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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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!

National%20Health%20Education%20Week.png
  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.

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.

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

national custodial worlers recognition day

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 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.

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 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.

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.

DD Position Openings: DSPs, Home Managers, Program Managers, Program Coordinator

Interested in social work and working with people with developmental disabilities (DD)? Alvis has openings for 4 different positions involving work with DD clients: Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), Home Managers, Program Managers, and a Program Coordinator. Each of these positions requires person-centered, empathetic care, and direct interaction with clients and fellow staff at Alvis locations for DD clients.

Two recent awards won by DSP, Camilla Jackson, highlight the rewarding growth that someone can receive from being a DSP at Alvis. Daily, Jackson works directly with residential clients and provides them with services, such as assisting with medication, doctor’s appointments, cooking, cleaning, and day-long outings. These functions are the primary components of what the DSP job entails. A Direct Support Professional is an entry level position. We have approximately 40 positions available—both full-time and part-time.

DSPs report to Home Managers, who oversee a greater amount of clients, and perform other hands-on duties, such as ensuring that medication is administered properly, meeting with staff and clients regarding specific cases, monitoring facilities, and supervising and coordinating staff shifts and activities.

Program Managers, which require a Bachelor’s Degree, oversee home managers. PMs should be adept in interpersonal communication and leadership skills. They oversee activities of assigned programs and facilities for DD services. They must have extensive knowledge of specific programs, social work theories, interventions, evaluation techniques, and treatment systems, in addition to performing some direct supervisory techniques, producing activities of assigned DD programs, and acting as community advocates.

The Program Coordinator position, open at our Wittwer Hall location, coordinates and delivers all in-house group, vocational and recreational activities in specific programs. Putting together activities for clients is their primary function. This person, especially, is called upon to know and understand the mechanisms behind Alvis’ DD programming. Program Coordinators report to the Regional Director, and support the gap between the Program Manager and Home Manager. Wittwer Hall is one of Alvis’ larger residential facilities, with approximately 15 clients. This position also requires a Bachelor’s degree.

This is just a broad overview of what these positions entail. Alvis is currently looking for many new employees to join the team, and all of our career postings can be found 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.

Behavioral Healthcare Position Openings: Family Case Managers, Therapist, Clinical Supervisors

Interested in working in the fields of behavioral healthcare and social work? Alvis has openings for two family case managers and two clinical supervisors at our Columbus locations, and a therapist at our Lima location. These positions work full-time, Monday-Friday, and all of them are tied to Alvis’ person-centered, evidence-based, integrated behavioral healthcare.

For each of these positions, up to a $2500 retention bonus is offered!

The family case manager positions are placed with Alvis’ Child and Family team at our Amethyst location. Amethyst is a uniquely supportive, holistic treatment center for women experiencing co-occurring substance use disorders and mental health disorders, often in conjunction with extensive trauma. Family case managers at Amethyst must be female-only, licensed social workers with at least a Bachelor’s degree. This position links clients and their families to necessary resources in the community, for services such as assessments, child care and education, clothing, food, transportation, maintenance of finances, and advocacy on the family’s behalf. They are also responsible for appropriate programming for women and children, developing treatment plans for women, children, and families, and interacting with fellow staff on a daily basis to provide clients with comprehensive treatment.

The openings for our clinical supervisor positions are located within Recovery Choices, which is Alvis’ other integrated behavioral healthcare program. Recovery Choices was created as a behavioral health agency for Alvis’ halfway houses, and clients have vans that transport them between the houses and Recovery Choices. Clinical supervisors must have a master’s degree, and, at minimum, be a licensed independent social worker or a professional clinical counselor. Their primary function is to oversee and provide integrated behavioral healthcare services, diagnose and treat co-occurring substance use disorders and mental health disorders, and provide case management and treatment planning for clients. The clinical supervisor also directs the day-to-day operations of the treatment program, provides overall clinical management of the program, and provides overall administrative management of the program.

