limit! Get involved and give your time to give others a chance today by applying on Alvis’s volunteer page or email us at volunteer@alvis180.org with questions (ask us about working remotely too).

Donate

Due to Covid-19, donating is a little more difficult but still possible! If you are interested in giving from the comfort of your own home, check out our Amazon wish list here. It ships straight to Alvis clients and their children! You could also write a letter of encouragement and send it to our offices at 2100 Stella Ct, Columbus, OH. These motivational letters and notes get framed and hung in our clients living spaces to provide encouragement on their recovery journeys. Even though this might seem small, it makes all the difference to our clients to have people that believe in them. Additionally, we are currently in need of yoga mats (for the start of our new yoga class); arts and crafts supplies including paint, brushes, canvases, construction paper, knitting materials, markers, crayons, and coloring books; children’s and adult books; journals/diaries for clients to express themselves; and we are always in need of beauty items such as nail polish, makeup, and hair spray; hygiene supplies like deodorant, shampoo, body wash etc.; and 8 by 10 photo frames for the motivational letters/notes as well as 5 by 7 frames for photographs taken of parents and children on visiting days. Due to COVID-19 and reduced hours, please call our Stella offices at 614.252.8402 ahead of time to schedule a pickup or drop-off for this location if you are interested in donating or call and drop off at Amethyst: 614.242.1284 / 455 East Mound St, Columbus, OH. To learn more about donating or to make a monetary contribution, visit us here.

Thank you, donors and volunteers, for all you do. Without you, Alvis and other nonprofits just wouldn’t be possible!

Happy Giving!

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children services, and the community, we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved at www.Alvis180.org.

World Population Day. Did you know?

World Population Day was established by the UN in 1990 to spread awareness of population issues and how they impact our environment and deveWorld Population Day was established by the UN in 1990 to spread awareness of population issues and how they impact our environment and development. According to un.org, “Current estimates indicate that roughly 83 million people are being added to the world’s population every year.” That’s a lot of people! And in America, 2.3 million are currently incarcerated, 4.9 million have been formerly incarcerated, 19 million have been convicted of a felony in their lifetimes, 77 million have a criminal record, and a staggering 113 million adult Americans have an immediate family member who has been in prison or jail. That’s more than in any other country. In fact, 1 in 5 people who are incarcerated in the world are incarcerated in the U.S. (Prison Policy Initiative).  In Ohio specifically, it is estimated that one in eleven adults have a felony conviction and one in three adults have a criminal record. Does this just mean there are a lot of “bad” people to look out for? As it turns out…

Drug Offenses

One in five incarcerated people is locked up for a drug offense and 450,000 people are incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses at any given time (Prison Policy Initiative). But what is a drug offense? A drug offense is when an individual violates a law that prohibits the possession, use, distribution, or manufacture of illegal drugs (Prison Fellowship). What counts as an “illegal” drug also depends per state. In Ohio, marijuana, the most common drug, is illegal if not prescribed for medical purposes. Even just the possession of the drug can earn you jail time. In the US, there are over one million drug possession arrests each year. The average prison sentence for people convicted of federal drug offenses is more than 11 years. This is the greatest contributor to the federal prison population. In general, drug penalties at the federal and state levels tend to be disproportionate and overly harsh for the crime, causing good people to be jobless and even homeless after incarceration.

On the other side of that are drug-related offenses. These offenses come from the effect of drugs on individuals either while on the drug or from being motivated by their addiction to the drug. These people are not “bad” people. Many of them suffer from substance abuse disorders and other trauma. At Alvis, we believe the positive alternative to incarceration is to address the issue at the source with rehabilitation and addiction programming. See our Recovery Choices Program and Amethyst Program.

Mental Health

Tied strongly to drug offenses and substance abuse disorders are other mental health disorders. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Multiple national population surveys have found that about half of those who experience a mental illness during their lives will also experience a substance use disorder and vice versa.” Similar to victims of substance abuse disorder, individuals with mental health conditions of any sort are more likely to be involved with the criminal justice system than to seek medical help. In fact, NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Health, states that two million people with mental illness are booked into jails each year and the vast majority are not violent, don’t get convicted, or are serving time for minor crimes. In jail, it is hard for these individuals to receive the treatment they need, making their condition worse, and keeping them locked up for longer than others without a mental health condition. Then, once out of the criminal justice system, a criminal record makes it hard to get a job, find housing, and still leaves them untreated for their condition. Many times, this causes them to end up re-arrested, creating and endless cycle. Again, these individuals are not “bad” people. They deserve second chances, recovery, and treatment for their conditions. Besides Amethyst and Recovery Choices, Alvis also offers SHINE, CHAT, and Belmar Recovery Housing.

Bail

It is also notable to mention that 74% of people held by jails are not convicted of any crime. Additionally, people in prison or jail are disproportionally poor compared to America as a whole. Why is this? It all starts with bail. Statistically, high policed areas are low-income with people who can not afford to pay bail. To make a point about this, New Orleans professor Chris Surprenant spoke at the Institute for Humane Studies about mass incarceration and pulled up stats from the local Arlington, Virginia jail saying, “You’ve got 344 people incarcerated. 43% of these folks have not been convicted of anything…That there are any people who can get out if they can only put up that, if they only need to put up a thousand bucks, is a problem because these are people who probably don’t present any danger to the community. If you can get out for a thousand dollars, it means we don’t mind having you out in the community,” (The Institute for Humane Studies). As a result of this time spent in jail and the development of a criminal record, individuals who were already in poverty fall farther into debt and stay in poverty from inability to find a job that will hire them.

Second Chance Citizens

Over 600,000 people transition from prisons back into their communities every year and the unemployment rate among incarcerated people is five times higher than the unemployment rate for the rest of the US. Even greater than in the Great Depression (Prison Policy Initiative). Because so many Americans have a criminal record it is critical to provide second chance citizens with jobs. Not only will employment help these individuals gain economic stability after release, but it reduces the likelihood that they will return to the criminal justice system and promotes greater public safety, benefitting everyone in the long run. The alternative, with the rates of arrests continually climbing in the US and Ohio, more repeat offenders and no employees for hire. It’s time to break the stigma. At Alvis, we believe that everyone deserves a second chance and we offer a variety of reentry programs to help turn people’s lives around from past justice involvement including residential reentry services using the Equip Program (our studies show that 93% of those who completed the Alvis Residential Reentry program and were back in the community for at least one year did not return to the criminal justice system) and workforce development training including H.I.R.E. (Help In Reentry Employment education) and EDGE (Empower Development by Gaining Employment). To learn more about our reentry programs click here or here.

Happy World Population Day!

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children services, and the community, we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved at www.Alvis180.org.

Our Mission and History

For over 50 years, we’ve been community leaders in the realm of reentry.

Our mission is to innovate and deliver evidence-based human service programs that empower those we serve to build successful, productive lives.

Our Story

In 1967, there were only a handful of halfway houses in the country. The need for transitional services for people leaving prison was not something many people had ever thought about, and there was no program to meet this unique need. Fortunately, David Dunning, an Episcopal priest whose ministry included Bible Studies at the Ohio Penitentiary, not only thought about it–he made it happen.

Since 1967, Alvis has adapted to meet the evolving needs of our clients, their families, and our communities as a whole. But the guiding principle on which Alvis was founded remains unchanged. We have always believed that if given the proper support and tools to do so, people can and will turn their lives around.

Our lines of service have expanded from our initial target population of justice-involved individuals, but many times, the problems addressed by our programs overlap. Really, we’ve become more holistic and as our resources have grown, we’ve been able to solve larger-scale problems related to reentry. Workforce development and evidence-based behavioral healthcare are have become cornerstones of our programs. With heightened focus, we now also serve those with developmental disabilities, survivors of human trafficking, and women and families impacted by addiction, behavioral healthcare concerns, and/or justice involvement.

Does this sound broad? Probably! That’s because reentry is a complex matter that affects entire families and communities. We’re committed to doing our part to help people turn their lives around by 180 degrees.

Our Numbers

  • It costs more than $22,000 each year to keep an offender in prison in Ohio.  Alvis’ reentry programs are 75% less expensive compared to prison and they are more effective: Three years after completing the Alvis residential reentry program, 79% of our clients have remained out of the criminal justice system, compared to the national average of about 50%. 
  • Substance abuse costs the United States over $600 billion annually.  Each dollar invested in addiction treatment programs, such as those provided by Alvis, yields a return of between $4 and $7.  Major savings to the individual and to society also stem from fewer interpersonal conflicts; greater workplace productivity; and fewer drug-related accidents, including overdoses and deaths.
  • We have grown tremendously since the first Alvis program opened in Columbus in the 1960s. But one thing has remained constant throughout the years – our unwavering commitment to creating stronger communities and healthier lives.

Our Milestones

1967 – 1976

  • Franklin County Halfway House, Inc. is chartered and the founders purchase a home on Bryden Road to provide services to men transitioning to the community from the Ohio Penitentiary.
  • The agency is named Alvis House, after a respected, progressive former warden at the Ohio Penitentiary, the late Ralph W. Alvis.
  • In its first year providing services (1968), the 15-bed facility assists approximately 60 men paroled from the Ohio Penitentiary.
  • Alvis House becomes a United Way member agency and opens its second and third residential programs.

1977- 1986

  • A workforce development program designed to address the unique needs of justice-involved individuals is established. The program is able to expand with the help of a landscape and litter abatement program and funding from the Private Industry Council, through the Job Training Partnership Act.
  • Alvis House opens Wittwer Hall, a specialized treatment program for individuals with developmental disabilities.
  • The Alvis House Training Academy opens, providing professional training in community corrections, counseling, and other specializations.

1987 – 1996

  • Alvis House begins serving women in its residential reentry programs.
  • Alvis House expands its efforts beyond Central Ohio with the acquisition of COPE Center (Comprehensive Offender Program Effort) in Dayton.
  • The agency embraces research-based programs and cognitive behavioral therapy throughout agency programs. The first Program Services Center opens and provides space for counseling services, including professional alcohol and drug counseling services.
  • Quality assurance program is established, with long-term goal to achieve accreditation of all Alvis House residential programs.

1997-2006

  • Alvis House opens a groundbreaking residential program at the VA Medical Center in Chillicothe to provide treatment for former offenders who are military veterans.
  • All residential correctional programs are accredited by the American Correctional Association.
  • Expansion continues as Alvis House builds a new residential facility from the ground up in Columbus and begins operating a new residential program in Toledo, Ohio.

2007-2016

  • Alvis House is called upon to expand services, both for individuals and families who have become involved in the criminal justice system; and for individuals with developmental disabilities. Franklin, Licking, Allen, Lucas and Ross Counties all house new and expanded Alvis programs.
  • New programs include Recovery Choices, an outpatient substance abuse treatment program, and CHAT (Changing Habits, Attitudes and Thoughts), which serves women who were victims of human trafficking.
  • The agency becomes known simply as “Alvis.”
  • Evening of Light, Alvis’ signature fundraising event that supports the Alvis Family and Children’s program, is established.

2017-present

  • Alvis is named 1 of the 5 nonprofits to watch in 2017 by The Columbus Foundation;
  • Amethyst, an agency that has provided recovery and treatment services to women in central Ohio for over 30 years, becomes a part of the Alvis family.
  • Extending services to the community with the opening of Pages Treatment and Recovery Center where community members can access integrative substance abuse treatment, health care services and referrals to other community services.

Meet Gage Atkins, Class of 2020

Throughout the years, Alvis has helped the lives of not just individuals, but also families, turn around #180degreeimpact.  

Gage Atkins is an incredible example of breaking the multigenerational cycle of addiction and involvement with the justice system. During his childhood, his father struggled with alcoholism, and his mother and father both struggled with drug addiction. His father passed away when he was younger, and his mother served two sentences in prison. 

As described by Gage, “They were always in and out of my life. My dad wasn’t a big part of my life, and neither was my mom, with her being in and out.” 

Given this, Gage discussed how he would often have to help raise his two younger siblings: 

“When my mom was on drugs real bad, I would have to help take care of my little brother, give him a bath, put him to sleep, feed him, like, help my sister out. And like, I would have to, like, do the dishes, sometimes cook and stuff, so it wasn’t – so, I didn’t really have a childhood.” 

However, Gage does not look back on this time with regret or malice. Instead, he is thankful for the person it led him to become. 

As he said, “It shaped me for who I am today, and I’m grateful for it, because like – if that wasn’t it, I might not be as responsible as I am now, and so… it just shapes me for who I am.” 

Through all this hardship, Gage graduated from high school this year with honors and leadership positions in multiple organizations and also worked towards a license in cosmetology. And not only was Gage able to graduate – his mother was able to be there with him. 

Gage’s Mother, Nikki, has been with Alvis in one of their half house locations for the past 3 months. Nikki says she was determined to make it to Gage’s graduation, and recently, with the help of Alvis, transferred to ankle monitor to be there. 

As Gage said, “I got to walk the stage, my mom got to give me my diploma, which was wonderful.” 

This dedication to be supportive together shows something consistent throughout this family’s story: how strongly they rely upon one another. 

When asked where his strength came from, Gage had a very clear answer: 

“My siblings. Man, like my little brother, my sister, you know, like, I just love the to death. Like, it’s like they’re my kids – and I just want them to have experiences and have things, and you know, get what they want, and have the life that I wanted to have… so if I’m able to do that, then I’m going to.” 

In the same vein, Nikki had just as clear of an answer: 

“Gage reminds me every day how strong I am and how not to, you know, want to go back to that old lifestyle, and he is just there for me, and he is just so strong and so passionate about everything, he is very compassionate in his life, he truly is. I just love him. I couldn’t be more happy – I could not.” 

With each other as their strength, this family continues to grow and heal. With each other’s help, they continue to turn their lives around. 

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children services, and the community, we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved at www.Alvis180.org.

Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

According to the 2019 World Drug Report, in 2017, an estimated 271 million people across the world had used drugs in the previous year, while 35 million people were estimated to be suffering from drug use disorders. It was also estimated that, globally, there were 585,000 deaths and 42 million years of “healthy” life lost as a result of the use of drugs. For people with drug use disorders, the availability of and access to treatment services remains limited at the global level. Only one in seven people with drug use disorders will receive treatment each year…

Today, Friday, June 26, is International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, also known as World Drug Day. This global observance has been supported by individuals, organizations, and communities all over the world since the United Nations resolved it in 1987. See resolution 42/112 here. This year’s theme is “Better Knowledge for Better Care” which strives to emphasize the importance of combating misinformation and educating on the significance of the world drug issue. Why is this significant? The better we can understand this complex issue and how to treat individuals, the better we can care for them and fight against the drug epidemic as a united society. 

Unfortunately, a big misconception about drug addiction is that it is a choice. This causes many individuals, policy makers, and even some service providers to hold the belief that drug disorders are a moral failure and a crime that needs to be punished. However, according to Mountainside Treatment Center, although the initial decision to misuse a substance may be voluntary, it impairs the way the brain functions in the long-term. It is in fact a multi-factorial health issue, “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry,” (The American Society of Addiction Medicine). These disorders are very complex with factors out of the victim’s control such as genetics, mental health, and environmental factors. Not only does Alvis strongly hold this belief but it was also agreed upon by the Member States in the Outcome document of the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem.

Another myth about addiction is that a victim can quit whenever they want. But as previously mentioned, misusing substances can physically change and critically impact the parts of the brain that deal with judgment, decision-making, learning, memory, and behavior control, (National Institute on Drug Abuse). Willpower by itself is most times not sufficient enough or even safe enough to try to achieve sobriety on ones own. “A person battling a substance abuse problem needs individualized medical and/or clinical treatments, integrative therapies, and mindful practices to restore balance to their life. They also need to develop coping skills and to re-establish support from family, employers, and friends—a crucial part of success in recovery,” (Mountainside Treatment Center). In order to combat the drug issue globally, we all need to change the way we think about drug addiction. To learn more about World Drug Day on the United Nations home page click here. #FactsForSolidarity

There is hope! At Alvis, we offer two judgment free behavioral health and addiction services, one for single women and women with children called Amethyst, and one which is inclusive to both males and females called Recovery Choices. In the Amethyst program, women with and without children can receive treatment for addiction, mental health, and trauma while also receiving supportive housing, job readiness training and placement. What makes the Amethyst program special in particular? It allows women to live with their children and works to reunite and strengthen families. Amethyst takes walk-ins and women seeking help can go directly to the main treatment facility located at 455 E. Mound Street.

Similarly, in the Recovery Choices program, individuals with justice involvement can receive behavioral healthcare and addiction services. Clients can also receive transportation from halfway houses to Alvis reentry centers, where they can take job training courses, receive counseling and individualized treatment plans, and have the opportunity to attain their GED, take university classes, and participate in activities with their family. Also check out our recent post “Recovery Housing at Alvis” to see three specific recovery programs for women called SHINE (Stable Housing to Inspire, Nurture, and Empower), CHAT (Changing Habits, Attitudes and Thoughts), and Belmar.

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children services, and the community, we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved at www.Alvis180.org.

Father’s Day 2020

Father’s Day Picnic 2019

Today is Father’s Day, the day to show appreciation and love for the special men in our lives. To celebrate our fathers last year, Alvis held a Father’s Day Picnic with games, food, and fun! Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, this year we were unable to hold a similar event. However, we would still like to recognize all the fathers in our programs, along with some of our male role models and discuss the importance of mentorship.

Fathers play an important role. They are teachers, leaders, mentors, and much more. Having a mentor can be important when you are struggling through a personal battle or need a second chance. They can offer you guidance, encouragement, advice, and provide a safe, structured space for you to learn and develop yourself without judgment.

According to mentoring.org, youth who meet regularly with their mentors are 46% less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs and 27% less likely to start drinking. Mentors can also prepare their mentees for professional careers and assist with their workplace skills by helping them set career goals, find internships, locate possible jobs, teach them skills for seeking a job, interviewing for a job, and keeping a job.

One such mentor at Alvis is Harry Cox. He is a Senior Cognitive Behavioral Specialist in the Reentry Center and has helped thousands of people in the community through mentorship opportunities. He himself was brought through Alvis following release from incarceration and credits a mentor from an Alvis program for his success and helping him to turn his life around.

Another mentor, Dr. Lewis Dodley, serves male participants in the EDGE program. The EDGE (Empower Development by Gaining Employment) Program is a five-month reentry program assisting justice-involved individuals in overcoming barriers to employment and is a partnership between Alvis, the City of Columbus, and the Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio. Clients go through a host of workforce development activities such as resume development, skills training, and interviewing. Dodley is one mentor who meets with clients two days a week in empowerment sessions at the Reentry Center. Current participants will be graduating later this month.

Dr. Terrance Hinton, Program Manager of Reentry Services at Alvis and overseer of both the EDGE and H.I.R.E. programs, is also an appreciated role model. A typical day for Hinton includes overseeing day-to-day operations of both programs, coordinating transportation, maintaining client schedules, developing the curriculum, and communicating with case managers, probation officers, and other community partners. “Reentry has always been a part of me, because I value second chances,” says Hinton. “I believe everyone should be given a second opportunity to become successful and become productive members of society. I always tell clients that I am not as concerned about their past as I am about their future…. but they must be given the tools and support necessary for becoming successful. I truly believe that clients can turn their lives around 180 degrees and that is what gets me out of bed every morning and excited to come to the Reentry Center.”

Alvis recognizes the importance of mentorship and celebrates all our role models and father-like figures in other Alvis programs for supporting second chances and for helping turning lives around 180 degrees.

Happy Father’s Day from everyone at Alvis!

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children services, and the community, we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved at www.Alvis180.org.

Men’s Health

Not only is June Men’s Health Month, but today starts Men’s Health Week, which conveniently leads up to Father’s Day.

Health Facts from the Men’s Health Network:

On average, American men live sicker and die younger than American

women.

