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.

Alvis Spotlight: Chris Mullen

Alvis employee spotlight on Chris Mullen Alvis blog

We are so grateful for our dedicated, passionate staff here at Alvis. Chris Mullen, Interim Operations Manager at the Jackson Pike facility, is someone who completely embodies our Alvis mission through his actions. He’s leaving Alvis at the end of the month after receiving a scholarship to pursue higher education in New York, but the five years that he’s spent with us have served as an example of what every staff member should strive to be like, and the impact that dedicated individuals can have on a client’s life.

As Interim Operations Manager, Mullen’ role involves enforcing safety, security, and sanitation, meeting with clients to discuss and investigate sanctions, and quite literally, he says, just as it sounds: “The operating of the facility.”

Every Alvis facility differs in the scope and variety of what it provides, but some of Jackson Pike’s programs are especially unique, because certain programs, like POWER and Treatment Transfer, are only available at Jackson Pike. This is sometimes why clients are referred to Jackson Pike instead of another location (it also may just depend on bed space). “Jackson Pike is a little different from the other facilities because we have so many different statuses here,” Mullen explains. All other Alvis locations provide 2-3 programs, but Jackson Pike has programs entailing Treatment Transfer, TC clients, PRC, common pleas, municipal court referrals, Healthy Choices, and the POWER program. This, Mullen finds, makes working at Jackson Pike challenging at times. For example, he says, if someone asks you “when can I start job seeking?” it depends on the status of which program they are in, and how far they have progressed in that program.

If someone is on the fence about applying for a position with Alvis, Mullen would suggest doing it. When he applied, he quickly realized that there would be more to the job than he initially expected. He started off working second shift at his location, which tends to be the busiest shift, as food deliveries are made, people are going in and out, medications are being given, and paperwork needs to be done for the next day. “I wanted to leave,” he admits, “but after about 30 days something really clicked.” Around this time, Mullen was also beginning to truly impact some of his clients. “It was actually a client that told me that something that I had shared with them really helped them to do better and see things a little differently,” he highlights. Mullen was able to see the impact that he was making on other people. There are still challenging situations that he faces, but he’s also viewing things from a new perspective now. “Every time I have felt myself challenged, something has reminded me why I enjoy being here.”

“There are a lot of personality types who can do really well in a role like this,” Mullen says. Someone who is able to be clear with clients and staff about expectations is key, so they are able to meet goals, along with communicating “what things they [clients] need to avoid that could be pitfalls to reaching those goals.” Logistically, this is a position that requires time and dedication, as well. “Being any kind of manager in a facility like ours,” he asserts, “is going to require anyone to be flexible in their schedule.” There can be emergencies or important things that come up on the job, so balancing time to meet immediate things as they come is vital to success.

As Mullen leaves, he also takes with him an extensive understanding of Alvis’ relationship to communities across Ohio. In some ways, that means noticing details that others may completely overlook. One thing he notices frequently, for example, are people leaving the Greyhound bus station, carrying trash bags. Many of these people, he emphasizes, are going home for the first time: “They may not have people in their life that are supportive anymore, and all their belongings are in a garbage bag.” There are better ways to come home, and, as Mullen indicates, “Alvis is that better way to come home.” He also is aware of the stigma that halfway houses have, but their critics may not be thinking of the wide-ranging good that can result. “A lot of people are concerned about having a halfway house in their community; what they don’t understand is that these people will [eventually] be living in their home in the community.” Is it not better, he poses, that when these people do go home, everything will be better for them, and more manageable? Without proper transition time and rehabilitation, there risks not only a detriment to the individual who is helped by the halfway house, but also the community.

Chris Mullen is exemplary of the devotion, passion, and commitment present in the Alvis mission. We are so thankful for his work with Alvis, and all that he’s done to connect with clients to help them get on the track for a better life. Thank you, Chris—we wish you the best in your future endeavors, and cannot wait to see the impact you make in others’ 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 Day Against Trafficking in Persons

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons Alvis Blog Post

Today, July 30th, is World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. Human trafficking is the illegal transporting of women, men, and children, typically for the purposes of forced labor or sex. It’s a modern-day form of slavery.

The following paragraph consists of information from the United Nations:

The number of convicted traffickers and reported victims is rising, implying that efforts to combat human trafficking and human trafficking itself are both on the rise. Trafficking occurs worldwide, and 58% of victims are trafficked within their own country. Women and girls account for the majority of sex trafficking victims, and make up 35% of those trafficked for forced labor. In response to these staggering numbers, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, and a chief provision of the plan allows for victims to receive assistance through grants to specialized NGOs (non-governmental organizations). Another recently-instated New York Declaration, produced at the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, includes three concrete actions against human trafficking adopted by the countries in the Declaration.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime created this international day as a means to evoke government action, and stress the responsibility governments have in engaging with this world crisis. According to Human Rights First, approximately 24.9 million people are current victims of human trafficking, and 25% are children. The majority of trafficked persons (64%) are exploited for forced labor, and of those 16 million people, the highest percentage work in construction, manufacturing, mining, or hospitality. 4.8 million people (19% of victims) are estimated to be undergoing sexual exploitation, and the rest are exploited by state-imposed labor. Prosecutions regarding human trafficking are also exceedingly low in comparison to the estimated crimes.

Alvis stands with survivors and current victims of human trafficking. A percentage of our clients are survivors of human trafficking, and we house some of them in our CHAT House, which is specifically designated to provide reentry services for women who have been caught in the system of human trafficking. There are also a portion of human trafficking survivors enrolled in our Amethyst program. 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.

CATCH Court, contrary to a regular court session, does not focus on sentencing, but rather, ensuring trauma-informed, rehabilitative care, so that survivors of sex trafficking are able to escape that damaging way of life. In turn, they receive support and resources so that they are empowered to take life back into their own hands. Alvis commends the CATCH Court for being an effective form of governmental intervention against human trafficking.

We call for increased government action against human trafficking nationwide and worldwide, while also standing with victims and survivors.

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 Parent’s Day

National Parent's Day Blog post by Alvis Inc 180 degree impact

Today, July 28th, is National Parents’ Day! National Parents’ Day, which was established as a national day in 1994, is held on the fourth Sunday of July. We do already celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but National Parents’ Day fixates even more on parenting. Whether a child has one parent, two parents, step-parents, or caring guardians in their lives, these figures are highly influential regarding a child’s wellbeing and success. According to a magazine article published by UC Berkeley, a study from the University of Chicago found that parents with higher levels of shared emotional empathy and awareness of injustice directly influenced their children’s ability to detect prosocial (positive) or antisocial (negative) behavior. Another post from Talk About Giving provides statistics denoting the influence that parents have concerning children’s high risk behaviors, education, automobile safety, and even their philanthropic endeavors. Parents serve as role models in regards to these behaviors.

While Alvis loves celebrating Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, Parents’ day equally ties into Alvis’ mission (perhaps even more directly), because it actually focuses on the role that parents play in their children’s lives. Our world is ridden with detriments and challenges to children’s happiness, ambitions, and security. Parents and parent-like figures are key in modeling good behaviors for their children.

Alvis has a Family and Children’s Program, the Amethyst program, and many clients with children who are determined to reunite with their families. We understand the importance of family, and how strong, healthy families directly enhance the strength of communities. This day serves as a reminder that parents and parent-like figures are central in the development of children, and we celebrate these people who are caring, kind, and shining light in the right direction for their children, so that our world may have a brighter future.

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.