The therapist position at our Lima location, also employed within the Recovery Choices program, must have a Bachelor’s degree and minimal licensures in social work or professional counseling. This person’s primary duties involve providing integrated behavioral healthcare services, including treatment of addiction and mental/emotional disorders, along with case management and treatment planning for clients who have been referred to Alvis for outpatient or residential treatment. Therapists must develop comprehensive care management plans, provide case management services alongside case managers and the courts when appropriate, and follow operating procedures to ensure compliance with OhioMHAS, CARF, and Alvis. They also will be responsible for attending committees, conferences, and other non-routine activities as needed, dictated by the clinical supervisor.

This is just a broad overview of what these positions entail. Alvis is currently looking for many new employees to join the team, and all of our career postings can be found 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.

POWER Program

On Thursday, July 11th, Alvis and its partners, Franklin County Probation and Talbot Hall, are celebrating three successful years of the POWER (Partnering Organizations for Wellness, Empowerment, and Recovery) program. During its first three years, nearly 300 people have come to the POWER program for treatment of opiate addiction combined with justice involvement. “Maybe it’s because they’re all there for the same reason and they have that common bond,” says Chris Mullen, Interim Operations Manager at Alvis’ Jackson Pike facility, who admires that individuals involved with POWER are very much a team. “It’s really important to have peer encouragement whenever you’re going through a life-changing program.”

A life-changing program is exactly what the POWER program is. In the midst of the nation’s opiate addiction epidemic, this program addresses the urgent need for treatment in central Ohio. A partnership between Franklin County Adult Probation, Alvis, and Talbot Hall, the POWER program involves holistic, evidence-based treatment combined with court supervision, medication-assisted treatment (primarily Vivitrol), counseling, and behavioral therapies. This program is based at Alvis’ Jackson Pike facility. Up to 20 clients participate in the residential program at any given time.

The Process of Recovery

Accepted clients either self-report, or are transported to Jackson Pike by probation officers, and receive assessments and treatment plans at Talbot Hall, which also determines their residential or outpatient track. Assessments include determining if a client needs detoxification, medications and/or other health care. Following detox and the recommendation of medically-assisted treatment, participants receive their first Vivitrol injection (or another medication approved for treatment of opiate addiction). Simultaneously, participants receive medical care at Talbot Hall and group and individual substance abuse counseling at Jackson Pike. All clients follow their designated program track. Residential care also involves life skills education, cognitive behavioral treatment, and ongoing case management.

Treatment plans are highly individualized depending upon assessed needs, but developed according to a similar treatment structure. Clients go through the same Phases—Phase One is approximately 14 days, including detoxification/initial administration of medication assisted treatment. Phase Two (approximately 3 months) involves core treatment. Phase Three (approximately one month) focuses on relapse prevention, reentry, recommendations for aftercare in the community, and following up on any unmet assessed needs. Phase Four consists of aftercare in accordance iwth the treatment plan. Phase Five, the last phase, entails continuous care addressing one’s substance abuse disorder. During Phase One, clients remain in Alvis’ residential program and participate in ambulatory detox that also addresses medical needs daily at Talbot Hall.

Changing Lives

POWER program Alvis blog

Many clients in the POWER program have battled addiction, but it is often their first time their addiction has coincided with justice involvement. Clients are taking a hard look at themselves and how they came to Alvis, then working with treatment staff to develop the plan, skills and supports that will change their lives for the better. Michael, a client, was born to parents addicted to drugs. He was adopted at the age of 7 and grew up on the South Side of Columbus. As he got older, he also became addicted. Michael attempted to quit for his children and when the attempt failed, he ended up losing them. “It breaks my heart,” he said. “This time, I got help for myself, because I want to live life on life’s terms.” He mentions that the Vivitrol, especially, has been helpful, and is going to help save his life. “I want to go to any lengths to get sober and get my family back.”