In 1920, women lived, on average, one year longer than men. Now, men, on average, die almost five years earlier than women.

Women are 100% more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men.

Cause and RatesMenWomen
Heart Disease210.9131.8
Cancer192.9138.1
Injuries54.727.3
Stroke36.935.6
Suicide20.75.8
HIV/AIDS3.01.1

Depression in men is more likely to be undiagnosed contributing to the fact that men are 4 x as likely to commit suicide.

  • Among ages 15 to 19, boys were 3.1 x as likely as girls to commit suicide.
  • Among ages 20 to 24, males were 4.6 x as likely to commit suicide as females.
  • The suicide rate for persons age 65 and above: men 31.5 – women 5.

Life can be busy and hectic and sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves, but these statistics show why it is critical to keep regularly scheduled checkups and start or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Prevention is important in the early stages. Now is the time to visit with and encourage the men you love to find low cost and free screenings near them, attend health clinics, or start the health program recommended by their physician. It is not too late! Learn more about Men’s Health Week and find resources at menshealthmonth.org

It can also be hard to ask for help…

What Alvis has to offer:

One of Alvis’ behavioral health services is a cognitive-behavioral treatment program called Recovery Choices with skills practice sessions that give individuals the tools they need to improve their decision-making skills, enhance coping abilities and build healthier drug- and alcohol-free lives. The program is certified by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Professional staff are appropriately licensed as well as experienced in providing treatment services designed to address the complex substance abuse treatment needs of individuals with criminal justice involvement. Ours is a comprehensive program that begins with a thorough assessment, continues with in-depth substance abuse treatment services and the development of a personal relapse prevention plan. Aftercare is a critical part of this program, offering follow-up support and opportunities to put the concepts discussed during the program to practical use in each client’s life. Alvis turns lives around!

Show Your Support!

Also in June, on Friday the 19th, is wear blue day for men’s health. Wear blue to raise awareness for education about men’s need to seek regular checkups, or testicular cancer education, prostate cancer education, or other health issues that affect men including cardiovascular disease, skin cancer, lung cancer, diabetes, gout, depression, addiction, and more.

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children services, and the community, we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved at www.Alvis180.org.

#MensHealthWeek

Little Things

Here at Alvis we know that little things can make a big difference.

The Big Give

This summer from June 10-11 the Columbus Foundation will be holding their online donation event to support local nonprofit agencies. Although the minimum donation is only $20, the past four Big Give events in 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017 have made a total of $52.2 million for central Ohio nonprofits. Every little bit makes a difference for Alvis! Your donation could provide that extra meal to a family. It could provide a child with a backpack, school supplies, books, and so much more! To donate during the Big Give, June 10 at 10 a.m. ET through June 11 at 11:00 a.m. ET, click here. To learn more about the Big Give and the Columbus Foundation go to columbusfoundation.org.

Volunteering

Don’t be discouraged if you are unable to donate money! There are other ways you can get involved that are simple, easy, fun and as crucial as monetary donations. Without our generous volunteers, Alvis would simply not be able to touch our ever-expanding client populations. Do you have a particular niche or are good at something? Alvis might have a spot for you no matter what it is or how small. Alvis always looks for any volunteer who can help our clients to expand their skillsets and add to their activity options. We are always welcoming volunteers who can help with special events, fundraising or even providing help in our offices.

Here are a few things that volunteers are already doing…

Helping with resume drafting and interviewing skills in the HIRE program at the Community Reentry Center.

Practicing mock interviews and providing feedback.

Teaching how to set goals.

Providing tutoring support for women at Amethyst working towards their GED.

Tutoring math.

Teaching developmental disabilities clients piano, guitar, and bass guitar.

Teaching crafting classes with sewing, knitting, jewelry making, etc.

More things you could do…

Attend events to lend a helping hand, or provide food, transportation, or activities to clients for these functions.

Teach a class at something you are good at like baking bread or painting.  

Tutor a subject you are good in to prepare Alvis clients for GED tests.

Volunteer at Bingo Night

Be a guide for DD clients on walks.

Donate items like art supplies, photo frames or books.

Although these things might seem small, they make a big difference at Alvis. All the little things are used to turn lives around and get clients lives back on track.

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.

Safety Matters

June is National Safety Month, where safety is promoted in the workplace. The most common workplace injuries include overexertion, slips, trips, and falls, and dangerous contact with equipment. Here are some tips and tricks to prevent injury in the workplace:

  1. Keep work spaces and walkways free of boxes and cords. Any tripping hazards that could cause yourself or others to trip, tape down or move to another area.
  2. Stretch – Take stretch breaks to minimize tension and get blood flowing. Sitting too long and too often can cause back pain, reduce blood flow, and increase the risk of obesity.
  3. Close desk drawers and cabinets when not in use to avoid injuring body parts by an unexpected run-in.
  4. Be aware – Pay attention to your surroundings. Watch out for falling objects, misplaced work tools, environmental hazards, and more.
  5. Shake things up – If your schedule is too tiring, see if your supervisor can change it. Disrupting your sleep patterns on a regular basis can throw your health out of whack.

Another aspect of National Safety Month is the importance of mental health and how it can impact our performance in the workplace. Sometimes it can be difficult to discuss with fellow co-workers or advisors on this topic. A safe space could be used in this case to discuss concerns about the workplace or to provide support for other struggling co-workers. According to Merriam-Webster, a safe space is a place (like on a college campus for example) intended to be free of bias, conflict, criticism, potentially threatening actions, ideas, or conversations. This place could involve any group of people: people of color, co-workers, women, for example. The purpose of a safe space is to allow the people involved to be free of judgement and have access to a support system. People can speak their minds and allow their thoughts to have a space to exist or just to simply be out of their head. These types of spaces birth solutions that help their environments and improve overall well being in the workplace. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people for help or start your own safe space.

At Alvis, there are programs that have access to safe spaces with various groups or one-on-one sessions. Amethyst is a recovery program for women and their families dealing with substance abuse. The program has self help/peer support groups, trauma counseling, and many more areas where safe spaces are being utilized.

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children services, and the community, we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved at www.Alvis180.org.

The Big Give 2020

The Columbus Foundation’s Big Give event is back!

The Columbus Foundation’s signature giving event will be back for the first time since 2017 to support central Ohio nonprofits in need during the COVID-19 crisis. The 25-hour online event will take place from June 10 at 10 a.m. ET through June 11 at 11:00 a.m. ET at columbusfoundation.org.

What is The Big Give?

The Big Give was created in 2011 by The Columbus Foundation, one of the top ten largest community foundations in the United States. It is an online giving event meant to rally and lift nonprofit organizations in the community, giving them an economic boost. The Columbus Foundation, its family of donors, and community and corporate partners have also provided a $1 million+ Bonus Pool. Donations received during the event will be boosted by Bonus Pool funds on a pro rata basis, allowing everyone’s dollars to go further. In addition, the Foundation is covering all credit card fees, so 100 percent of donations go to any of the 1,100 participating nonprofits in ten counties with a Directory Listing in the Foundation’s Giving Store.

How to Participate

Participating is easy and anyone can do it! To donate, visit columbusfoundation.org between Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at 10:00a.m. ET and Thursday, June 11, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. ET and find Alvis, among other local nonprofit organizations in the Giving Store. You can use credit card, PayPal, Google Pay, or Apple Pay. Minimum donations are $20 and anyone who donates will receive and email receipt. The Columbus Foundation will cover all credit card fees, so 100 percent of donations will be directed to the nonprofits of your choice. Donations can even be made in honor of, or in memory of, a loved one. All donations are final.

Fun Fact: The past four Big Give events in 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017 have made a total of $52.2 million for central Ohio nonprofits including nonprofits in Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Hocking, Licking, Madison, Morrow, Perry, Pickaway, and Union counties!

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.

For more information on The Big Give and the Columbus Foundation visit columbusfoundation.org.

Mental Health Essential Heroes

“Mental Health is Essential Health!”

What Alvis Has to Offer…

Alvis offers two behavioral health service programs: Amethyst and Recovery Choices.

Amethyst is our program for women with and without children seeking addiction, mental health, and trauma-related treatment, family services, supportive housing, and job readiness and placement. What makes the Amethyst program distinct from other treatment programs for women is the fact that it allows women to live with their children, and it specifically works to reunite and strengthen families. Amethyst takes walk-ins, and women are able to go directly to the main treatment facility located at 455 E. Mound Street if they are seeking assistance.

Recovery Choices was created to provide behavioral healthcare services to individuals with justice involvement. Clients receive transportation from halfway houses to reentry centers, where they take job training courses, receive counseling and individualized treatment plans, and have the opportunity to attain their GED, take university classes, and participate in activities with their family. Behavioral health treatment services include:

· Individualized assessment and treatment

· Group counseling

· Cognitive-behavioral therapy

· Medication-assisted treatment (through a partnership with CompDrug)

· Relapse prevention and aftercare

Women in Alvis’ residential reentry programs and in treatment at Recovery Choices may eventually transition to Amethyst to support their long-term recovery.

Thank you, essential mental health and recovery heroes, for your outstanding 24/7 service and support!

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 Foster Care Month

May is National Foster Care Month!

Some Statistics…

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a charitable foundation focused on improving the well-being of American children, in 2018, 424,653 children were in foster care in the US. Childtrends.org defines this as, “a living arrangement for children who a child protective services worker and a court has decided cannot live safely at home.” This source also states that, in 2017, one in three children entered foster care because of parental drug abuse. “Without a caring, loving parent, the statistics about orphans indicate that they are at great risk to crime and homelessness. They don’t graduate from high school or have the ability to attend or succeed in college. Many become teen parents, are under-employed, and lack the skills to build strong relationships and have their own healthy families. These kids are at risk to those who hustle sex for hire, traffickers, extremists and others who prey on the kid’s vulnerabilities,” (kidsave.org). Foster care is a positive service, but it should be used in conjunction with families, not as a replacement. In 2017, the state of Ohio saw one of the largest increases in children entering foster care due to parental drug abuse. April Dirks, an associate professor of social work at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, says, “unfortunately the foster care system is overburdened—there’s not enough families, not enough services. If they’re going to remove the children, the best thing would be immediately treating the parent.” Dirk believes in specialized programs that provide supervised treatment instead of incarceration for people with substance use or mental health issues. These courts can provide parents with the support they need to recover from their addiction and regain custody of their children, (npr.org).

How Alvis Can Help…

Alvis is one such program. Here we bring families together instead of splitting them apart. The Family and Children’s Program serves children and their mothers, with the end goal of bringing families together that have been affected by substance abuse and parental involvement in the criminal justice system. The Family and Children’s Program consists of two components. The first is educational, and the second is in-person contact. Mothers receive parenting education and training. They are taught effective communication and discipline strategies, they learn how to set appropriate boundaries, and they receive guidance to help them understand basic parental responsibilities. Additional community support services are offered for all clients to complement their treatment plans.

These services are also extended to foster guardians caring for children of mothers undergoing treatment.

Moms are then given the opportunity to demonstrate their new skills in part two of the program, during which they are given the opportunity to connect with their children. They write letters, poems and make crafts for their children, which Alvis mails to help maintain the mother-child connection during their stay at Alvis. The mothers also have the opportunity to visit with their children twice each month, every first and third Saturday. Clients come together for a healthy meal, while spending time with their families. Research shows that families who eat meals together are stronger, which is why meals are at the center of family visit days, as caregivers and children join their mothers for a bonding experience. Usually, this also can involve participating in fun activities like games and taking lots of pictures. It’s during these in-person visits that moms get to put into practice the tools and training the program provides. These visits are also where we see the magic of reconnecting families. After graduation, an aftercare phase also allows mothers the opportunity to continue receiving services for up to two years after finishing their treatment through the program.

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children services, and the community, we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved at www.Alvis180.org.

Recovery Housing at Alvis

An Overview of Three Programs for Women

At Alvis, we’ve been fortunate enough to fuel many programs that focus on recovery for women. Some of these women have a history with substance abuse disorder and/or mental health disorders—many times, these are co-occurring, and may originate from extensive trauma. SHINE (Stable Housing to Inspire, Nurture, and Empower), CHAT (Changing Habits, Attitudes and Thoughts), and Belmar are a few housing options for women that, in addition to Amethyst, provide resources for independent living and re-entry into the community.

The Amethyst program, which many people familiar with Alvis likely know about, is one of Alvis’ two integrated behavioral healthcare programs. A huge factor that makes the Amethyst program distinct from other treatment programs for women is the fact that it allows women to live with their minor children. Amethyst, specifically, works to reunite and strengthen families. Most residences at Amethyst have more than one bedroom, and the program provides services for women and their children. The ways that SHINE, CHAT, and Belmar differ from Amethyst are mainly due to the clients served through these programs and the format in which recovery resources are offered.

SHINE

SHINE is a Level II Recovery House for women that provides 6-12 months of transitional housing. It is open to both women with or without children, like Amethyst. Additionally, these women must have at least 90 days sobriety, stable mental health, and no violent impulses for the last 12 months. Those who have either been diagnosed with opioid use disorder or have a history of opioid overdose have priority consideration for admission.

At SHINE, women work with a Peer Case Manager to maintain sobriety, form stronger familial relationships, receive employment training and assistance entering the workforce, attain financial independence, and transition to a permanent residence. A dedicated caring staff decorates and maintains the living space for families, which features sitting rooms, a kitchen, restrooms, and other typical comforts of home. Up to two single women are housed in one unit (each with her own bedroom) and mothers residing with their children live in single apartments. There is a sliding rent scale based on employment schedule or income, and “move in” packages include living room and bedroom furniture, as well as necessary household supplies. Additional services, like bus passes, utilities, and food assistance is also offered if needed.

CHAT

The CHAT House aims to provide adequate resources to human trafficking survivors, so they may overcome their traumatic experiences and re-enter into society. Many of these women are graduates or participants of the CATCH Court, which was established by Judge Paul Herbert. At the CHAT House, communication is key. Staff is sure to remain transparent and on-call for clients, in case they need to discuss important things. Emergency situations are tackled as a team. 

In the living space itself, much like SHINE, walls are lined with bookshelves and decorated with empowering wall art and words of encouragement. Some of this art is made by clients and Alvis volunteers, who bond and connect through creating arts and crafts.

Belmar

The Belmar House, which recently acquired a Level II Ohio Recovery House certification last July, is a beautiful space managed by a former client. Unlike Amethyst and SHINE, this is a space for women without children. Each client has her own private bedroom, and there are a host of common areas, like a modern kitchen area and multiple sitting rooms. The women at Belmar are very independent and live close to typical everyday lives, which is an end goal for all Alvis clients. They have already shown signs that they can maintain structured schedules and employment. Rent is due on the day they move in, and there are still random drop-ins, house meetings, and walkthroughs every couple of weeks like at SHINE. Clients can stay here for as long as they wish, on the condition that they stay clean and follow house rules.

We’re so excited for our recent developments and programs to come. As we offer more support and resources to our clients, during this especially trying time, we remain hopeful and confident in the ability for our clients to achieve #180DegreeImpacts on themselves and their community.

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children services, and the community, we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved at www.Alvis180.org.

National Nurses Day

Today is National Nurses Day, which kicks off National Nurses Week. Today is also referred to, by some, as National RN Recognition Day.

To celebrate today, one of the best things you can probably do is show your support and appreciation for nurses around you. On social media, you can utilize the hashtag #NationalNursesDay to recognize our nurses, who we are critically relying on during this time of turmoil and health crisis. To nurses everywhere—thank you for all you do! But we are also taking this time to appreciate our nurses here at Alvis. Our programs, like our integrated behavioral healthcare programs, Amethyst and Recovery Choices, offer clinical components, as well as the specialized programming we offer to individuals with developmental disabilities (DD Services). This would not be possible without our nursing staff, who contribute daily to the physical and mental health and wellbeing of our clients.

Sandy Allen, Managing Director of DD Services, provided information about two of our nursing staff members involved with DD clients. Allen had the following things to say about these excellent individuals.

George Adusei Bonsu works directly with the clients in our intermediate care facility. Taking care of 15 clients on a daily basis, George is kind and caring. The clients look to him for support and education, and he is respected by both his peers and those he serves.

Temitope Allabi joined the Alvis team when IBHC for DD services opened in February 2019. Temi spends 16 hours a week working hand in hand with the DD team and clients, to aid in good physical and mental health. Kind and caring, Temi actively represents the mission of Alvis.

Additionally, two of our nurses are involved in Alvis’ behavioral healthcare services.

Heather Weiss, RN, works at the Pages Treatment and Recovery Center in the Recovery Choices (IBHC) program. She is a hardworking and a wonderful client advocate for her patients. She collaborates with the halfway house and court teams to ensure clients attend their appointments and to ensure clients are taking their medication as directed.

Teresa Soller, RN, is the Healthcare Coordinator and considered the supervisor of all of the nurses at Alvis. She primarily works in IBHC and her office is based at the primary location of the Amethyst program. Teresa is always bright and cheerful when interacting with staff and patients. She is intuitive and quick to notice when a client needs some additional empathy and support. Teresa is skilled at connecting clients with additional resources and always has their many needs in mind.

We value our nurses so much, and now, more than ever, we are celebrating the outstanding hard work and commitment that they’ve displayed to their clients, their calling, and their community.

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

National Mental Health Month

May is National Mental Health Month. And today, May 5th, is National Silence the Shame Day. This day encourages open conversation surrounding mental illness, as we work to erase stigmas and advocate support for people with mental illness.

Considering the current state of the world, self-quarantine, isolation, and social distancing has been understandably hard for many individuals. The lack of in-person connection that most of us are experiencing on a daily basis can exacerbate mental illness or difficulties involving mental health. Staying in recovery from the disease of addiction is subsequently harder, too.

If you are looking for help…

Alvis is here for you right now, providing substance abuse and mental health treatment services! We are still taking walk-ins. Two of our programs specifically focus on behavioral healthcare—Recovery Choices and Amethyst. Recovery Choices focuses on comprehensive outpatient and intensive outpatient services for men and women. Amethyst is our program for women with and without children seeking addiction, mental health, and trauma-related treatment. Because these are challenging times, for both of these programs, we are currently offering telehealth assessments, telehealth counseling, and telemedicine. Both programs involve psychiatric assessments and corresponding medical treatment as needed.

Additionally, we offer individualized treatment to those with developmental disabilities. If you or a loved one is seeking treatment, click here.

One particular crisis that has intensified in conjunction with COVID-19 is the opioid crisis in our home state. This past weekend was the 5th straight weekend with an increased number of overdoses in central Ohio. Here is a link to Naloxone kits, which counteract opioid overdoses, if you or a loved one are in need.

Lastly, if you are seeking out a specific program, you can contact Recovery Choices at: 614-502-7843 and Amethyst at 614-242-1284.

If you are looking to help…

Click this link to donate directly to Alvis, or send a check to Alvis, 2100 Stella Ct, Columbus, OH 43215.

You can also donate items. We’ve created an Amazon Wish List! You can order items to be delivered to us, or drop off items between 9:00am and 3:00pm at 455 E. Mound St., Columbus. 

Simply sending notes, letters, videos, or anything else that could lift our clients up can be sent to 2100 Stella Ct, Columbus, OH 43215, Attn: Development & Communications. Or click here to send electronically.

On Mental Health Month…

Some attention across social media and news outlets has focused on the challenges facing our nation in regards to mental health. A Kaiser Family Foundation Poll, cited by The Washington Post, found that nearly half of Americans have reported that the coronavirus crisis has affected their mental health. Diseases leave lingering psychological and societal effects in a long-lasting shadow. This shadow “often trails the disease by weeks, months, even years. And it receives scant attention compared with the disease, even though it, too, wreaks carnage, devastates families, harms and kills.”

So, what can we do to help? The 2020 theme for National Mental Health Month is “Tools 2 Thrive.” You could check out info about this year’s theme on Mental Health America’s website, which offers links to printable handouts and information on working through feelings and emotions in healthy ways, connecting to others, and establishing healthy routines.

There are also plenty of other great mental health organizations and advocacy groups, such as NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), which has begun its “You are Not Alone” campaign, crusading against the idea that anyone is truly alone during this time. Even if we cannot physically be close, now is a suitable time (if you can) to check in with friends and family. And it’s also important to recognize that no one “should feel alone or without the information, support and help they need.”

Silence the Shame Day is similarly about spreading awareness. The best thing that organizations can do right now is provide resources and encourage open conversation about mental illness, so that nobody suffers in silence.

Alvis practices integrated behavioral healthcare to best serve our clients, who have a wide array of different needs that arise from the challenges they face. We are taking this time to prioritize both physical and mental health, mirroring the sentiments expressed by NAMI and Mental Health America. Our clients are not alone in their battles involving mental health, and our treatment continues to aim at helping clients turn their 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.

Randy Kirby brings his love of music to volunteering

Randy on bass

Randy Kirby came to Alvis to share his love of music with our clients. Music is in his DNA. He is a talented multi-instrumentalist who is married to a classically trained pianist. All five of their children play a variety of instruments as a result of being taught by their parents. What Randy loves the most, though, is teaching music to others and seeing the lights go on when someone “gets it.”

Now that his kids are older, Randy had a little more time. His love of teaching music brought him to Alvis as a volunteer. He is working with men in our programs for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD). He teaches them piano, guitar and/or bass guitar, depending on their area of interest. Randy is personally a fan of 1960s Rock and Roll and blues from about any era. For many years when he lived in the Cleveland area, Randy played in “Club Sandwich,” a Beatles cover band.

Randy on piano

He first started working with the IDD clients in the fall of 2019. He loves their enthusiasm for learning and watching them figure stuff out. But Randy also admits he’s had to learn to be more patient and go slower when a client doesn’t want to move ahead at his typical pace. “I meet them where they’re at,” he says.

The Alvis clients couldn’t ask for a more upbeat, energetic and caring teacher. “There’s so much more that’s positive about music than just learning to play,” says Randy. “It boosts a person’s confidence because it’s like learning another language.” He also notes, “Music can be a way for some people to process their emotions.” Randy treasures the time he spends at Alvis and insists he gets more out of volunteering than he gives. “Watching them grow and stretch is a great feeling. I’m lucky to be part of it.”

Thank you, Randy, for volunteering and helping to turn lives around!

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience. We believe in the power of second chances and coming together as one community to affect change. With our reentry, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, workforce development, family and children services, and the community, we can make a lasting 180 impact. Learn more about Alvis and how you can get involved at www.Alvis180.org.

Nationwide’s All Women’s Associate Resource Group (AWARG) Community Impact Team

Joyce, Teri, Stephanie, Kristen, Lisa, Madeleine, Melissa, Margie

Nationwide’s All Women’s Associate Resource Group (AWARG) Community Impact Team volunteers to help women at Alvis

Alvis makes it easy for us to work together and the clients have just oozed gratitude.

It all started when the All Women’s Associate Resource Group (AWARG) Community Impact Team at Nationwide wanted to do a Mother’s Day project about this same time last year. “As a woman-centered group the AWARG wants to uplift, empower and be there for other women,” said Joyce Schott, a member of the group and a Specialist, Technology Analyst at Nationwide. They floated some ideas among themselves which centered on providing feminine hygiene products, since they are necessary and rarely thought of when making donations. The AWARG decided to do a “Pack a Purse” drive. Women from Nationwide donated new and gently used purses as well as hygiene items (shampoo, lotion, candy, body spray, etc.) for the purses. They got an incredible response and were able to pack 110 purses full of items and had some extra purses and items left over.

When deciding where to donate the purses, Joyce remembered hearing about Amethyst, an Alvis recovery program. A program participant had previously spoken at an event and it had really left an impression on her. Knowing that many Amethyst clients were also mothers was meaningful to many AWARG members who, as mothers, could empathize with wanting to be there for your kids. (Amethyst is one of just a few behavioral healthcare treatment programs in which children up to age 18 can live with their mothers while the mother is in treatment.) Joyce contacted Alvis and found the staff was excited, organized and very helpful. Needless to say, the purse donation was very much appreciated by the Amethyst women.

When the holidays came around, Joyce and the AWARG wanted to work with Alvis again. This time they learned about the CHAT program. CHAT is a recovery housing program for women who are in treatment and recovering from substance abuse and involvement in human trafficking. Upon hearing the description of the program and learning that the ladies had no holiday plans, the group immediately decided to adopt the CHAT women for the holidays.

Once again, the women at Nationwide showed up to contribute to women in treatment at Alvis. The AWARG put together bags of goodies containing fuzzy socks, hygiene items, blankets, cups, journals, pens, etc. They also brought items for the house like cards, games, books and art supplies. A group of volunteers delivered the gifts to the CHAT house and had a small party. “It was such a privilege to be invited into their home and share a bit of holiday spirit,” said Joyce. The volunteers and clients worked side by side to decorate cookies and make decorations and other holiday crafts. “The CHAT house gave me goosebumps,” said Joyce. “When we’re volunteering, it makes a huge difference to be able to interact with the people we’re serving, instead of just buying things or doing some project where you don’t see the people the project is intended to help.” The group has also appreciated that they weren’t dropped into a cookie cutter project – they were able to connect to a volunteer opportunity that really spoke to their hearts.

Earlier this year, AWARG Community Impact team sent Valentines to the ladies at the CHAT house. The group of women have also become regulars at volunteering in “Hope’s Closet,” a clothing closet for the women and men at Alvis. “One of the things I love about Alvis is how organized and responsive the staff are. Alvis makes it easy for us to work together and the clients have just oozed gratitude.” The group has also learned a lot more about the disease of addiction and how easily addiction can lead to justice involvement.

On behalf of everyone at Alvis, and especially the women at the CHAT House, thank you!!

Alvis is an award-winner 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.

April is Volunteer Month! Meet Nancy, in her own words:

“My name is Nancy Bechtold and I am a retired IT professional. My current hobbies include gardening, reading and volunteering for several worthwhile organizations. My family and friends would probably describe me as outspoken and very opinionated, but also caring and compassionate to those less fortunate. I am very interested in the environment and how to help clean it up for future generations.


I learned about Alvis through Molly Seguin. She was a high school friend of my older daughter and she and her family have volunteered for our Upper Arlington Special Olympics program over the years. My younger daughter participates in the Special Olympics program. When I retired several years ago,  I asked her what could I do to help at Alvis. She said that the DD department needed someone to help file paperwork, etc.

For the past several years (I think it’s 3) I  go to Alvis on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 2-4 hours each day.  I perform data entry and filing as well as other office tasks. I  help decorate for the Holiday parties that the staff provides for “the guys”.   It gives me a sense of purpose to help out where I can. I have had the opportunity to meet many of the consumers that Alvis services. Everyone I have met at Alvis is so friendly. I feel that I am part of a team — a team of people who work hard and care so much about what they do.

I believe volunteering is a way to step outside your own cocoon and learn about those who need help. I volunteer for several worthwhile organizations and have had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people.

Alvis is definitely an organization worthy of donations. Alvis programs help thousands of people turn their lives around. I am grateful to be a small part of such a great organization.”

Here it is one of my favorite quotes:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou


Thank you Nancy! We appreciate YOU and all your contributions to Alvis! Happy Volunteer Month!

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.

Internship Awareness Month

In honor of Internship Awareness Month, we did a Q&A with Carolann Gregoire, Practicum Coordinator for the Social and Human Services program at Columbus State Community College.

Meet Carolaan!

What is the importance of an internship?

Students in professional or technical programs need hands on, field work to practice the skills and apply the knowledge they are learning in the classroom. The experiential aspect of learning helps students identify their areas of strengths and areas of improvement.

What are the main benefits both for the students and the employers?

Employers are giving back to the next generation of helpers. Social workers have a duty to help prepare upcoming members of our profession. Interns bring fresh eyes and ears to the experience. Agency staff welcome new perspectives, knowledge, and trends in practice the interns bring from the classroom.

What are some of the value that interns bring to the table?

I love the passion our interns bring to the experience. Their compassion, desire to help, and nervous excitement shows us they’re making the right career choice.

What feedback have you heard from your social work students after their experience doing an internship with Alvis?

What I hear most about internships at Alvis is the significant amount of time they can spend in direct client care. This aspect of practicum is crucial. We and the students are very appreciative of the ample opportunity to improve their helping skills.

Meet volunteer Jill!

  1. Tell me your story: What is your name? What do you do for a living? What are your hobbies? 
    • My name is Jill Robinson and I was born and raised in Columbus. I’m a licensed attorney and spent a number of years in project management. I am currently a Business Operations Consultant for a legal technology company. In my spare time, I love to spend time with my family and this spring I will be working on expanding my vegetable garden. 
  2. How would your friends and family describe you? What are your gifts, interests, and passions? 
    • My friends and family would say I am a passionate and determined leader who cares about others’ needs and stands up for people who need an advocate. I pride myself on my ability to analyze a problem and come up with creative solutions. I’m passionate about helping others achieve their goals. 
  3. How did you learn about Alvis? What is your connection to Alvis?
    • I learned about Alvis through my sister-in-law, Lori Robinson Terry. Lori works at MI and organizes volunteer efforts at MI to benefit Alvis. She introduced me to the organization and I found a place to volunteer at the Community Reentry Center. 
  4. Why did you decide to volunteer for Alvis? 
    • I wanted to spend some time volunteering with formerly incarcerated men and women who are working hard to get reintegrated into the community. With my background as a people manager, I felt that the HIRE program, which provides job readiness training for Alvis clients, was a great use of my skill set. 
  5. How long and how frequently do you volunteer for our mission? Which area of Alvis do you work with? 
    • I have been volunteering a few days a week with the HIRE program in the Community Reentry Center since November 2019. In that role, I help with resume drafting and interviewing skills. Every Thursday, I do mock interviews with the men’s class and provide them with written feedback on what they did well and what to change for their next interview. I also present to the class weekly on goal setting. 
  6. What is your favorite thing about volunteering with Alvis? What have you gained from volunteering with our community?
    • My favorite thing about volunteering with Alvis is connecting with the Alvis clients. Every person I have worked with is engaged and working hard to create a new life for themselves despite the many obstacles they are facing. I’ve been welcomed warmly by the HIRE team – Terrance, Daniel, Amy and Nikki – and encouraged to share my perspective with the class. I’ve learned so much from them and feel privileged to support their work. 
  7. How important do you believe volunteer work is in our community?
    • I consider volunteering in the community to be better described as neighbors helping neighbors. We all have a responsibility to one another. Our successes and our failures are tied to each other. Everyone has something to offer – time, skills and abilities, or resources. By sharing with each other, we become a stronger community. 
  8. Any advice for those who are contemplating the idea of volunteering? 
    • Go for it! Each of us has the ability to make a positive impact on our community or on another person’s life. Even the smallest of gestures can have a huge impact. 
  9. Do you recommend Alvis to others as a charitable organization to donate? Why?
    • Yes! Alvis helps so many people in our community. Many of the Alvis clients are starting a new chapter in their lives. Some of them are rebuilding their lives from scratch. The Alvis staff provide as much support as they can, but they cannot do it alone. Our community involvement through donations and volunteering gives Alvis clients the best chance at success. And every person deserves that. 
  10. Any favorite quote? 
    • “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot
  11. Any message you would like to send to our clients?
    • You have an opportunity in this moment to create the life you want to live. Whatever goals you have for yourself, you can achieve. You have so much to offer! You have skills. You are talented. And I believe in you. 

Thank you so much Jill! We appreciate you and love having you with us!

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.

We are In This Together

Today we wanted to share with you why Alvis’ Family & Children’s Program is so important, especially in this time. To do that, I want to tell you about Kevin*.

Kevin is a smart fifth-grader whose mother is going through recovery and reentry programming. He’s probably one of the smartest kids in our program – you’d really enjoy talking to him and discovering his hidden genius. Like all the kids we serve, he has some challenges due to his background, what with having a parent that was incarcerated and not present for some of his youth.

Kevin has told us that he doesn’t believe anyone cares for him. This smart, precious kid believes he was a mistake. That he’s unwanted. My heart broke a little upon hearing that.
But it reminded me again why Kevin needs us, and especially the Family & Children’s Program. Kevin, his siblings, and his Mom are all getting the counseling and support they need to overcome the challenges and stigma of incarceration, mental health, substance abuse, and other trauma. His Mom participates in parenting classes, recovery groups, and individual therapy. Kevin gets personal attention as well as the support of other kids who have experienced the same things.

Now with COVID-19 impacting our community, his Mom, who is in recovery, is facing extraordinary stressors. The kids are home all day and they can’t go anywhere. Employment and money are tight. Food may be limited. Surviving each day is the goal. It’s hard to survive this time, but even harder with addiction and trauma in the mix.

This is why we must come together as a community. Together, with your help, Kevin and his family can continue their successful road to recovery, reentry, and family unification. Here’s what you can do to help the most vulnerable in our area overcome the heightened challenges that COVID-19 has placed on them:
Help Kids Like Kevin Feel “We Are In This Together”

Donate funds. Make a tax-deductible donation online at alvis180.org/donate or write a check to Alvis, 2100 Stella Ct, Columbus, OH 43215, with ‘Family & Children’ in the memo.
Donate activities. Keep these kids engaged, active in learning, and safe at home by donating a game, book, puzzle, or outdoor activity for ages 2-15. You can either drop off your donation weekdays between 9:00am to 3:00pm at 455 E. Mound St, Columbus, OH 43215 OR click here to go to our Amazon Wish List to have your donated item(s) sent directly to us. Contact Maddy at Madeline.O’Malley@alvis180.org with any questions.
Send an encouraging message to the families: Send drawings, letters, notes of encouragement, or motivational video messages! It could be a great family project. Email them to social.media@alvis180.org or mail them to 2100 Stella Ct, Columbus, OH 43215, Attn: Development & Communications

Any donation, letter, or contribution helps. You may feel it’s small, but even small impacts make a huge difference over time. Your love and care during this time helps kids like Kevin heal.
Thank you for your compassion for those most in need during this unprecedented time. Feel free to reach out to our staff to learn more about how our essential services have remained open to assist those most in need. Go to alvis180.org to learn more. Follow @180degreeimpact and stay tuned to what is happening and ways to get involved.


P.S. Any donation made by April 24 will be DOUBLED, thanks to a generous donor.


P.S.S. If you give $100 or more, you will be entered into a drawing to win a prize! There are so many reasons to help others, most of all making a difference.

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.

Alcohol Drug Facts

What is alcohol use disorder?

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a chronic relapsing brain disorder characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences. AUD ranges from mild to severe.

How does alcohol affects a person’s body?

When people drink alcohol, they may temporarily feel elated and happy, but they should not be fooled. As blood alcohol level rises, the effects on the body—and the potential risks—multiply.

  • Inhibitions and memory become affected, so people may say and do things that they will regret later and possibly not remember doing at all.
  • Decision-making skills are affected, so people may be at greater risk for driving under the influence—and risking an alcohol-related traffic crash—or making unwise decisions about sex.
  • Aggression can increase, potentially leading to everything from verbal abuse to physical fights.
  • Coordination and physical control are also impacted. When drinking leads to loss of balance, slurred speech, and blurred vision, even normal activities can become more dangerous.

Consuming a dangerously high amount of alcohol can also lead to alcohol overdose and death. When people drink too much, they may eventually pass out (lose consciousness). Reflexes like gagging and breathing can be suppressed. That means people who have had too much alcohol could vomit and choke, or just stop breathing completely. Vulnerability to overdose increases if the teen is already on a sedative-hypnotic (such as Valium, Xanax, or Benadryl) or pain medication.

What are the negative consequences of underage drinking?

Underage drinking poses a range of risks and negative consequences. It is dangerous because it:

Causes many deaths

Based on data from 2006–2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that, on average, alcohol is a factor in the deaths of 4,358 young people under age 21 each year. This includes:

  • 1,580 deaths from motor vehicle crashes
  • 1,269 from homicides
  • 245 from alcohol poisoning, falls, burns, and drowning
  • 492 from suicides

Causes many injuries

Drinking alcohol can cause kids to have accidents and get hurt. In 2011 alone, about 188,000 people under age 21 visited an emergency room for alcohol-related injuries.

Impairs judgment

Drinking can lead to poor decisions about engaging in risky behavior, including drinking and driving, sexual activity (such as unprotected sex), and aggressive or violent behavior.

Increases the risk of physical and sexual assault

Underage youth who drink are more likely to carry out or be the victim of a physical or sexual assault after drinking than others their age who do not drink.

Can lead to other problems

Drinking may cause youth to have trouble in school or with the law. Drinking alcohol also is associated with the use of other drugs.

Increases the risk of alcohol problems later in life

Research shows that people who start drinking before the age of 15 are 4 times more likely to meet the criteria for alcohol dependence at some point in their lives.

Interferes with brain development

Research shows that young people’s brains keep developing well into their 20s. Alcohol can alter this development, potentially affecting both brain structure and function. This may cause cognitive or learning problems and/or make the brain more prone to alcohol dependence. This is especially a risk when people start drinking young and drink heavily.

Is underage drinking a serious health problem?

Underage drinking is drinking alcohol before a person turns age 21, which is the minimum legal drinking age in the United States. Underage drinking is a serious problem, as you may have seen from your friends’ or your own experiences. Alcohol is the most commonly used substance of abuse among young people in America, and drinking when you’re underage puts your health and safety at risk.

Why do teens drink alcohol?

Teens drink for a variety of reasons. Some teens want to experience new things. Others feel pressured into drinking by peers. And some are looking for a way to cope with stress or other problems. Unfortunately, drinking will only make any problems a person has already worse, not better.

Full credits to The National Institute on Drug Abuse Blog Team on this piece.

NIDA. (2020, March 23). National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week® celebrates 10 years. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2020/03/national-drug-alcohol-facts-weekr-celebrates-10-years on 2020, April 1

Reconciliation Day 4.2.2020

As we celebrate #ReconciliationDay today, we share a little behind-the-scene (BTS) raw footage video with one of our clients playing his guitar for us. I particularly remember our interview and how he realized the power and need for reconciliation. Watch it here: https://buff.ly/2JAmt3O

During current social distancing times many of our clients can’t visit with their loved ones. The hardship of our current reality multiplies when we deal with some of the most vulnerable people out there. This is hard on their kids who, again, are separated from their parents. Its also very hard on our adult clients who are battling addiction.

We have new unexpected expenses that came with this pandemic. If you can, please consider a cash donation to Alvis today!

We believe in reconciliation and second chances. We are united, one community, better together.

Another wonderful way to get involved and support our mission is to send inspirational messages! Record or write an inspirational note for our clients who need to stay motivated and on track for recovery. You can also send thank you notes for our staff who continue to take care of our clients’ needs 24/7. They all could use some extra love. Feel free to share your positivity here or send your video and/or email messages to: social.media@alvis180.org

Here is a great quote on this matter: “We are all one, and it’s our job, our duty, and our great challenge to fight the voices of division and seek reconciliation”.

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.

Alcohol Awareness Month

Today marks the beginning of April! In addition to Easter, Second Chance Month, Volunteer Month, Sexual Assault Prevention Month, Internship Awareness Month, National Month of Counselors and Month of Hope, this month is also known as Alcohol Awareness Month.

According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 90% of people with addictions to alcohol, or other drugs begin using substances before age 18, and according to youth.gov, American youth aged 12-20 comprise 11% of the country’s monthly alcohol consumption, and approximately 23 million people over 12 years of age used illicit drugs in 2010. In many cases, addiction begins early in life.