For other clients, like Christopher and Adam, this program marked a journey of self-cultivation and understanding. POWER, Christopher notes, allowed him to “learn a lot about myself while being sober,” including how it affects himself, loved ones, and society as a whole. “I lost my mom while I was in here on the date of April 27th.” Following this, Christopher went through multiple relapses, but staff stuck by him and continued to work with him on his efforts to change the patterns of behavior that have led to devastating consequences. The staff, he finds, are very supportive and helpful. “I just hope I can continue to take what they taught me here and take it into my everyday life… I’ve been in prison and in and out of county jails and programs and it didn’t really click until now.” One thing that stands out to POWER Client Adam, is “the way they change thinking. Ways I thought I was set in stone made me look at different ideas. To think things through.” Adam is performing a rendition of “Lost Highway” by Hank Williams, Sr., at the celebration on the 11th. He chose to play a song that “touches bases on men similar in my shoes.” A huge takeaway that he’s learned from POWER is that there is always hope.

Over and over, POWER participants emphasized the role of staff when attributing how they found their inner power to stay clean and work to successfully reenter into the community. Jacy, who completed POWER two weeks ago, states simply that staff “genuinely cared about me and my future being successful.” It was because of the committed staff that he was able to overcome the challenges that come with battling a substance use disorder. “Try to take everything you can from the program. They will set you up to be successful.” John, another recent graduate of the program, is also determined to move forward because of the support that he’s received from the staff, which entails “a bunch of tools that I’m going to need out in the real world.” He reasons that this involves dealing with situations, rather than relying to drug use/criminal activity, as well as learning new ways to view things, and different thought processes. He’s motivated to do this for a variety of reasons: “Just wanting to stay clean, wanting to be a better, productive member of society…for my family. I’ve got a bunch of little kids as well.”

Another client, Dave, who came in on May 7th, put it simply: “Great program, great group  of guys, couldn’t ask for a better staff.” Like other Alvis programs, POWER does not just focus on treating the illness, but holistically treating the individual. Whether it is GED courses or job readiness programs, the end goal for particpants in POWER is to truly become empowered so that they can turn their lives around for the better.

Alvis joins Stephanie Ward, Program Director, and Chris Ayers, POWER Coordinator, in congratulating current clients and graduates of the POWER Program who are now looking forward to a future  filled with sobriety and success.

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.

DSP Spotlight – Camilla Jackson

DSP Spotlight- Camilla Jackson

Alvis has locations all across Ohio, and we treasure our talented, passionate staff at these locations who truly care about the work they do.

One of these people is Camilla Jackson, a Direct Support Professional (DSP) with Developmental Disability (DD) Services at Alvis. Jackson was recently recognized 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 awards ceremony took place in Newark, and honored agencies across Licking County involved in work with DD populations. Many from the non-profit world attended, and Jackson represented Alvis.

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. Both of Camilla Jackson’s awards highlight the outstanding commitment she has shown toward her clients and her vocation.

Daily, Jackson works directly with residential clients and provides them with services, such as assisting with medication, doctor’s appointments, cooking, cleaning, and day-long outings.

Few people get to work directly to change the lives of the clients of whom they get to work. For DSPs, however, this magnitude of impact occurs daily. Jackson stresses that patience is key in this line of work. “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.” Outings especially keep the guys busy, and, according to Jackson, are always a source of enjoyment.

DSPs work with support specialists and provide individualized services to clients, who each have their own Individual Program Plan (IPP) or Individual Services Plan (ISP). They encourage Alvis’ mission of holistic growth and recognizing the potential in each of our clients.

One of the most rewarding aspects of Jackson’s job is simply being there for clients and listening to them. Jackson has been with Alvis for a year and ten months. “It seems longer than that,” she says, “but I really love it!”

The passion that Jackson demonstrates within her vocation is one of the powerful, guiding forces that Alvis treasures in its DSPs, and other staff located at our DD sites.