Many of Alvis’ clients have co-occurring substance use disorders and mental health disorders. In the past, a number of them have asserted that one of the most important things they’ve learned through treatment is that they simply aren’t alone. Solidarity and understanding are key in facilitating recovery from substance abuse, but what about prevention?

In terms of Alvis, one of the primary ways we aid in substance abuse prevention is by treating our clients as people without stigmatized pasts, because of how early addiction may develop. We believe that a person’s potential is more important than their past, and our vision is of a future when communities believe this, too. We can decrease substance abuse in our communities through continuing reentry programs like Alvis, which shatter the boundaries between those with justice system involvement and the greater community. By reducing stigmas, advocating for support systems, and shifting attitudes surrounding the negative effects of addiction, we can make it easier for individuals suffering from addiction or substance abuse to seek help.

Alvis also takes measures to specifically prevent substance abuse through our Family and Children’s Program. Across different areas of Alvis, the Family and Children’s Program works to reunite families, motivate youth to pursue education and success, and maintain transparency about the harmful, life-altering effects that drugs can do to one’s life.

While most of the time, Alvis is known for its reentry and recovery programs, many of which include individuals with substance abuse disorders, we also advocate for preventing it from developing in the first place by emphasizing the consequences and impact substance abuse can have, as well as working to reduce the stigmas that prevent healthy discussion and openness from taking place.

It is much harder to face addictions or co-occurring behavioral health disorders alone.

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.

Be an Inspiration

Dr. Acton grew up in a broken and abusive family, living in many places across the country as a child with her brother and single mother. At one point she lived in a tent outside of Youngstown. “Homelessness is an issue that is very near and dear to my heart,” she said on the day Governor DeWine appointed her to be the director of the Ohio Department of Health.

Why are we sharing these facts?

Let me tell you a story.

Most of all of us, the People of Alvis, those who work or donate to Alvis, we have mission driven hearts. Many of us have a connection to someone who has suffered from addiction, some have past justice involvement, others have a connection to someone with a developmental disability and/or understand mental health challenges, and some have experienced the ramifications of growing up in a broken and abusive family.

Alvis is working to give children of parents with challenges like justice involvement & addiction the services and support they need so they can grow up and be safe, stay healthy and inspire others like Dr. Amy Acton.

Social Distancing has added even more anxiety to the lives of the families & children we serve. And the COVID-19 pandemic caused Evening of Light (EOL) our main fundraiser that supports our family programs to be cancelled for the year.

We are here asking for your support. Can you help? Please consider a donation to support these families in need. Donate now!

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.

The Social Work Summary

In our modern society, many people experience a plethora of hardships that can be difficult to tackle alone. These include, but are not limited to, poverty, homelessness, physical or mental illnesses, addiction, and/or developmental disabilities. Individuals who are facing these challenges need to find the right solutions for them. This is where social workers come in!

Social workers are highly trained professionals whose goal is to help those in need conquer obstacles and lead them to an overall improved quality of life. There are over half a million social workers currently active across the nation and the number is quickly rising. In fact, social work is one of the fastest growing careers in the U.S. This profession requires knowledge of human behavior and development and how these can affect one’s interaction with social, economic, and behavioral institutions. Through their active role in a client’s life, they can provide counseling and crises management to those who need a helping hand in coping with the stressors of daily life. 

Social workers can be found in a multitude of venues, including right here in our Alvis community. From schools to hospitals to agencies serving those in need, social workers make up the largest group of mental health service providers in the nation. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there are more clinically trained social workers than there are psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychiatric nurses combined! This surprising statistic has shed a new light on social work. It is now recognized as one of five core mental health professions by federal law. 

Social work requires a certain level of passion for helping people. These professionals tend to be more dedicated to the outcome of their work rather than the income that it generates. The contributions they make to the lives of their clients are invaluable, and so being properly trained to provide these services is a must. Typically, social workers have at least a Bachelor’s degree paired with a significant number of fieldwork hours that have been supervised by a practicing social worker licensed for supervision. Those interested in the profession are all working towards a common goal, and do so within one of the specializations within the field. The National Association of Social Workers has identified 11 of these specializations: 1) administration/ supervision, 2) aging, 3) alcohol/ tobacco/ other drugs, 4) child welfare, 5) health, 6) children, adolescents, and young adults, 7) mental health, 8) private practice, 9) school social work, 10) social and economic justice and peace, and 11) social work and the courts. All of these areas can come with varying duties, and can then move into further concentrated categories that help those interested in the profession choose a specific career. Regardless of specialization, most social workers are required to interview clients; facilitate the development of action plans with ample support and assistance; find legal, housing, employment, and transpiration resources in the community that clients can utilize; and provide crisis interventions. 

Experts have identified five important characteristics of a social worker that are characteristic of success: 1) Patience, 2) Perceptiveness, 3) Dependability, 4) Empathy, and 5) Ability to set boundaries. Great time management skills and effective communication skills are essential components of a successful social worker. In a profession where heightened emotions are commonly present, it is extremely important for practicing social workers to be receptive in order to have an insightful, problem-solving conversation with their client. 

As it is for many of those in helping professions, it is extremely important for social workers to practice self-care. Maintaining personal health is not only essential for the well-being of the social worker, but for their clients as well. Stress and burnouts are likely in such a high intensity profession, so the best way to beat job fatigue is to care for one’s own health in the same manner a social worker cares for the health of their clients. 

Alvis commends social workers for going above and beyond to help those in need, whether it is through direct support or by providing resources to find solutions to complex problems. Social workers are dedicated to bettering their community and facilitating healthier relationships, lifestyles, and practices. Without social workers, many people could not resolve their challenges.

As we celebrate Social Work Month, make sure to stay tuned in to our social media and blog to see some great interviews with leaders in the social work community. They will offer direct insight on the specifics of the profession and in the life at Alvis! 

Meanwhile, check out our newest Social Worker Quiz and see how much you know: https://bit.ly/2UqKYnS

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.

Black History Month 2020

This February at Alvis, we proudly celebrate Black History Month. Black History Month commemorates the pivotal role that African Americans have played in shaping our U.S. history, and allows us time to acknowledge the stories, struggles, and achievements that past and present members of the Black community have experienced.

The 2020 theme for this year’s Black History Month is “African Americans and the Vote,” honoring the 100-year landmark since the 19th Amendment, which granted women across the U.S. the right to vote, and the 150-year anniversary of the 15th Amendment, which gave African American men the right to vote in 1870.

Black History Month Alvis Blog

We thank our incredible African American staff members, clients, and leaders who represent Alvis and its mission to the fullest. 

Some of the talented individuals who have we have previously spotlighted in written pieces include Harry Cox, Keith Stevens, Terrance Hinton, Camilla Jackson, and our President and CEO, Denise M. Robinson. 

Keith Stevens is an Alvis board member, who began connecting with our organization in 2012 through his company, Proteam Solutions Inc. (PSI), in the late 1990s. Stevens previously served on the board of Community Connection for Ohio Offenders, another nonprofit that became a part of Alvis in 2012. He acknowledges the significance of Black mentorship, which he received during his teenage years working for and witnessing a successful Black family-owned business. Seeing people that could relate to him being successful gave him “nuggets of wisdom and the ability to imagine it for himself.”

He also touches on discrimination, finding that while he has faced his share of struggles and experienced racial discrimination firsthand, he encourages those who do experience adversity to “lean into” it, so they may grow and pursue their passions to the fullest—even if that might mean working twice as hard compared to people who do not experience the same hardships.

Harry Cox, Senior Cognitive Behavioral Specialist at Alvis, has directly mentored and served as a role model to our client population. After experiencing the justice system firsthand, he’s dedicated his life to helping others navigate similar challenges and experiences that he did many years ago. In a recent interview, Cox stresses the importance of client-centered therapy. “It’s not about me,” he continues to repeat. “My whole day consists of allowing a person to be themselves. Allowing them to get rid of some of the pain while they’re in the group room.” Our job at Alvis, according to Cox, is to give clients the tools they need to turn their own lives around.


Cox also acknowledges that his job doesn’t end when he leaves the reentry center for the day. After moving to Gahanna, he realized that he was further removed from the experiences of his clients, most of whom resided on Columbus’ East Side. “When I closed my door at night,” he reflects, “I couldn’t see my environment. I couldn’t see my community.” This led him to sell his house in Gahanna and move back to the East Side. Now, he’s involved with a number of local organizations, and engages with the community from the ground floor. “You ever walk into a place and every day you know that it’s going to be a new beginning? Not for you, but somebody else? That’s what I look forward to, walking in here every day.”

In one of our recent blog posts, we spotlighted Dr. Terrance Hinton, Program Manager of Reentry Services at Alvis, who oversees both EDGE and the H.I.R.E. program. The EDGE (Empower Development by Gaining Employment) Program is a five-month program assisting justice-involved individuals to overcome barriers to employment. It is a partnership between Alvis, the City of Columbus, and the Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio (WBDCO).

When it comes to our clients, Hinton holds the same perspective as Cox: “Reentry has always been a part of me, because I value second chances. I believe everyone should be given a second opportunity to become successful and become a productive member of society.” Helping clients unlock their maximum potential is a key motivator for Hinton to get out of bed every day.


Camilla Jackson is a Direct Support Professional (DSP) with Developmental Disability (DD) Services at Alvis. Jackson was recognized in June by the Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities, winning two awards that commend her work as a DSP with Alvis: the Horizon Award and the Constellation Award. The Horizon Award celebrates Jackson’s ability to match people’s interest to events, and helping them expand their horizons, while the Constellation Award credits her capacity in providing opportunities for growth and advancement, helping co-workers become the brightest stars. 

One of the most rewarding aspects of Jackson’s job is simply being there for clients and listening to them. “I make sure that the guys are in good health, make sure they’re safe at all times.” She finds, too, that an essential component of the job is “making sure you treat them right,” and making sure “they have a good day.”

Finally, our President and CEO, Denise M. Robinson, has illustrated through her actions that she not only understands the plethora of key problems facing our community, but that it takes unity, empathy, and understanding to enact any sort of fundamental change. At our recent Amethyst graduation, she perfectly summed up what it means to be a true community advocate, telling graduates to keep us nearby “in case you need to shout down the voice of addiction when it tries to tempt you into returning to old habits,” and to know that they would “always have a personal cheering section” as they continue throughout life’s journey. 

As we celebrate this month, we recognize our own African American staff and leaders, many of whom, like the ones spotlighted above, are performing key roles (on and off the clock) in producing widespread, positive impact throughout the state.

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.

Amethyst Graduation

Celebrating

On February 3rd, we celebrated the graduation of 18 women who completed all 5 levels of Amethyst, an Alvis recovery program. Amethyst has provided treatment services to women and children who need specialized services and a community of support for over 30 years.

A noteworthy fact: this is the largest graduating class that has ever graduated from the Amethyst program!

Linda Janes, Alvis’ Chief Program Officer, welcomed audience members, which consisted of current clients at Amethyst, alumni, and family and friends. The celebration was hosted by State Auto Insurance, who also hosts our annual holiday parties for clients, and generously donated a computer lab for Amethyst. Janes acknowledged Zonta Club of Columbus, a service and advocacy organization whose mission is to empower women. They contribute to Amethyst clients year-long. Studio Fovero Salon and Spa was also recognized for donating hair styling services to graduates.

A special guest in attendance was Judge Paul Herbert, who founded and administers the CATCH Court program in Franklin County. CATCH Court focuses on rehabilitation and reentry services for women trafficking survivors. Three clients graduating from Amethyst are also successful graduates of CATCH Court, and another graduate is a current participant in the program.

When Herbert founded CATCH Court, Amethyst became his first partner. Leaders at Amethyst, like founding mother, Ginny O’Keeffe, helped him understand the significance of clients’ experiences. “This [CATCH Court] is the best thing that happened to me in my career… and maybe, my whole life,” Herbert reflected. “I love each and every one of you, because you’re great.”

“Today is so important, and I want you to really think about how far you’ve come,” echoed Denise M. Robinson, President & CEO of Alvis. “You are different today because you have addressed the demons and the trauma that kept you in the prison of addiction.”

Graduates ranged from ages 28 to 53. Their accomplishments included newfound employment and promotions, regained custody and relationships with their children, exploration of cultural roots, and renewed independence and empowerment. They also overcame a host of challenges, such as intergenerational trauma, homelessness, illnesses, and injuries. Two women even gave birth while in the program.

Following Robinson’s speech was Tori Buck, a Primary Care Counselor at Amethyst who works with the women on a daily capacity. She stressed the importance of support to recovery: “They have all worked so hard to get to this stage. Their journeys came with triumphs, heartbreak, perseverance, and extremely hard work and we could not be more proud of them.” Graduates provided 3 roses to audience members who had guided and loved them throughout their journey. As staff members introduced graduates, it was clear that they had grown on these journeys alongside their clients.

Sharing Stories

Many women overcame personal battles on their journeys with Amethyst. One client, Carla, celebrated her triumph over addiction. From this date, she’s been nearly 2 years and a month clean. “One thing I learned throughout this program was gratitude that I never had before. I never had an appreciation for my life or anything else,” she reflected. “I spent most of my life homeless, but now me and my 5 year old daughter have a home of our own.”

Other clients emphasized the significance of Alvis’ Amethyst staff and community. LaRose, 28, is the youngest graduate in her class. A CATCH Court graduate, she has secured full-time employment and independent housing, rebuilt a relationship with her step-son, and received visitation rights. Her sister, Hollie, a former Amethyst graduate herself, was the one who encouraged LaRose to attend Amethyst and receive help. Hollie runs a non-profit called The Shining Starz, which helps women caught in the throes of addiction, homelessness, and sex trafficking. “CATCH Court saved my life,” she expressed, “and Amethyst showed me how to live life.”

When client, Christine, was recovering at Amethyst, her own son died of an overdose. Additionally, she landed in the hospital for COPD-related concerns. Despite what some would consider to be insurmountable odds, she relied on her community at Amethyst, and her own power, to get her through these experiences. “If it weren’t for Amethyst, I would not be here,” she said. “I was clean in here when my son died. And the first thing I said was, ‘I’ll never go out and use.’” And Christine hasn’t. She’s been sober for 3 years and 9 months, and she recently regained custody of her grandson. “I have a 5-year old grandson who needs me in his life and will never see me take a drink, or use a drug.”

Delisa, a two-time attendee at Amethyst, left the first time to do it “her own way,” focusing less on personal recovery, and more toward fulfilling her court mandate. When that didn’t work, her father helped her move back into Amethyst, and he unfortunately passed away in November. Like Christine, she did not let this tragedy define her ability to recover, resisting the urge to relapse. “I’m glad that Amethyst gave me the foundation to be a healthy adult and be a healthy mom, so that my family could interact as one,” she said. Specifically to the staff in the room, she expressed her gratitude. “Each one of you has touched me. I can really say I have a special connection with everybody.”

Alicia is another client who struggled with the initial addiction battle. “I did not think of myself as an addict. I did not understand what addiction was.” This battle was not without its ups and downs. For Alicia, this meant multiple attempts at getting clean before she could stand before the audience at graduation with the peace and confidence she had attained from her time at Amethyst. She connected her support at Amethyst to her own self-confidence. “I’m so grateful that a staff member told me to shine today. Because I deserve this. My fiancé told me I deserve this. My brother, my sister, they’re here with me today. I am present in my family’s life today. And it’s because of Amethyst, so thank God I made it to Amethyst.”

Self-love and empowerment were present in all of the graduates’ stories, from their words, to their overall demeanor. The emotion in the room was palpable as women shared their own individual experiences, which made real both the immense challenges that addiction and trauma can bring, as well as the shreds of hope that recovery provides.

A Community of Support

Our President and CEO, Denise M. Robinson, visibly moved and proud, summed up the significance of the Amethyst graduation as she concluded her speech. “Because of the Amethyst program, our graduates and current clients have never been alone on the road to recovery, and you never will be. You can carry the positivity and support of this community of recovery with you wherever you go. For the graduates, keep us nearby, in case you need to shout down the voice of addiction when it tries to tempt you into returning to old habits. Know that you will always have a personal cheering section with you as you continue your lifelong journey to reach your highest potential.”

Congratulations to our 2020 graduates of the Amethyst program!

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.

American Heart Month

As American Heart Month of February comes to an end, we want to share some of what we know and see every day inside and out Alvis. 

American Heart Month was established in 1963 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, and first celebrated in February 1964. President Johnson felt strongly about heart disease and believed that United States citizens needed to,  “Give heed to the nationwide problem of the heart and blood-vessel diseases, and to support the programs required to bring about its solution.” Dedicating a month to being aware of cardiovascular diseases provides us all with the opportunity to learn and practice healthier ways caring for ourselves. For more information on American Heart Month, visit this site

Our hearts need just as much, if not more, attention now compared to the time the American Heart Month was established. Roughly every one in four deaths across the U.S. were caused by heart disease in 2015. Across the nation, every 40 seconds, a person has a heart attack. Each minute, someone loses their life as a result of a heart disease-related event. These are staggering statistics and hopefully, raising awareness about the risk factors that cause heart disease can help prevent it in the future. Risk factors include smoking, obesity, diabetes, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet and physical inactivity. Some indicators of heart disease include high blood pressure and high LDL cholesterol.

What can we do? While we can’t change genetic factors that contribute to heart disease, we do have the power to fight heart disease by changing our habits.  We can turn our lives around and reduce our risk by eating a lower fat diet, committing to getting some exercise every day, quitting smoking, etc. 

Alvis is well-acquainted with turning lives around.  An individual in Alvis’ Recovery Choices program learns to treat their addiction by changing the way they think and changing their behavior. In this way, Alvis provides individuals with the tools they need to be successful in a new beginning. 

Taking better care of our bodies and making a commitment to a healthy lifestyle is good for all of us, whether we are working to overcome addiction or working to lower the risk of heart disease. Interested in learning more? We suggest a visit to www.cdc.gov  

American Heart Month, along with a Valentine’s Day celebration, inspired a motivated team of Alvis staff and clients to hold a special Door Decorating Contest in one of our residential reentry centers. Using a heart theme, participants made beautiful door decorations that reflected the stories of their lives with love and pride. You can see how caring and special it was to have such a fun event. Thank you to Deborah Finnegan, Katelyn McKinley, Lisabeth Shepard, Rebecca Neubig and all participants for making this such a nice event!

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 believe a person’s potential is more important 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

EDGE’s Inaugural Kickoff

Alvis’ President and CEO, Denise M. Robinson and Columbus City Mayor, Andy Ginther

“I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. And being with you. And to let you know that your mayor, your city, your county, your entire community is on your side. And that we’re counting on you.”

At the EDGE Program Kickoff on January 16th, Columbus’ Mayor Andy Ginther began his speech with this moving statement, which included the program’s inaugural participants. Ginther’s speech, above all else, defined his own belief in redemption for all human beings, and called upon everyone listening to believe in the power of redemption, too.

Dr. Terrance Hinton, Program Manager of Reentry Services at Alvis, oversees both EDGE and the H.I.R.E. program. The EDGE (Empower Development by Gaining Employment) Program, a five-month program assisting justice-involved individuals in overcoming barriers to employment, is a partnership between Alvis, the City of Columbus, and the Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio (WBDCO).

“Reentry has always been a part of me, because I value second chances,” says Hinton. “I believe everyone should be given a second opportunity to become successful and become productive members of society. I always tell clients that I am not as concerned about their past as I am about their future…. but they must be given the tools and support necessary for becoming successful. I truly believe that clients can turn their lives around 180 degrees and that is what gets me out of bed every morning and excited to come to the Reentry Center.”

A typical day for Hinton includes overseeing day-to-day operations of both programs, coordinating transportation, maintaining client schedules, developing the curriculum, and communicating with case managers, probation officers, and other community partners. At EDGE, clients go through a host of workforce development activities, such as resume development, skills training, and interviewing. EDGE also employs the CBI-Employment Curriculum that is based out of the University of Cincinnati.

Clients must be classified as either Moderate or High-Risk according to the Ohio Risk Assessment System in order to gain entry into EDGE. They are referred through community or case manager supervision. After an initial intake determining eligibility, clients deemed eligible then interview and endure several additional stages before acceptance into the program.

As the kickoff commenced, the room was abuzz with hope and new beginnings. Community leaders from various organizations (listed at the end of this post) circled around side-by-side with EDGE Program participants. Alvis’ CEO and President, Denise M. Robinson, welcomed participants, and acknowledged Mayor Ginther and Lisa Patt-McDaniel, CEO and President of WDBCO.

EDGE is an amended furtherance of Restoration Academy, which began under former Mayor of Columbus, Michael Coleman. This program continues to honor Coleman’s legacy, whilst allowing Ginther to revitalize the program, so it prospers in a way that best serves Columbus’ current challenges and barriers facing justice-involved individuals.

Acknowledging the diligence and tireless efforts of staff to put EDGE together, Robinson emphasized the importance of family to Alvis’ mission: “We still feel like family…that’s one of the things I always stress…we have to be like family. For those of you who are going to take place in the first cohort, you’re going to be our family now.”

Despite her welcoming words, Robinson was still realistic and upfront about the challenges that participants would face. “It’s going to be hard work. And that’s okay. You never appreciate things unless it is hard, so I really want to thank you all for being a part of this cohort.” EDGE has already begun recruiting for its second cohort.

Dr. Patrice Palmer, the doctor working with EDGE’s female client population, understands firsthand the enormity of an opportunity like EDGE, as well as the challenges that participants are likely to face. She herself comes from a history of 20 years in incarceration. Now, she’s made a #180DegreeImpact on her own life, with 18 years of sobriety, 18 years of no criminal activity, 4 college degrees, 3 state licensures, and a full governor’s pardon in the State of Ohio. “If we can restore the value and dignity and worth of a person, we return a more productive citizen back in society,” she emphasized.

“When I look around the room, I see so many people I have a relationship with,” announced Dr. Lewis Dodley, who serves male EDGE participants. He continued to articulate the importance of interacting and sharing experiences with younger people in our communities on a daily basis.

Both Palmer and Dodley meet with clients 2 days a week in empowerment sessions at the Reentry Center.

Asking participants to speak into existence their own power, Palmer flooded the room with inspiration. Phrases like “We will change,” “Second chance,” “I’m worthy,” and “Anything’s possible” were voiced by participants and echoed by Palmer. This theme of empowerment and personal agency is a hallmark of EDGE.

As the EDGE Program is a reentry program, clients are exposed to an extensive curriculum of career-readiness training. EDGE focuses both on personal and professional reentry and growth throughout its cycle.

“Currently our cohort is enrolled in the Career Bootcamp sponsored by Goodwill,” mentions Hinton. “The Boot Camp is a course focused on professional and personal development in which individuals work towards gaining employment through career exploration and workplace skills development. Each participant finishes the course with a completed resume, participates in mock interviews, completes activities utilizing G-Suite including solo and group multimedia presentations, develops personal and career goals, and participates in activities covering personal development, leadership, teamwork, and emotional intelligence.”

Toward the end of Palmer’s speech, she touched on one inherent advantage of the EDGE Program: togetherness. With the broad-reaching support from so many Ohio agencies, participants with EDGE are able to turn around their lives with the built-in community of not

only Alvis, but the entire city as a whole. “I am chosen for change, just like each of you,” Palmer encouraged participants. “One person cannot do it. One agency cannot do it. One government cannot do it. One probational court system cannot do it, because they’re too small. But together, we have the power.”

Hinton strongly believes in the power that individuals have to change their own lives for the better. He’s been working with clients for 2 years at Alvis. “Working in reentry has shaped me because I have been fortunate enough to see many of my former clients make that 180-degree change,” he explains. “I frequently see clients out in the community, and I am always happy to see them working, getting promotions, securing housing, and even going back to school. I recently ran into a former client who is not only working but got reunited with his child and just received his first promotion! It is just a small example of what I see every day at the Reentry Center. I am excited to be a part of the EDGE program and I look forward to seeing our first cohort graduation in a few months!”

EDGE shows promise to give individuals a viable second chance at hope, redemption, and success, so they may access their fullest potential.

Organizations and groups in attendance at the EDGE kickoff included: the City of Columbus, Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio, Columbus Women’s Commission, Primary One Health, Franklin County Reentry Advisory Board, IMPACT Community Action, Franklin County Community Based Correctional Facility, Goodwill Columbus, EDGE program representatives, Franklin County Municipal Court, OhioMeansJobs Columbus-Franklin County, and representatives from Alvis’ programs.

EDGE Program Inaugural Kickoff Event at Alvis

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.

Mental Health Issues in the Criminal Justice System

We’d like to believe prisons are for criminals, mental health facilities are for people with mental illnesses, and the two never meet. Yet the reality is more complicated; our criminal justice system is overwhelmed by people with mental health issues.

Here’s how it works: When most people see a person acting erratically, they call 911. This means that people having a mental health crisis are more likely to be met by police than medical professionals.

Woman hugging her knees in prison cell

Part of being a police officer is de-escalating situations. But police officers are not always adequately trained to do that when dealing with people who are mentally ill. They’re cops, not counselors, after all. So, two million such people are then booked into jails each year, where most don’t receive treatment.

A person living at home with a bipolar disorder doesn’t need permission to take medications that have been legally prescribed for them. Jail inmates, however, may have to go days without essential medication while they wait for a psychiatric evaluation. From jail, many of these people go into courtrooms—when what they need instead are medications, counseling, and mental health services.

If they’re convicted, prison isn’t kind either. Mentally ill inmates tend to stay longer in prison, in part because they sometimes can’t understand the rules. Unfortunately, releasing them doesn’t always help; many become homeless, pop up in emergency rooms, or get arrested again because they don’t have long-term support.

There are ways to better serve people with mental health issues at all levels of the criminal justice system. It starts with informed policing.

Keep on read here for the full article from its original source. “Thank you Ethan Waddell for making this information available to all”.

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 Drugs and Alcohol Facts Week

National Drugs and Alcohol Facts Week Alvis Blog

This week is National Drugs and Alcohol Facts Week.

To observe this week, we want to share some facts:

Every year, 100,000 babies are born addicted to cocaine due to their mother’s use during pregnancy.

90% of Americans with substance abuse problems started smoking, drinking or using drugs before they were 18 years old.

Around 88,000 people die annually from alcohol-related causes.

Alcohol abuse is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. 

These facts should startle you. These statistics wouldn’t be acquired without real people falling prey to addiction and alcoholism. It can happen to anyone.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Hotline: 1-800-662-4357

Our Amethyst program: https://bit.ly/2O12A7R

Take the National Drug and Alcohol IQ Challenge: https://bit.ly/32DV4Fn

Family and Children’s Holiday Cheer Program

“It just gets bigger and bigger every year,” remarks Lori Robinson, Risk Manager of M/I Homes and coordinator of the annual Holiday Cheer Program. Lori, who started this event five years ago as a partnership with Alvis’ Family and Children’s Program, insists that it’s the best thing her organization does all year round, which funds the program through donations. “Our staff gets very energized and excited. My favorite part would have to be seeing the kids’ eyes light up with their gifts.”

The Holiday Cheer Program that Robinson leads began after she met Arlene Reitter, Alvis’ Managing Director of Development and Communications. Getting to know one another at a Community Care Day at United Way seven years ago, Robinson immediately became fascinated and encouraged by the work being done at Alvis.

Thus, the Holiday Cheer Program came into being. Every fall, Alvis arrives at M/I Homes to talk with their employees about the clients who are turning their lives around daily through our Family and Children’s Program. Volunteers from M/I Homes are assigned a family’s wish list for the holiday season. Gifts include items that families would give to each other if they had the means to do so. According to Julie Jansen, Program Manager at Alvis, the lists entail “Something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.” Gifts this year ranged from cozy blankets, to board games, scooters, books, clothes, microwaves, shampoos, and soaps.

Alvis’ Family and Children’s Program serves children and their mothers, with the end goal of bringing families together. Every first and third Saturday, caregiving clients come together for a healthy meal, while spending time with their families. Usually, this involves participating in fun activities and games, and taking lots of pictures. Other special celebrations from this past year that were coordinated with the Family and Children’s Program include Mother’s Day, Easter, the Summer Reading Program, and Thanksgiving.

“The holidays are just a special time,” highlights Priscilla Tyson, Senior Director of the Family and Children’s Program. “They provide a chance for families to reflect on how blessed they are.” In addition to these bi-weekly Saturday lunches, Tyson outlines the other components of the Family and Children’s Program: a parenting component that involves parenting classes and workshops, and a clinical component for parents and caregivers. Additional community support services are offered for all clients to complement their treatment plans; these services are also extended to foster guardians caring for children of mothers undergoing treatment. An Aftercare phase allows mothers the opportunity to continue receiving services for up to 2 years after finishing their treatment through the program.

Saturday’s festive event began with an introduction from Jansen, who took a moment to recognize three recent graduates of the program. They were awarded certificates and commended for their accomplishments in classes, weekly meetings with case managers, and parenting education.

Missy and Ryan

One graduate, Heather, encouraged other women in the room to persevere. “Keep pushing forward, learn everything you can,” she said. “This is a great program—you can learn a lot from it.” Heather’s cousin, Missy, is also currently enrolled in the Family and Children’s Program. “She’s doing well,” Heather said. “She’s getting ready to get her child back, and they’ve had time to bond and get together. These events are the best part.” Missy also attended the celebration with her son, Ryan. Another mom, Amber, returned with her child for this holiday event after completely finishing the Family and Children’s Program. In general, it’s not a rare occurrence for former graduates to return to these special celebrations—this program creates a lifelong community. Terri, another graduate, expressed how vital her family was to her treatment. “I love you guys,” she said, gesturing to them. “Thanks for giving me another chance. This program really worked. This is the right program to be in.” After graduates were recognized, families were treated to a catered holiday meal from Events by Linzy, and Santa’s Helpers (volunteers from M/I Homes) passed out gift bags, candy canes, and took pictures of families with Santa. There were also tables for cookie decorating and holiday mug creations; and a photoshoot with a green screen backdrop, created winter-wonderland themed portraits. Families had lots of fun together!

Marsha, a volunteer who has worked with the Family and Children’s Program since its inception, finds that this event, and the program overall, has led to immense change in clients, who have faced a number of challenges throughout their lives. She is particularly inspired by their resilience, as they strive to make a #180DegreeImpact to help themselves and their families. “They’ve really helped me, too, seeing how they persevere.” With a background in special education, Marsha is comfortable meeting with children at these events and giving them advice, or simply talking to them. She also loves to encourage people to smile. “It’s contagious!” she says.

Ashley, another volunteer attending her third Holiday event with the Family and Children’s Program, also works for Alvis as a Case Manager. “One of my favorite parts about Alvis is reconnecting families and their kids,” she says. “This is the incentive that they need—the ability to reconnect in a safe space.”

Connecting, sharing, and building a community are cornerstones of the Family and Children’s Program at Alvis. We’re so thankful for the donations and volunteers from M/I Homes for making all of this possible and brightening our clients’ and their families’ lives with a lot of holiday cheer!

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.

Happy Holidays from Alvi and all of us!

Happy Holidays from Alvi!

Happy holidays, everyone! This year at Alvis, we are proud to have helped so many clients turn their lives around! We would not be able to do this without our dedicated Board members, dedicated staff, committed leadership, passionate volunteers and interns, and resilient clients.


For many, the holiday season is a time of giving, family bonding, community, and food! For others, the holidays are a time of stress, sadness, and loneliness. For some of our clients, this holiday might be hard, even as a potential source of joy, especially if they are striving to succeed in rehabilitation, self-betterment, substance abuse and mental health treatment, therapy, or other reentry programs, so they may realize their full potential as a person. We keep them in mind as they work toward their recovery.


Alvi wishes all of you a wonderful holiday, and he also thanks everyone who works to make a #180DegreeImpact on their communities. Stay warm, stay safe, and stay supportive!

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.

International Human Rights Day

International Human Rights Day Alvis blog

Happy International Human Rights Day! Today, December 10th, we recognize the unalienable universal rights endowed to humans of all cultural backgrounds. Not only are we called upon to stand up for our own rights, but to defend the rights of others, too.

A key component from Article I of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is that “All human beings are born free & equal in dignity and rights.” According to the United Nations, human rights apply to “race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

Eleanor Roosevelt, former first lady of the United States, headed the drafting committee of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A video displaying the women who led the drafting committee and their contributions to this day can found here.

Alvis believes that each person’s potential is more important than their past. Likewise, we believe that everyone has the right to live their lives to the fullest. These beliefs directly pertain to human rights. Human rights are created so that all have access to the same potential and vast possibilities.

The stigmas that follow individuals with justice involvement, behavioral healthcare needs, and developmental disabilities can severely limit the way that societies view a person’s potential. Rights do not end when someone has made a mistake in the past, and if they are physically or mentally struggling. Alvis is committed to upholding human rights for our clients, and is proud to work with organizations that join our vision of ensuring all human rights, and proper treatment, for everyone in our 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.

International Volunteer Day

International Volunteer Day / Dec 5

Today is International Volunteer Day! Mandated by the UN General Assembly, according to their website, this day fosters the chance for volunteers and organizations to promote their work for communities, NGOs, United Nations agencies, government authorities, and the private sector. It also advocates and encourages volunteerism throughout the world.

The theme of last year’s IVD was “Volunteers Build Resilient Communities.” This focus on communities, which is also apparent in the general mission of IVD, is what Alvis is all about. We strive to create safe, compassionate communities that believe in a person’s potential more than their past. Likewise, we believe in the power of clients to overcome their own obstacles, which is very challenging to do without support.

Alvis treasures its volunteers, who give time, funds, and care toward making an impact in the state of Ohio. Without our volunteers, we would not be able to touch our ever-expanding client populations. We have community volunteers, who directly interact with clients, providing kind, thoughtful interactions, and sometimes, even physical gifts, like the bags that were donated for our Mother’s Day celebration. Additionally, we have employees who go above-and-beyond their stipulated job responsibilities in order to further the positive impact that Alvis makes for its clients, from offering crafting classes, to tutoring clients for the GED Test. Many of our volunteer opportunities that are not directly at locations revolve around our special events. This might mean simply attending events and lending a helping hand, or it might mean providing food, transportation, or activities for clients to these functions.

Other service organizations, such as Columbus Gives Back, The Kiwanis Club of Columbus, and the Ronald McDonald House, seek to better the local community, and organizations like the Human Service Chamber of Franklin County provide opportunities for groups in central Ohio to come together in order to address community issues on a larger scale.

Here at Alvis, we’ve been involved in community outreach with various organizations across Columbus (including some of the above mentioned nonprofits!). Click on this post to see what kinds of outreach our interns performed across Columbus…and learn about how you can make a #180DegreeImpact on your community with Alvis here!

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.

International Day of People with Disabilities

Today is International Day of People with Disabilities!

Established in 1992 by the United Nations, the International Day of People with Disabilities aims to advocate for the rights and well-being of those living with any and all disabilities. Specifically, the UN wishes to promote the rights of disabled persons in every social, political, economic and cultural sphere.

This year, the International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPD) has chosen the theme of leadership, including taking action in the 2030 Development Agenda. The UN wishes to empower persons with disabilities for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development pledges to be entirely inclusive and recognize disabilities as cross-cutting issues. The UN’s efforts to make their organization an inclusive place should be a testament to how all international organization should strive for accessibility and equality.

In line with the United Nation’s efforts to be fully inclusive, we here at Alvis believe the world should be more inclusive to the disabled workforce. All of these possible employees have the potential to add a unique perspective to your workforce with their individual talents. We appreciate and value the talent and hardwork our DD employees add to our workforce!

Each client that enters our DD sector will be given an Individual Program Plan (IPP) to assess each client’s individual developmental goals and needs. Throughout a client’s time at Alvis, data is constantly recorded and retrieved in order to adapt the IPP. Residential care is possible through Wittwer hall, where adult males can receive crisis counseling, medical monitoring, vocational training, EQUIP and many more services.

 Developmental Disability clients can also partake in our behavioral intervention programs, which aim to help those with addiction. Clients can also learn more about job readiness, obtaining work and the work environemnt. Alvis aims to make clients employable by the end of their time in the program. If clients feel they still need additional help after completion, they can opt for supported living. This way, clients can live independently with assistance from staff

To read more on the UN’s inclusion efforts → https://bit.ly/37BXcBm

Take the quiz about our DD program here → https://bit.ly/2KU0u9d

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.

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays Alvis Blog post

Happy holidays, everyone! This year at Alvis, we are proud to have helped so many clients turn their lives around! We would not be able to do this without our dedicated staff, committed leadership, passionate volunteers and interns, and resilient clients.


For many, the holiday season is a time of giving, family bonding, community, and food! For others, the holidays are a time of stress, sadness, and loneliness. For some of our clients, this holiday might be hard, even as a potential source of joy, especially if they are striving to succeed in rehabilitation, self-betterment, substance abuse and mental health treatment, therapy, or other reentry programs, so they may realize their full potential as a person. We keep them in mind as they work toward their recovery.


Alvi wishes all of you a wonderful holiday, and he also thanks everyone who works to make a #180DegreeImpact on their communities. Stay warm, stay safe, and stay supportive!

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.

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Alvis Blog post

Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving centers on good food (lots of it!), family, friends, and gratitude. Many of our clients are motivated to go through recovery in order to reunite with their families. Still, others may not have families to go home to, but they’ve found a supportive community here at Alvis. Whatever the case, Thanksgiving encourages us to be thankful, and Alvis has an abundance of things to be thankful for.

We provide programs in five distinct areas, and we would not be able to do this without everyone that contributes to making Alvis an internationally-recognized human services agency. Our five areas include:

o Individuals who have become involved in the criminal justice system.

o Individuals with significant barriers to employment.

o Individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and behavioral challenges.

o Individuals in need of integrated behavioral healthcare treatment services.

o Families, especially children, impacted by their loved ones’ justice involvement, developmental disability and/or behavioral healthcare needs.

We thank our donors who fund us, so we are able to provide all of these programs that best serve our client base. We also thank organizations that fund these programs and other community efforts to bring about positive social change, like the ADAMH Board, which sponsored our SummerQuest camp, and the Kiwanis Club of Columbus, which sponsored our Father’s Day Celebration.

We thank our dedicated, passionate staff who work in the areas of behavioral healthcare, corrections, developmental disabilities, employment services, family and children’s services, facilities, and the offices here at Stella. These people are the backbone of all of our services and programs.

We thank all of our community partners and other nonprofits that work alongside us in our goal to create stronger, safer, supportive communities.

We thank government officials and individuals serving in the judicial system for working with us to create programs and plans allow our clients to receive care at Alvis in the first place.

We thank our Executive Management Team, the Board of Trustees, and the rest of the senior management at Alvis for leading us to expand across the state with new, pioneering programs that offer reliable, evidence-based services.

Finally, we thank our clients, who have shown us what true strength, determination, and perseverance looks like, as they turn their lives around and give back to the community with their skills, talents, and resolve to make a difference with a #180DegreeImpact.

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 Campaign Ambassador Kit

What is the best way to reach your friends? Email? Social Media? Messenger? Text? Whatever it is, we got you covered. We are #BetterTogether. Thank you for your support! Here we go…

Email Template:

Dear Friends,

We have two days for getting deals: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On #GivingTuesday, we have a day for giving back to our community. Giving is the reason for the season, after all. Kick off the beginning of giving season with #GivingTuesday on December 3rd.

This year, I am supporting Alvis for #GivingTuesday. This organization helps to make #180degreeimpact in our community. They provide services in residential reentry, developmental disabilities supported living, workforce development, mental health & addictions treatment, and family support.

Can you help our clients #RewriteTheStory and turn lives around? Here is how you can help:

1. To donate online click here: https://alvis.kindful.com/?campaign=1045825
or text TUESDAY to 614-881-2733

2. Forward this email to your contact list

3. Share Alvis’ social media posts and use the hashtags: #RewriteTheStory along with #180degreeimpact

Social Media Post Option 1:

#GivingTuesday is just around the corner! Join me on December 3rd as I support Alvis and help people in our community. This holiday season, more than ever, we need to give our community the gift of rewriting their stories. To learn more about this award-winner non-profit, follow @180degreeimpact

Donate online at https://alvis.kindful.com/?campaign=1045825 or text TUESDAY to 614-881-2733

#GivingTuesday #RewriteTheStory #180degreeimpact

Social Media Post Option 2:

Mark your calendars! #GivingTuesday is December 3rd! Join the movement and support Alvis as they help to improve the holiday season for those recovering for addiction, handling a disability or reentering into our community. Donate online at https://alvis.kindful.com/?campaign=1045825 or text TUESDAY to 614-881-2733

Social Media Post Option 3:

The holiday season is a difficult time for those struggling to maintain their economic independence. Alvis helps those who are recovering from addiction to obtain their own economic independence and stability. Help those who need it most this holiday season by donating to Alvis this #GivingTuesday

Help those in need rewrite their story! Donate online at https://alvis.kindful.com/?campaign=1045825 or text TUESDAY to 614-881-2733

Social Media Post Option 4:

I donated to Alvis for #GivingTuesday. My donation to Alvis helps fund their mental health & addictions treatments, and family support services. We are #BetterTogether

Help those in need rewrite their story! Donate online at https://alvis.kindful.com/?campaign=1045825 or text TUESDAY to 614-881-2733

Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday at Alvis

Next week is Giving Tuesday! 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. Stay tuned for more info about our #RewriteTheStory Campaign.

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 meals at the Reeb Avenue Center, helping with fitness activities at Senior Health and Fitness Day at Nationwide Arena, among others. 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 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.

Want to donate cash to our Giving Tuesday campaign? please click here: https://alvis.kindful.com/?campaign=1045825 or text TUESDAY to 614-881-2733.

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. Let’s help #RewriteTheStory

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.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Today, November 25th, is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The main aim of this day is advocacy. According to the United Nations, who issued the Declaration of the Elimination of Violence Against Women in 1993, 71% of all human trafficking victims worldwide are women and girls, and ¾ of them are sexually exploited. A couple more staggering statistics: 1 in 3 women experience sexual or physical violence in their lifetime (usually from an intimate partner) and only 52% of women married or in a union freely make decisions regarding their own sexual relations, contraception, and reproductive care.

One way you can participate in this day is wearing orange, which Say NO – UNiTE practices on the 25th of every month to advocate and spread awareness of global issues that women face. Letting others know of the issues that women face worldwide (including intimate partner violence, sexual violence and harassment, human trafficking, female genital mutilation, and child marriage) is key in sparking the flame for change in our institutions and societal treatment of women. This is both a domestic and a global issue, as even in the United States, there are an estimated 1.5 million victims of human trafficking in the United States, though this number is likely higher.

Creating real change entails involvement from governments and institutions, and over time, we have seen an increase in government action in the fight against human trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual violence. However, we still have a long way to go. Many sex-trafficking victims, for example, are seen as criminals, and fear law enforcement because they are committing a crime, which is prostitution. Shifting the worldwide attitude to recognize all forms of human trafficking as modern-day forms of slavery is necessary in reducing any stigmas that people are holding onto.

Alvis, whose clients involve human trafficking survivors, has committed to joining the fight against human trafficking through many of our community-based efforts. Our CHAT House, which specifically houses survivors of sex trafficking, aims to provide the proper resources and reentry services so women may move past their traumatic experiences. Many of these women are graduates of the CATCH Court, which is a creation of Judge Paul Herbert that focuses on rehabilitation and reentry services for women trafficking survivors.

Our trauma-informed care also serves women who have undergone various forms of physical and psychological violence, and our entire organization has moved toward a behavioral healthcare model over the years to best serve the needs of our clients. Amethyst, an Alvis recovery program, is another center of hope for women in need of integrated behavioral healthcare treatment services.

Many of our residences and reentry locations are places of safety and support for women who need empathetic, person-centered care. We applaud the efforts that other organizations and individuals are doing to help female survivors of violent acts, and we commit ourselves to this battle in our own community.

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.

Rewrite The Story, an Alvis Giving Tuesday Campaign

Rewrite the story an alvis giving tuesday campaign

Most Americans know someone who lost a loved one from addiction. In 2017 alone, 19.7 million American adults battled a substance use disorder (via Americanaddictioncenters.org). Addiction not only consumes and affects those that are addicted; it affects all loved ones of that individual. People see how addiction affects those around them and want to know how to help. Prompted by #GivingTuesday, one could even decide to donate in order to contribute to the halt of this epidemic. It is one thing to for people to open their wallets for a single day of change, then to view themselves as tools of lasting solutions for community change. On December 3rd, we at Alvis encourage you to not only donate, but to understand what it means to give back to those who suffer from addiction and its consequences.

Giving Tuesday allows 7,000 change-making partners to join together for a national day of giving. People are encouraged to donate money, but are also encouraged to donate time, talent, knowledge, education and resources. Short- term charity is a one-time event; when you give all of yourself to your community, you become an integral part of the community solutions.

We at Alvis make a 180 degree impact. We help those struggling with addiction recovery, developmental disabilities, or reentering their communities after incarceration. Our endeavors require enormous amounts of funding, in terms of money and also man power. Donations get the bread on the table, but volunteering passes it out. Both turn our gears, and both are essential to our mission.

When we bring together all of our collective donations, we can accomplish anything that needs doing. We have seen our successes in Brittany, who beat addiction and is getting her children back from the foster system. Another success story at Alvis is seen in William, a developmentally disabled man who made mistakes, but evolves everyday into a new man by working through Alvis. 

Success stories such as these prove that the best is definitely yet to come. We here at Alvis believe in those who push for change in themselves and their communities. And that’s why we advocate for you to donate not only your money, but your time. Your passion. Your advocacy.

Live everyday feeling as though you’re a part of a message larger than any of us. Be a part of the revolution of what it means to truly give back. Help those in need rewrite their stories.

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.

Universal Children’s Day

Happy Universal Children’s Day! UNICEF calls upon us all to wear blue on this day in support of children’s rights, and to sign the petition, which promotes non-negotiable children’s rights everywhere. You can find the petition here.

According to UNICEF, 262 million children and youth are out of school, 650 million girls and women were married before their 18th birthday, and 5.4 million children died from mostly preventable causes before their fifth birthday.

In 190 countries and territories, UNICEF works to help children overcome poverty, violence, disease, and discrimination. More specifically, UNICEF also works to ensure that girls have access to primary education, and children are immunized and protected from preventable illnesses.

This day reminds parents, too, of how important children are as a collective demographic. Much of Alvis’ work revolves around reuniting families and helping clients undergo the necessary recovery care and treatment, so they may connect with their loved ones.

Parents can make a significant impact on their children’s lives, and our Family and Children’s Program has specifically worked to create events like the Smart Cookie Awards for our Summer Reading Program, which encourages academic success for kids whose moms are in one of our 10-week programs. Amethyst, an Alvis recovery program, also allows children, who live in residences with their mothers, to receive care and linkage to necessary to resources as their moms are undergoing recovery. These services include IEPs and other individualized education plans for their learning, healthcare, and wellness—they are also able to partake in the summer camp put on by Amethyst, called SummerQuest.

Alvis joins the rest of the world in universalizing care for children, and prioritizing the issues they face, so that they may have bright, promising futures ahead of them.

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 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 has spent the last 43 years of his life in prison.  

Wendell 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 forms 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 enjoying and embracing their lives that involved 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 his 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 prison was a “badge of honor” to so many of the people in his life at that time 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 my 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 Ohio’s overall 30% recidivism rate 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, an Alvis operations manager, told him, “we are going to give you all the opportunity in the world to succeed and see what you do with it.”

Community programs such as Touch have also 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.

5 Steps to Healthy Living

It’s no surprise to anyone that sitting five days a week in a nine to five job takes a toll on your health. Being pulled in a million different directions also makes it hard for a person in modern-day society to make their health a priority. Through healthy eating and incorporated exercise, read on to learn how to make healthy happen in this crazy busy life!

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  1. Pay attention to your posture Since the beginning of time, we have all been nagged by our grandmothers to sit up straight. We all subconsciously know the value of good posture. But do you know what good posture means? Well, for starters, your computer screen should be an arm’s length away from you, and the top of your monitor should be level with your forehead. Your elbows should be bent at your side at a right angle. Your hips and knees should also be at right angles when sitting. Your feet should lay fat on the floor. To read more about good posture at a desk job, click here.
  2. Move when you can Taking the stairs instead of the elevator can make you feel more awake and raise your heartrate. Standing when doing mundane tasks in your office can increase blood flow. Going to the gym during your lunch break can invigorate you for the rest of your workday. All of these activities are simple steps in adding movement to your day!
  3. Meal Prepping Every Instagram model has boasted of her super successful meal prepping journey. It may shock you to hear this, but she might have the right idea. Meal prepping can make weekday meals easier and less stressful for you and your family. If you are a person who cannot eat the same thing every night for a week, try meal prepping roasted vegetables or other healthy sides. Taking at least a little stress out of your food preparation can help you to feel more in control.
  4. Pack your lunch Everyone tells you to pack your lunch, but buying Chipotle during your lunch break is just so much easier. And often, the easier choice is the most difficult to avoid. To make improvements to your health, however, you must choose to path less traveled. After all, putting effort into things you want to change is the only way to get it accomplished. 
  5. Time manage your workouts Working out during the week seems outright impossible. We suggest, however, that you plan out your workouts in your planner! When you force yourself to carve out the time to work out, you are so much more compelled to actually follow through with it.

Although everything is easier said than done, we believe that small steps in the right direction are better than no progress at all. In terms of healthy living, it can be an entire lifestyle change. By pushing yourself to make tiny changes every day, you can start on your track to a healthy life.

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

October 17th is International Day for the Eradication of Poverty!

Poverty is constructed from a variety of factors, not all solely “economical.” There are many ways that governmental and societal systems contribute to poverty; the UN outlines six specific ones: dangerous work conditions, unsafe housing, lack of nutritious food, unequal access to justice, lack of political power, and limited access to health care.

Because of these many contributors to poverty, it can seem overwhelming to tackle it as a global issue. Alvis contributes to lessening poverty in Ohio, but we specifically do this for our clients and the families of clients that we serve. Poverty effects so many people, and while Alvis’ services may not be the right ones for some families, other nonprofits, like the Reeb Avenue Center, directly work with disadvantaged people in providing them food, education, job training (which is actually serviced by Alvis!), themed courses, recreational activities and an overall end goal of allowing residents of Columbus’ South Side to live self-sufficiently, while also recognizing the power of coming together as a community.

This day connects to Alvis, as we are a nonprofit committed to both bettering our communities, and turning lives around. Our client populations involve individuals with justice system involvement, significant barriers to employment, developmental disabilities, and integrated behavioral healthcare needs. We also serve families, especially children, impacted by their loved ones’ justice involvement, developmental disability and/or behavioral healthcare needs.

It is important to note that these above mentioned populations are at an increased disadvantage if they of a lower income status. Housing, nutritious food, and health care cost money, and when people do not have access to basic resources, they will be more likely to have untreated medical conditions, or they may resort to means that classify them as offenders of the justice system, which can lead to a lack of employability. Alvis understands this, as a percentage of our clients come from or have fallen into poverty. Justice system involvement, substance abuse, lack of employability, unaddressed behavioral health concerns, and impoverished families are related, and cyclical. Many Alvis clients, in fact, are involved in more than one of these programs during their time with us. If our clients are able to go through treatment to get the proper healthcare, education, and employability to go back into the community, they can attain the tools needed to escape this cycle of poverty.

By normalizing and supporting reentry organizations like Alvis, communities can help those who are affected by some of the consequences of poverty. Governments can do this, too, by proposing, adopting, and enforcing criminal justice reform legislation, and allowing those in need to find the means necessary to rise above their circumstances and live full lives.

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 Mental Health Day

Around the world, today is a very special day: World Mental Health Day! Celebrated on the 10th of October, the World Health Organization stipulates that this day calls attention to raising global awareness of mental health issues and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. Additionally, this day offers the opportunity for organizations working in the realm of mental health the chance to expound on their work and advocate for areas of mental health based on their own findings and experiences.

Alvis offers a host of different mental health services for clients. Our primary departments of care in mental health are located in our community reentry programs, behavioral health programs, and developmental disabilities services. In general, most of our programs offer mental health treatment, even if the program is not specific to behavioral healthcare.

Reentry services for individuals with past justice system involvement include mental healthcare; all treatment plans are highly individualized, aligning with our mission to provide prime person-centered care. Some clients may have struggles with addiction, in addition to potentially needing job training and skill-building workshops. For example, our POWER program, which is specifically designed for individuals with both an addiction and past justice system involvement, offers medically-assisted healthcare and therapy so clients can battle addiction in a supportive community of peers and staff.


Integrated behavioral healthcare services at Alvis include the Amethyst program and Recovery Choices. The Amethyst program specifically serves women with co-occurring behavioral health disorders. Co-occurring, in this context, refers to individuals with both addiction and mental health disorders. Mental health and addiction are, often times, related. The disease of addiction causes depressive syndrome, and often times, it begs the question of which came first. Women at Amethyst are given individualized treatment plans, and receive medically-assisted treatment, along with counseling and group therapy to bring them on the road to recovery. For more information about Amethyst’s model of integrated behavioral healthcare, click here. Recovery Choices similarly provides integrated behavioral healthcare for clients that live in Alvis’ residential locations. Clients receive transportation to reentry locations, where they engage with integrated behavioral healthcare and other treatment needs.

In an interview with Dr. Shively (information can be found here), he also outlines the direction that Alvis is taking in adopting a behavioral healthcare model for virtually all of its programs, and the way that Alvis prioritizes the mental health of its employees, too.

Managing mental health is integral to personal wellbeing, and we are thankful for World Mental Health Day, which gives organizations and resources a platform to impact people worldwide.

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.

Child’s Health Day

Child's Health Day Alvis Blog

Child’s Health Day 

Happy Child’s Health Day! Celebrated the first Monday of every October, this day draws attention to ways that we can prioritize children’s health. This day calls upon all of us to assess our own awareness regarding child health and welfare, so we are positive resources for them as they go through their lives. 

Many organizations are involved with children’s health, and the Human Resource and Services Administration (HRSA) specifically offers educational resources for preventative measures that can be taken to combat health issues that children typically face, ranging from fitness to researching healthy diets. The Maternal and Child Health Library similarly promotes nutrition and fitness for children, as well as pregnant women. The HRSA funds and directs the National Survey of Children’s Health, which provides key data to understanding current health trends and issues that children in the nation face. 

At Alvis, we believe in the power of promoting health and wellness for children at an early age. Offering them the resources and know-hows now can make a great impact on their wellbeing later in life. 

Many studies have found the correlation between unhealthiness that tends to result over time from practicing unhealthy habits. While some may find this rather obvious when viewing it from a diet or exercise perspective, others may not realize the impact that drugs and alcohol, especially, can have when abused at a young age. Many of our clients with integrated behavioral health concerns and addiction disorders began using drugs and alcohol from childhood. Drugs and alcohol can greatly impact one’s general health. Even considering how frequent it is for adolescents to drink in college, one study has found a correlation between alcohol and lack of exercise, and general health and cardiovascular health. 

Because drugs, alcohol, and unhealthy choices can generate such a strong impact early in life, Alvis believes in the importance to not only provide services for our clients, but their families and children as well. A person’s potential is more important than their past. This means that we believe in everyone’s power to turn their lives around, and this also means that we believe in the sheer power of potential. Because childhood is such a pivotal moment in one’s development, we strive to educate and provide resources for youth so they may utilize their potential to the fullest. 

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 Smile Day

World Smile Day Alvis Blog

Happy World Smile Day! Today is an opportunity to spread kindness, positivity, and compassion toward others through the simple act of smiling. In making the world a happier place, we can also make ourselves happier. And if you weren’t already smiling from discovering that today is World Smile Day, you may want to smile even bigger after reading this blog post for National Smile Day.

There’s two days of the year that we get to celebrate the power of the smile! However, today is probably even more of an occasion, because it unites the entire world. Alvis is committed to improving lives, and while many of our clients have gone through true struggle and hardship, our goal is to leave them with the means to make a positive impact on themselves, their families, and their community.

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 Custodial Worker’s Recognition Day

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It’s National Custodial Worker’s Day and we want to say: Thank you!

Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas that usually last throughout a person’s lifetime. That definition may seem strange on National Custodial Worker’s Recognition Day, but give us just a minute to explain.

According to the CSG Justice Center, people with developmental disabilities (DD) are overrepresented in jails and prisons and are more likely to be victimized in correctional settings. In studies completed by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance in 2018, people with DDs represent 4-10% of the prison population, and 40% of jail inmates have at least one disability.

Alvis works directly with DD clients, many who have been involved with the criminal justice system. Our staff, such as home managers and DSPs, works with clients that have developmental disabilities and offers resources and individualized support. Alvis also has two social enterprises that were created with the goal of helping clients build work experience, leadership qualities, and financial stability—one with a focus on DD clients.

So, let’s get back to National Custodial Worker’s Recognition Day. At Alvis, we have the best custodial staff around. Transitions is one of our social enterprises in which correctional and DD Services team members complete custodial services in commercial spaces. The enterprise began in 2010 as a training component for clients and then expanded to become an established business in 2014. At its genesis, Transitions was formed because Alvis needed to hire a custodial team, so workers began cleaning Alvis facilities. But the business began growing and secured its first outside contract with a local nonprofit in 2016. The team continues to clean the Community Treatment Center on Livingston Avenue and the Stella Court offices, earning wages and developing essential workplace skills.

Alvis’s Transitions’ DD Services Team, is committed to aiding the DD population. Camilla Jackson, is a Direct Support Professional (DSP) with Developmental Disability (DD) Services at Alvis who was recently recognized by the Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities. She won two awards, the Horizon Award and the Constellation Award, for her exceptional effort as a DSP with Alvis. DD services are central to our outreach and we have gotten to be part of so many client success stories.

If you have a commercial space, are in need of cleaning services, and want to make a positive impact in the lives of these individuals, please contact Ramona Swayne by sending an email to ramona.swayne@alvis180.org. 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 Bullying Prevention Month

National Bullying Prevention Month Alvis Blog

In 2006, the nonprofit PACER founded a campaign called the National Bullying Prevention Month that would take place each October. PACER says, “Historically, bullying had been viewed as “a childhood rite of passage” that “made kids tougher,” but the reality has always been that bullying can leave devastating and often long-term effects such as a loss of self-esteem, increased anxiety, and depression for those involved.”

Alvis is passionate about kids. Our Amethyst Program is focused on helping rehabilitating mothers stay connected with their children. Alvis runs a day camp called SummerQuest that keeps children engaged and safe while their mothers are in treatment, and the Family and Children’s Program offers reading opportunities, games, crafts, and activities bi-weekly. We know that it is important to help parents turn their lives around, but we also want to let the kids know how much we care about them, too.

Being a kid can be hard, and having a parent with justice system involvement can make it even harder.

There are many ways you can get involved in the movement to stop bullying. Many adolescents are sharing their stories by writing an “I Care Because . . .” statement. In these statements, youth around the world share their thoughts and experiences on bullying. One Alvis employee chose to write her own statement.

I used to be a high school teacher. It was almost impossible to see the bullying because everything went on below the surface. But every once in a while, students would tell me their stories. One student said his “friends” kept adding him, then deleting him from a group chat when he wouldn’t do something they asked. One girl sang in a local talent show and the whole room clapped except for a table of kids from her school. Another student was being picked on for being gay and, when she reached out to a school official, was told: “you have to expect that when you put gay pride stickers on your book bag.” I care because kids deserve to be kids.

If you are passionate about ending bullying, PACER leaders say these are the best ways to get involved. We all can help.

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 Substance Abuse Prevention Month

National Substance Abuse Prevention Month Alvis Blog

Today marks the beginning of October! In addition to cider, pumpkin patches, Halloween, and flannels, this month is also known as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month.

According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 90% of people with addictions to nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs begin using substances before age 18, and according to youth.gov, American youth aged 12-20 comprise 11% of the country’s monthly alcohol consumption, and approximately 23 million people over 12 years of age used illicit drugs in 2010. In many cases, addiction begins early in life.

Many of Alvis’ clients have co-occurring substance use disorders and mental health disorders. In the past, a number of them have asserted that one of the most important things they’ve learned through treatment is that they simply aren’t alone. Solidarity and understanding are key in facilitating recovery from substance abuse, but what about prevention?

In terms of Alvis, one of the primary ways we aid in substance abuse prevention is by treating our clients as people without stigmatized pasts, because of how early addiction may develop. We believe that a person’s potential is more important than their past, and our vision is of a future when communities believe this, too. We can decrease substance abuse in our communities through continuing reentry programs like Alvis, which shatter the boundaries between those with justice system involvement and the greater community. By reducing stigmas, advocating for support systems, and shifting attitudes surrounding the negative effects of addiction, we can make it easier for individuals suffering from addiction or substance abuse to seek help.

Alvis also takes measures to specifically prevent substance abuse through our Family and Children’s Program. Across different areas of Alvis, the Family and Children’s Program works to reunite families, motivate youth to pursue education and success, and maintain transparency about the harmful, life-altering effects that drugs can do to one’s life.

While most of the time, Alvis is known for its reentry and recovery programs, many of which include individuals with substance abuse disorders, we also advocate for preventing it from developing in the first place by emphasizing the consequences and impact substance abuse can have, as well as working to reduce the stigmas that prevent healthy discussion and openness from taking place.

It is much harder to face addictions or co-occurring behavioral health disorders alone.

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.

Healthy Aging Month

Healthy Aging Month Alvis Blog

September is Healthy Aging Month and, according to Healthy Aging Magazine, is one of the best times to offset the effects of aging. The healthy aging mogul encourages seniors to get out and get active. Carolyn Worthington, publisher of the Healthy Aging multi-media platform suggests that seniors “use September as the motivation to take stock of where you’ve been, [and] what you really would like to do.” 

In celebration of Healthy Aging Month, the Alvis team has compiled a list of activities for seniors to get involved in, right here in Columbus.

1) Take a guided or self-guided tour, walk, or hike through the Columbus Metro Parks. Whether it’s a walk through Inniswood Metro Gardens on October 6th or the Nature Hike at Three Creeks on October 18th, there are activities for almost every week of the year at one of the Metro Parks locations. Check out the various locations and dates here.

2) Go on a Walk With A Doc! Walk With a Doc takes place at Highbanks Metro Park in Columbus every Saturday through November, and then switches to the Polaris Mall through April. The program, founded by Doctor David Sabgir, provides “free blood pressure checks, healthy snacks, recipes, health information to make better lifestyle changes, and opportunities to talk with local physicians.”

3) Become a member of Columbus Recreation and Parks’s senior program. Columbus Recreation and Parks offers a 50+ membership for free that allows senior members access to senior fitness centers and sports programs. 

4) Get your steps in at a local festival! There are dozens of fall festival and fairs going on from September to November. Whether it’s at Chalk the Block or at Ohio Gourd Fest, there are tons of venues where you can honor your body with movement. Check the list out here

5) Attend a gym. SilverSneakers, a fitness program for seniors, is included in many Medicare Advantage Plans. It allows members access to gyms all over Columbus at free or reduced rates. Check eligibility here

Wherever your interests lie, there are plenty of ways to stay active this fall. Something as small as stretching or walking can make all the difference in your physical health. Alvis knows that seniors are important to the community, which is why we spent multiple days teaming up with senior events over the summer. We had our inaugural Wellness 180 Event, which focused on staying healthy in the workplace and participated in National Senior Health and Fitness Day as well as the Senior Expo Event. We continue to be an equal opportunity employer that supports and employs seniors and veterans because we know diverse perspectives and experiences are crucial to building a team that makes a 180-degree impact. 

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.

2019 ASPIRE Award

Nature’s Touch Landscaping and Lawn Care is an Alvis-operated landscaping/lawn care enterprise, which was recently nominated for the 2019 Aspire Award. The award is, as Ramona Wheeler, Managing Director of Social Enterprises at Alvis, puts it, “kind of like the Emmy’s of social enterprise.”

The Aspire Awards are organized by Metropreneur and SocialVentures, online organizations that promote social enterprise and nonprofits in Central Ohio. The ceremony, set to happen September 18th, will honor social enterprises that are perceived to be impactful in these communities.

Wheeler believes that the nomination has helped validate the work that nonprofit employees do, which usually goes unrecognized. As a 14-year Alvis veteran, she feels a bit of that validation herself. “Personally, it means that Alvis has taken a big step in a new direction [in] the social enterprise initiative,” she says. “To have the buy in, even from our board, to endeavor in this space, and then to fast-forward to today being a finalist for social enterprise of the year, it’s amazing.”

In 2015, Alvis was one of only ten nonprofits that went through a process with the Better Business Bureau and SocialVentures to establish a credential for social enterprise. The thought process was that building credibility would help the community efficiently measure Alvis’s social impact.

Another focus for Wheeler’s team was recruitment. She wanted to emphasize finding candidates from residential pools who were ready to represent the organization’s goals and purpose. “Any human resources professional knows that a business cannot exist without its biggest asset, which is its people,” she says.

With this in mind, Nature’s Touch offers a competitive $11.85 hourly wage as a base pay because, as Wheeler puts it, it puts the company in competition with others in the landscaping industry and promotes the value of the worker and the organization.

But Alvis’s goal for social enterprise isn’t just about getting clients into the workforce. It is also about creating a community. “A lot of our clients while they are in our program, may still have some personal issues and some trepidation about being ready for work,” Wheeler says. “We are like a baby step. So, [employees] have work that has to be accomplished… but at the same time, when life gets hard, we are still part of Alvis.”

Wheeler calls this a holistic approach to employment. “We try to be a part of their progress so that even when they are out of our residential program, we make sure they are still connected and we are still there for them.”

As Columbus becomes a growing hub of social enterprise, entrepreneurs are finding ways to promote good. On September 18th at 6 pm, the Roosevelt Coffee House (a social enterprise business itself), will host a panel discussion of independent entrepreneurs who employ those who have been in the incarcerated, those with disabilities, and those working through rehabilitation programs.

National Working Parent’s Day

National Working Parents Day Alvis Blog

Parents do a lot for their kids—they constantly juggle scraped knees, runny noses, school schedules, and swim lessons. And, in the 21st century, many parents are doing all this while working fulltime jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in two-parent households, 49% consist of two working parents. Managing the tasks of parenthood on top of pressures of work can be challenging for these families.

Daisy Wademan Dowling of the Harvard Business Review says that most parental challenges can be divided into problems with: transition, practicalities, communication, loss, and identity. Maybe your kids are struggling with changing schools, feeling unable to express themselves, breaking up with a girlfriend, or feeling overwhelmed with busy schedules. She says the difference can be as simple as identifying the problem. “When people I’ve worked with… learn to see patterns in the strains they’re facing,” she explains, “they immediately feel more capable and in charge, which then opens the door to some concrete, feasible fixes.”

Dowling says working parents should complete these statements: ‘“I am a working-parent professional who…”; “I prioritize work responsibilities when…”; and “My kids come before work when….”’

Alvis client, Tracy Kirby, knows all about these steps for working parents. Tracy was in the justice system for nine years before entering Alvis’s doors. At that point, he had to choose his priorities and decide his next steps. Tracy says his children “[gave] me love [and] allowed me to love back. They have played a huge role in my recovery and new life.” Tracy now works as a chef at Coopers Hawk, and believes that providing for his children is his biggest priority.

So, the question is, how do we balance it all? How do we make sure we are prioritizing our children, staying successful in our work, and saving time for ourselves? Alvis understands the struggle and we see it in cases with parents who are also dealing with an ongoing struggle with sobriety and rehabilitation. Our program, Amethyst, is built so mothers can continue parenting their children while getting the help they need themselves. At the 2019 Amethyst graduation, twelve women received certificates of completion from the five-step rehabilitation program. One graduate, Courtney, said the day she drove herself to the facility, she did it only for her children. She found that, after completing treatment and recognizing her own worth and value, she now knows she wants to stay sober for herself as well.

No matter what your struggle is as a working parent, know that there are others out there who understand.  Whether it be taking a step back and analyzing your game plan as Dowling suggests, or reprioritizing your responsibilities as Tracy did, there are solutions out there to dealing with the stress of working families. And you are doing great. 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 Sober Day

Today is set aside to celebrate and support those who have chosen a path of sobriety. At Alvis, we recognize substance misuse as a disease and work to remove the stigma associated with those who are in or seeking recovery. Alvis believes that a person’s future is more important than his past and because of this, we advocate for and work with many people facing the battle of sobriety. 

The opioid crisis in Ohio is receiving so much attention because of the tragic number of fatalities each year. According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, opioid-induced deaths in Ohio are more than double the national average. Alvis’s POWER program, a rehabilitation program focused on helping those with opiate addiction, was established in 2016 and has admitted nearly three hundred clients. Our goal is to give these clients a second chance through education and treatment focused on addiction. 

As serious as the opiate epidemic has become, there is still a need for rehabilitation programs for many other forms of substance abuse, as well. JAMA Psychiatry found that, since the turn of the 21st century, alcoholism rates have risen 49% to the previous national average. One in eight American adults now meets the criterion to be considered a person with alcohol abuse disorder. 

Alvis has been a leader in the fight for sobriety since its establishment over fifty years ago. Our Recovery Choices Program focuses on cognitive-behavioral treatment and mentors our clients to recover from negative situations, cope with past trauma, and make positive choices for their futures. Our program, Amethyst, is a treatment option in which recovering women go through rehabilitation without being separated from their children. The program offers addiction treatment, housing options, medical services, psychological treatment, and training and placement in the workforce. Amethyst’s purpose is to empower the women and children in the program and focus on gender-specific needs of females going through recovery. 

No matter what kind of treatment a client needs, aftercare is crucial to Alvis because we know that many people recovering from substance misuse will struggle when returning to their previous environments. Our residential reentry centers focus on transitioning clients back to their own communities successfully and providing them with the support system they need. We have check-ins and post-program mentors that continue to work with clients even after they have completed the program. We know this works because our recidivism rate is nearly fifty percent less than the national rate as reported by the Bureau of Justice

The difference at Alvis is that our programs work toward comprehensive rehabilitation—that means adjusting the thought process, environment, and community network of each client, and then continuing support post-recovery. We believe that, if we provide evidence-based human services programs, we can support and empower our community members to build successful and healthy lives. We know our clients can turn their lives around and we are here fighting for those second chances. That is our 180 degree impact. 

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 Grandparents Day

National Grandparents Day Alvis Blog

Happy Grandparents Day! Along with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, which also celebrate family, Grandparents Day is a perfect time to tell your grandparents how much they mean to you.

Here at Alvis, we value our grandparents who are committed to turning lives around and bettering the community through a 180 Degree Impact. Many employees at Alvis who are grandparents are also seniors who offer valuable life experience. They truly know the meaning of family and community, which directly ties back toward our mission.

Likewise, our clients also value family. One longstanding goal for many of our clients as they progress through treatment and recovery is to reunite with their families. Family serves as a means of motivation and support for many clients.

On this Grandparents Day, we celebrate family, and the warm feeling of support and community that grandparents, especially, can provide.

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.

International Day of Charity

Today, we celebrate a worldwide holiday that truly aligns with Alvis’ mission—International Day of Charity. While we are not a typical “charity” organization, we believe strongly in giving what you can to help change lives and make the community a better place. We envision a future when communities believe that a person’s potential is more important than their past. Our treatment programs, services, and support systems have the same objective—to turn lives around (180 Degrees, to be exact!) so that individuals can regain their sense of purpose, families may reunite, and communities become safer.

Called upon by the UN, September 5th is a day focused on eradicating poverty, urging global citizens to truly see, hear, and do something for the poor and vulnerable. There’s special emphasis on the role that private organizations and nonprofits play in lifting people up. This day allows individuals, organizations, and nonprofits across the world, in varying degrees of scope, to unite and call attention to their causes so that a huge impact can be made in the world.

As Alvis builds bridges between communities and individuals who are on the edge of their community because of justice system involvement, developmental disabilities, behavioral health concerns, addiction, or a combination of these things, we are aware of our partners who make this entirely possible. Some of our partners include the ADAMH Board, which provides grants that produce SummerQuest, a summer camp for children whose mothers are receiving treatment in our Amethyst program, and the Kiwanis Club of Columbus, which made possible our ability to provide an amazing, well-attended Father’s Day Celebration, so that fathers, children, and entire families could reunite and enjoy fellowship during fathers’ treatment at Alvis. Without our ties to the community, we would not be able to make the #180DegreeImpact that we strive for, and we are happy to have close relationships with fellow organizations that share similar missions.

Still, organizations and community partners are only part of what makes Alvis’ work possible. Our donors, above all else, allow our plethora of programs and services to become a reality. Without private donations, we would not be able to continuously expand and deliver pioneering, cutting edge, evidence-based programming that best serves the clients and communities with which we engage.

We stand with other nonprofits and organizations throughout the world, and we thank everyone that has made Alvis a success for so many people across Ohio.

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.

We are Alvis


Who We Are

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency serving over 10,000 people in 40+ locations all across the state of Ohio. Our client populations include individuals with justice involvement, significant barriers to employment, developmental disabilities, and integrated behavioral healthcare needs. We also serve families, especially children, impacted by their loved ones’ justice involvement, developmental disability or behavioral healthcare concerns.

Our tagline is 180 Degree Impact, because our aim is to help clients turn around their lives by 180 Degrees. We believe a person’s potential is more important than their past, and we envision a future when communities believe this, too.

Community Reentry

Here at Alvis, individuals with justice involvement are able to go to residential reentry centers, and are offered alcohol and drug addiction treatment, workforce development programs, family and children’s programming, mentoring, and transitional education programs. We also offer services for survivors of human trafficking. Recovery and reentry are two universal goals of our programs, along with education and employability. Every reentry location differs in terms of the services that it offers.

We offer a plethora of services for clients at each of our locations, so clients are able to receive the programming that applies to their specific concerns.

An example of one of these specific services is our POWER (Partnering Organizations for Wellness, Empowerment, and Recovery) Program. The men in this program are undergo recovery from addiction disorders, and they receive holistic, evidence-based treatment, entailing court supervision and support with medication assisted treatment (primarily Vivitrol), counseling, and behavioral therapies. Graduates of the program not only appreciate the newfound hope that they attain, but also the supportive, caring staff who help them on their journeys to recovery. Listen to their stories here.

Many of our clients are involved in multiple different programs at our locations, and sometimes one client will have concerns that require multiple levels of services. One former client, Chris, demonstrates the 180 Degree Impact that clients can make in their lives, and also their communities, as he’s taken advantage of the many different resources that we offer at our Jackson Pike location.

Integrated Behavioral Healthcare

Our Recovery Choices Program provides individualized assessment and treatment, group counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and relapse prevention and aftercare. The Amethyst program, recently acquired by Alvis in 2017, provides integrated behavioral healthcare and housing to women with children in central Ohio who struggle with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders. It is one of the few treatment programs for women in the nation that allow moms to live with their minor children, and it specifically works to reunite and strengthen families. Every woman at Amethyst is given a treatment plan, which includes individual and group therapy, counseling, medication-assisted treatment, as well as connections to outside resources, such as job training classes, education courses, legal advice, and weekly community meetings, and other efforts to help women find the path to recovery and reunification with their communities. Children, likewise, are also given proper care and learning plans (such as IEPs) to ensure that they are getting optimal services. SummerQuest is a program designed specifically for children of the moms at Amethyst, and it aims to provide children with a summer camp experience after school lets out, so their mothers can focus on treatment.

Person-Centered & Professional

One commonality across all of our programs is that staff here are dedicated, qualified professionals who truly care about clients. This is evident in the day-to-day interactions that staff, like our encouraging DSPs, provide to our clients with developmental disabilities, and our amazing leadership. Genuine happiness and love is shown between clients and staff at our various celebrations, such as the Amethyst graduation, and the Smart Cookie Awards, which is part of a celebration held in the summer for individuals involved with our Family and Children’s Program. Alvis is mission driven, and our programs are person-centered.

We are leaders. We are innovators. We care. We are Alvis.

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.

Labor Day

Happy Labor Day! The first Monday in September, Labor Day, celebrates the American worker, allowing us all to recognize the significant strides, achievements, and contributions that Americans have made in their vocations. It also celebrates America itself, and the prosperity and strength that we have cultivated from our workforce.

Alvis makes an effort to show that it values its employees on a daily basis. Our talented, passionate staff, such as psychiatrists, therapists, and family case managers, work face-to-face with clients to ensure that integrated behavioral healthcare is being appropriately provided, while treating clients from an evidence-based, medically-informed perspective. Staff members in corrections and reentry centers provide clients with resources throughout the day. Specifically, staff also help with developing job training skills, teaching classes, and providing compassionate support to help clients in their efforts to turn their lives around, one step at a time. Our staff, such as home managers and DSPs, who work with clients that have developmental disabilities (DD), offer resources and individualized support to DD clients. Finally, at Stella, branches from accounting and finances, to HR and communications, through their distinctive functions, prove that helping others change their lives can be done in an variety of different ways.

When celebrating Independence Day, we also noted the strides that our nation has made in promoting reentry services, and ways that our nation needs to continue progressing in order to better achieve a system that values a person more than his or her past. We observe Labor Day specifically through a vocational lens, allowing us to look at what and how Alvis is making an impact in our community and overall nation. 79% of clients who complete an Alvis residential reentry program do not return to prison, and we are more affordable to the taxpayer than places of incarceration. These are two facts that we are proud of, but we are most proud of the individuals, whose stories, strength, and desire to contribute to their community touch us on a daily basis.

We hope that this Labor Day serves as a means to reinvigorate and recharge employees and workers across America, so that we may all contribute to bettering our country!

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 Recovery Month

National Recovery Month Alvis Blog

Today marks the beginning of National Recovery Month! Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), this month is designed to spread awareness and understanding of mental health, substance use, and co-occurring behavioral health disorders, as well as people living and recovering from these disorders.

SAMHSA is an agency within the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS), that advocates for advancements in behavioral health for the nation and improvements in lives of those living with mental and substance use disorders, and their families

Alvis, especially as of late, has been moving toward a behavioral healthcare model, offering billing through Medicaid and in-house psychiatry services providing medication and diagnoses. In-house services allow for better communication and higher quality service to clients from professionals who know the population of Alvis well. The current behavioral healthcare services at Alvis allow clients to receive optimal treatment in an empathetic, understanding environment.

We also have two programs primarily focusing behavioral health: Recovery Choices and the Amethyst program. Recovery Choices serves clients with past justice system involvement, as they receive transportation from halfway houses to reentry centers, where they take job training courses, receive counseling and individualized treatment plans, and have the opportunity to attain their GED, take university classes, and participate in activities with their family. The Amethyst program also offers many of the services that Recovery Choices provides, but it specifically serves women and their children, allowing them to live together on-site as they receive person-centered, trauma-informed care in a supportive setting, using evidence-based procedures.

NAADAC perhaps puts it best, when they claim that the main purpose of National Recovery Month is to celebrate “gains” that individuals with mental health or substance use disorders have made. We take this month to celebrate both small and large wins that our clients and former clients have made in taking ahold of their life and turning it around, 180 degrees for the better!

Addiction is an illness, and many times, addiction and behavioral health are co-occurring, which means that they are linked to the development of one another. Alvis has been a leader, not only in Ohio, but the entire nation, in addressing the very real pervasiveness of addiction and behavioral health disorders, as well as the need to provide resources to individuals and families affected by addiction and behavioral health disorders.

We celebrate those who have found the strength to ask for help and begin the process of changing their life for the better, as well as those (including thousands of our former clients!) who have done so.

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 School Success Month

Happy September! What you likely did not know is that this month is also National School Success Month. By September, youth are back in school and ready to tackle the upcoming academic year. A strong education for children lays the foundation for success in life, as it opens the door to new opportunities, as well as a stronger comprehension of the world.

The U.S. Department of Education has a month-by-month guide filled with goals that parents can set for themselves and their children. For September, they recommend reaching out to kids’ teachers, establishing routines, timing things right, packing the correct materials (children shouldn’t carry over 20% of their own body weight), and volunteering for school programs.

In addition to these recommended goals, School Success Month, in a nutshell, is even more based on what a child will learn from finding and pursuing their passions. We encourage all children to find what makes them motivated to succeed.

For many of our clients, especially the ones with our Family and Children’s Program and the Amethyst program, children are motivators to them. However, there are ways Alvis ensures that children of clients remain motivated and successful themselves while their guardians are recovering.

For children of moms involved with our Amethyst program, we provide SummerQuest.

SummerQuest is a day camp for children whose mothers are in treatment at Amethyst, an Alvis Recovery Program. The camp fosters fun, new experiences for kids when school lets out, so mothers are able to focus on their treatment. SummerQuest, afterschool, and other youth programs are offered for children staying at Amethyst, and these programs not only provide beneficial experiences for children, but also help to ensure that mothers stay focused on their treatment. Case managers assist clients with any needs for appointments or linkages to additional mental health services. Additionally, any type of Individualized Education Program (IEP) and/or specialty services are provided year-round so that children of clients receive all services they would if they were living in the community rather than at the Amethyst program.

Alvis’ Family and Children’s program also encourages children to achieve their academic and personal goals through the Summer Reading Program and bi-weekly activities occurring every Saturday afternoon throughout the year, involving community meals, games, and crafts. A heartwarming video demonstrating what goes on can be found here. The reading program is a result of a ten-week parenting program for moms, focusing on re-entry services, alongside co-occurring behavioral health and addiction services so that moms can get back to their families, and their lives. At the kickoff for this year’s Summer Reading Program, children were awarded Smart Cookie medals for their academic achievements and read a story called Splat the Cat.


Alvis also takes the time to celebrate family during significant holidays, with events such as our Mother’s Day and Father’s Day celebration, which brought families together to cherish each other and support one another. Dads specifically are able to bond with their children with events like our Doughnuts with Dad event, which occurs at our Jackson Pike location—a video of this event can be found here.

Families have a significant impact on a child’s wellbeing and their own ability to succeed in school. Alvis values education and recognizes the importance that children have in shaping the world to make a better tomorrow.

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.

Opioid Misuse Prevention Day

Today is Opioid Misuse Prevention Day. Many of Alvis’ clients have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders. In fact, the our entire organization has been moving toward an integrated behavioral healthcare model in our treatment. We are strong advocates for combatting the disease of addiction, with full knowledge of what it can do to individuals, families, and communities. We also advocate against stigma of addiction, which prevents communities from adequately responding to addiction with the necessary measures.

We believe that a person’s potential is far more important than their past, and that rings especially true for clients who have past addiction disorders. Because of the fact that addiction, many times, is co-occurring, there is a need to both treat the addiction and other behavioral concerns that an individual client may have. We recognize our clients’ strength and believe in their ability to recover.

Opioid misuse is a true epidemic—according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, every day, more than 130 individuals in the United States die from opioid overdoses. They have also found that 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them. The Midwest saw opioid overdoses increase 70% from July 2016 through September 2017. Our nation is taking measures to end this crisis, but it is still very widespread.

 
From the strong, powerful women in our Amethyst program, to the men battling addiction with the POWER program at our Jackson Pike location, we are proud of our numerous clients who are survivors of substance misuse. We stand with them in our commitment to ending this epidemic in our community.

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.

Women’s Equality Day

Happy Women’s Equality Day! Today, August 26th, we celebrate the steps that we’ve made in efforts to reach total equality between women and men. This day became a commemorative day in 1973, when Rep. Bella Abzug advocated for its passage in Congress, honoring the day that the 19th Amendment was rendered official.

On August 26th, 1920, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed into proclamation the 19th Amendment, after it was ratified on August 18th, giving women full and equal voting rights

Here at Alvis, we value the #180DegreeImpact that our women make on a daily basis—both staff and clients. Many of our staff members are women who work in the administrative offices at Stella, as well as our houses and locations for clients in programs involving corrections, behavioral health, and developmental disabilities. Our Amethyst program, CHAT house, and parts of our Family and Children’s Program specifically serve women, requiring female-led teams, which allow women clients to undergo their journey to reentry and recovery in a comfortable, supportive community of women staff and peers who can relate to their issues and empathize with them during treatment.

According to statistics cited by Shelley Zalis, determined by a nationwide survey, there is a near 50/50 divide between women and men when it comes to which gender is the primary breadwinner in a family, and the percentage that each gender contributes to the nation’s workforce. This proves that we’ve come a long way in the gender gap; however, we still have a ways to go before total equality is achieved across our nation and in our workplaces.

Columbus’ Mayor Ginther started a pay equality initiative called the Columbus Commitment, as an effort to alleviate gender-based inequities. “Alvis is a part of the Columbus Commitment. The goal is to achieve pay equality” says Toni Smith, Alvis’ Interim Managing Director of HR. “It is always the goal to not discriminate or be biased one way or the other.”

Along with other parts of the country, Denise Robinson, President and CEO of Alvis, has kept us moving in the right direction. Under her leadership, we more than doubled our revenue between the years 2012 and 2017, and we’ve seen huge forms of growth in our services and programming. Alvis is proud to be an organization that values women as valued workers, collaborators, and leaders.

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

Portraits of Recovery—The Fast Facts

September 24th is Alvis’ annual fundraising luncheon, Portraits of Recovery (aka POR). POR is an event that raises money for our Amethyst program. Two women who know a great deal about the program are Paige Bilotta, Alvis’ Development Director, and Arlene Reitter, Alvis’ Managing Director of Development and Communications.

“My role is to put donors in touch with our programs, and really support our programs from a more public and private standpoint,” says Bilotta. Her responsibilities also include connecting donors to Alvis’ mission, and informing them of what Alvis does. Alvis needs donors to grow and thrive as an organization. Reitter, whose role is similar to Bilotta in some aspects, works to connect donors to what Alvis does, and to “give them an opportunity to be a part of Alvis in all of our programs… our team works hard internally and externally regarding keeping communications open.” Internal communication applies to our 500-person staff, and external communication focuses on educating the community about Alvis’ far-reaching programs. The Portraits of Recovery luncheon, however, specifically focuses on Amethyst.

“Amethyst, which is a recovery program of Alvis, has been around since 1984,” says Bilotta. Recently acquired in 2017 by Alvis, Amethyst focuses on integrated behavioral healthcare treatment; it is unlike many other treatment and recovery programs, because it allows children to live with their mothers while they are in the Amethyst program. Amethyst has sponsored POR for many years. For more information about Amethyst’s remarkably extensive treatment plans for clients and their inspiring origin story, click here.

Specifically, money generated from the POR luncheon helps support SummerQuest, which is a summer camp for children whose moms are involved with recovery services at Amethyst. “It helps support some of the other peripheral things that happen,” says Bilotta, including aspects of the program that most people may not think about. For example, a huge benefit from POR is that it funds general housing expenses for its clients. “Every time a woman moves into our program, we give her a $40 card for Kroger so that she can fill her refrigerator.” This also includes kitchen and bathroom supplies for their apartments. Money raised from POR goes to aspects of Amethyst that are not funded by a grant or specific government dollars, which typically go to the integrated behavioral healthcare services that Amethyst provides instead. “We remove the barriers for women,” adds Bilotta, so they can focus on recovery in a safe, comfortable environment.

Last year, this event generated $90,000 in proceeds for the Amethyst program. Funding from events make up almost half of the private contributions to Alvis, according to Bilotta.

Both Portraits of Recovery and Alvis’ other large-scale fundraising event, Evening of Light (aka EOL), are vitally important to the continuation of growing our services to clients. “Community awareness was a really big goal of the events,” emphasizes Reitter. Alvis started Evening of Light 6 years ago, in order to fund our Family and Children’s Program. No government entity was giving funding for our clients’ children affected by incarceration. “We could not leave the children behind who have been affected by incarceration,” says Reitter. “We took a leap and started an event without any solid funding. It has grown and grown… a client tells her story during the event, and you can hear a pin drop, because it is just amazing what they’ve overcome and just how far they have come to be successful” Prior to EOL, Alvis wasn’t very well known in community, and that was on purpose—the organization didn’t feel the need to showcase its impact, but over time, leaders and staff have grown enthusiastic about raising awareness of Alvis and everything that we provide.

When asked where she hoped to see these events going in the future (particularly POR), Reitter was enthusiastic about expansion: “Go big or go home!”

Bilotta echoed her sentiments. “It would be great for POR to grow to expand our audience… Amethyst might be one of the best kept secrets in Columbus, in terms of people being aware that it’s a resource for women…it would be great to reach out beyond the audience that we have and reach new people to connect to our mission.” Currently, about 300 people attend POR, but Bilotta hopes to see that number grow to 500 or more.

In addition to private donations from individuals, there are some major organizations that donate to the event, including Nationwide Insurance, Huntington Bank, AEP, OhioHealth, Donatos, and Grange Insurance. This year (and in year’s prior) there is also an anonymous donor who will match everything raised in the event up to $15,000!

Each year at the event we honor an individual or business with the Purple Heart Award. This year, the award is going to L Brands Foundation, who has supported community programs that empower women, and the nurturing and mentoring of children. They have demonstrated longstanding leadership and volunteer service to the Amethyst Board, and now, to the Alvis Board of Trustees. They are also involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters and the YWCA.

To someone looking to get engaged with Portraits of Recovery, Bilotta recommends visiting our website:

https://alvis180.org/events/portraits-of-recovery/

Sponsorships, tickets and donations can be made directly through the website. There are lots of opportunities for people to get involved in turning lives around—particularly those of women and children in need of help.

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 Senior Citizen’s Day

National Senior Citizen's Day Alvis Blog social media

Happy National Senior Citizen’s Day! Today, August 21st, we take the time to recognize our seniors for their accomplishments, educate ourselves about issues that they face, practice positive aging, and promote understanding of senior-related issues and causes.

Some have misconceptions about the senior citizen demographic. One misconception is that many seniors either do not work, or are unfit to remain in the workforce. While seniors make up a relatively small percentage of the workforce, America’s workforce is aging, and more Americans aged 65 and older are working than in the last two decades. The 65+ age group is projected to be the fastest growing segment of the workforce by 2024. The idea of seniors losing their drive, motivation, and vision for success is a stigma that could greatly hinder an employer’s opportunity to take on a valuable senior employee. At Alvis, we are interested in seniors, and actively look for employees with experiences that have allowed them to be dedicated, qualified members of our team.

It’s important to acknowledge issues that senior citizens face, too, and we certainly do not aim to minimize them. From ageism, to elder abuse, to the fact that seniors face more health problems than any other age group, we also place importance on being mindful of what seniors, as a population, face.

Alvis not only employs seniors, but we actively engage with them on a daily basis. Some of our clients are seniors, and many come with a series of life experiences and challenges that have driven them to their current place. We believe in these people as individuals that have the ability to reach their fullest potential and turn their lives around for the better. Whether it is through reentry programs, behavioral health treatment plans, or skill-development classes, we strive to give our seniors the respect and treatment that they deserve. Likewise, we call on our government, and citizens across the nation, to recognize seniors—both their potential, and the challenges that their age demographic faces—so that they are seen, heard, and included in our 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 Nonprofit Day

National NonProfit Day Alvis Blog

Happy National Nonprofit Day! Today, August 17th, we take the time to raise awareness of fellow nonprofits and appreciate the work that they’re doing to strengthen and better our communities.

As a nonprofit human services agency, Alvis is frequently overlapping with other organizations to give clients optimal treatment. Much of our services are provided in-house, but, in cases of specialized behavioral health diagnoses, specific classes that clients want to take (college courses, for example), or receiving job-readiness programming, we frequently refer clients to outside agencies so that they can receive what they need and want so they can reenter into society and work toward their ambitions. Many of these outside agencies are nonprofits.

Just a few of our nonprofit partner agencies include the Reeb Avenue Center, a hub of hope consisting of both basic and skill-developing resources for residents of the Columbus South Side, the YMCA, which provides multitudes of recreation and social services, and Goodwill, which helps individuals find jobs and build necessary career skills.

Our #180DegreeImpact mission centers on turning lives around, but Alvis is not the only nonprofit focused on making a huge impact. We frequently utilize the #180DegreeImpact tagline because we specifically focus on people, and helping them find the strength to bounce back from struggles and challenges that they’ve faced. Alvis takes a holistic, person-centered approach in its treatment model. Still, other nonprofits also envision making huge impacts through their work, whether it’s Reeb’s focus on eliminating poverty and bettering lives for residents of the Columbus South Side, the YMCA’s commitment to community health and wellness, or Goodwill’s drive to eliminating barriers that keep people from succeeding in their efforts to seek employability. Again—these are just a few of our nonprofit community partners—and we also celebrate the work that non-human service nonprofits are doing. All kinds of nonprofits are making amazing strides in bettering humanity and the world.

We also take this day to thank our donors, who have given their money, and our volunteers, who have given their time, to changing lives for the better. We would not be able to reach our goals without you!

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.

A Day in the Life of an Alvis Intern

A Day in the Life of an Alvis Intern

Who We Are

Have you ever wondered what an Alvis intern sees, says, and does on a daily basis? Wonder no more! The Alvis interns with the marketing team, led by Priscila Teixeira, are here to share their experiences after interning with Alvis for the summer.

Most of us started in May, and will end our internship in early August. There have been a host of things that we’ve learned, but most importantly, we’ve learned that every day varies in the marketing world.

Our videographers, Valerie Orr and Ezra Kinnell, are constantly editing and taking footage of events and interviews. Social media interns, Rebecca Moore and Susanna Eckstein, are frequently researching events and writing up posts. Graphic design intern, Katie Harter, is always creating a beautiful, clever new graphic, while content writer, James Hagerman, can be found writing up blog posts or future interview questions. Kaniese O’Dell, who works with virtually every marketing-related area, conducts logistical research, makes presentations, and analyzes traction for job postings and site data. She also directly interviews people at events and was instrumental in creating our upcoming podcast, 180 Boom!

We do many different things, so what does a typical day look like for us?

A Typical Day

Despite everyone’s set roles in the team, a typical day varies for everyone. Usually, it means working in the creative room on our respective marketing goals, and sometimes these goals overlap.

“I feel like I do a lot of different things, and I like that. Whether it’s taking photos, covering an event, or designing a poster.” – Katie

We all have different responsibilities and options regarding our daily pursuits. Priscila encourages interns to practice a wide range of experiences, so they are able to learn different aspects of their role, as well as the innerworkings of the marketing and nonprofit world. With community events, such as a roundtable with Senator Portman, or social media workshops with PRSA, there have been many opportunities for interns to learn.

“I love that every day is something new. I definitely find myself looking forward to coming to work with the other interns and staff. We are always brainstorming new ideas which is so fun.” – Susanna

Sometimes, coming to Alvis means getting the opportunity to dabble in other team members’ roles, which includes bouncing ideas off of each other for our blogs, SoMe posts, graphic designs, videos, podcast and website. This also sometimes entails putting an all-team effort toward one event or interview session, so all of us may be useful resources for each other when creating relevant content.

“I love getting to cover such a broad range of topics with my writing every day. One day it could be an event, the next could be a global topic, and after that, it could be an interview with one of the chiefs, or a client.” – James

The roles in the marketing intern team are interconnected. When a social media post is covering a national day, many times, a blog post is covering the same one, too, so all three interns involved with the writing will collaborate on their pieces. When a video shows what happens at a kickoff event, graphic designs also highlight some screengrabs from the footage. Interviews or events, many times, necessitate all hands on deck, as they may demand social media and graphic design postings, videos, and transcripts for the related blog post. All of this involves moving—we don’t just stay put at the Stella offices, and even when we are at Stella, we may be outside or moving around the building to capture the ever-continuing #180DegreeImpact that Alvis employees are making every day.

A day in the life of an Alvis Intern

“I like having the other interns with me to brainstorm. When we have one idea it can turn into something way bigger, like Alvi!” – Rebecca

Alvi is our new mascot, designed by Rebecca for a World Emoji Day social media post. After growing super popular around the offices at Stella with fellow interns and employees, Alvi has become Alvis’ new voice for graphic designs and social media. Part of the reason that Alvi became so popular is because interns collaborated with the potential ways that he could be used, whether it was through Katie’s graphic designs (including animations!), or as a cover for Kaniese’s podcast. The creative room for interns on the 2nd floor allows us to sit together so we may easily talk through ideas. It doesn’t hurt that all of us get along, too! The atmosphere in the intern office is relaxed, but also active with fresh thinking. There’s always something new to create.

“It’s challenging for sure, but rewarding. I’ve made great connections with the staff here and I’ve made friends with my fellow creative team. These are my buddies now!” – Valerie

Usually, Priscila directly coordinates projects with specific interns, but we are also encouraged to bring up ideas for posts or creations that we want to work on. Additionally, we interact with other staff members. This has included interviewing chiefs, and other administrative personnel; it also involves working with members of Human Resources, Communications and Resource Development.

“One thing that pretty much sums up a lot of my days is the fun unpredictability. Things change on a daily basis, plans change.” – Ezra

We’re typically given lots of time to work on projects and we have our events, interviews, and postings scheduled out (largely coinciding with timelines of what’s going on at Alvis). Sometimes, though, priorities change based upon who we can interview, an event we are made aware of, or a new national day that we discover relating to Alvis’ mission. There’s definitely a rhythm that we adhere to, but we’re frequently shifting our sights to complete new projects.

Another thing that adds to the level of unpredictability here is the community outreach our intern team does every week. Weekly, our outreach changes—we’ve been to a game night at the Ronald McDonald House, we’ve served food at the Reeb Avenue Center, and we’ve helped with some of the events put on by Alvis’ Family and Children’s Program. This community outreach brings us closer to each other, as well as Alvis’ mission, and it gives us a broader perspective of the nonprofits that work together in central Ohio.

“It has consistency, but it’s never the same job. You’re always being challenged, and you’re always forced to think outside of the box about something new.” – Kaniese

This internship has also taught us to think on our feet, while also managing the long-term timespan for projects so that we’re able to compensate for things that may arise. We also have learned about the importance of tailoring certain content toward specific marketing endeavors. Collectively, the interns have received valuable creative writing, social media, videography, graphic design, photography, journalistic, and general marketing-related experience.

We have also gained a universal understanding of what it means to work in an office setting, what it means to work in a nonprofit, and what it means to work as a team. Part of the rewarding aspect of this internship is getting to directly and indirectly help other people turn their lives around. The Alvis internship is a give and take relationship that allows interns to take out just as much as they put into their creative, (180Degree) impactful work.

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.