We congratulate Camilla, and thank her for the commitment she’s shown to making a #180DegreeImpact on clients, and the 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.

Client Spotlight – Chris

Chris Alvis client

Chris, 24, is from Zanesville, Ohio. After serving 52 days at the London prison, he now is finishing up his time as an Alvis client at our Jackson Pike location, on a treatment transfer program (TTP) for drug and alcohol users. TTPs are individualized, based on what programmers determine a particular client needs.

Chris began his time at Alvis in an IOP (intensive outpatient program), and then completed classes at the Reeb Avenue Center. He then went to OSHA-10 and OSHA-30, which are construction-oriented occupational health and safety hazard training program. Chris quickly progressed through his outlined programming for Alvis, however, and now tutors people at one of Alvis’ re-entry centers for GED certification. He’s doing this until completely finishing his TTP, upon which he’ll be released with an ankle monitor—but he’s also doing much more.

“After I started going to the re-entry center and saw how everything operated over there, after I finished all the certificates I could get over there for my career path, I was basically done at that point… I started tutoring people over there. They gave me my own office that was vacant. I’d stay over there 8-5 every day, tutor people and help with anything I can throughout the facility and the operations that they do over there.” Not only has Chris become a valued asset to Alvis at the re-entry center, but he is considering a career with Alvis after finishing his time as a client, after 2 years! Lots of people who have involvement with the justice system need to be tutored for GEDs, and Chris has a college background, with a 4-year bachelor’s degree in occupational safety and health administration. Additionally, Chris helps fellow clients with employment, staffing, housing, applying for social security benefits, and accessing benefits. “Some of the people don’t even think of me as a client,” he says.

Before arriving at Alvis, Chris thought that it was only a halfway house. He did not expect the slew of services and programs that were readily available for him to take advantage of. “Also,” he adds, “when I get out of here, I can use these services for life.” Chris has been going home on passes for nearly a month now. For him, Alvis is now like a legitimate job, which completely helps him prepare for the rest of his life after completing his programs here. On weekends, he goes home and relaxes. “The impact this has on the community is really everything, between housing and funding and financial aid for schools, references through Alvis…everything you need, they can help in some aspect, and if they can’t, they’ll find someone who can.”

Chris is in the process of getting his record sealed so he can possibly go back to firefighting again. Firefighting was Chris’ former career path, as he grew up and attended Jr. Fire Camp from age 13 throughout high school. He was a firefighter until he turned 21 and got married. The skills that he learned as a firefighter have applied at Alvis, too. Chris impacts some of the younger clients at Jackson Pike, who are less experienced and aware of the reality of the justice system. “Make this the stopping point at Alvis,” he frequently stresses, “and make things better.”

A big motivator for Chris’ drive to help out at the re-entry location is seeing the impact he makes on fellow clients. “The more and more I give back, the more I help people like I’m doing now.” Chris was imprisoned on May 15th of last year. Being in such a controlled environment despite his social, active personality, drove him to seek out ways to become involved, which led him to going above and beyond after coming to Alvis.

“I know where I was in my worst days of addiction, and I don’t ever want to go back there, so I try to help people as much as I can to lift their self-esteem, lift their self-worth, and help them achieve what they want to do.” A typical day for Chris used to involve IOP three days a week, and fellowship with other clients. “It’s laid back, really,” he explains. In the early days, challenges arose, as did experiencing bad behaviors. Chris strove to set himself apart from the bad behavior. He finds importance in getting out of the location itself and not simply staying in the building, so that clients are able to truly see what is out there and available to them.

Chris is thankful to Alvis for the tools it has given him to take his life back into his own hands so that he can live up to his true potential. “It’s a very good organization, and I’m very blessed… not everyone gets this opportunity.” For Chris, Alvis is a stepping stone to get back into the community, and his actions demonstrate how clients are able to make huge, #180DegreeImpacts in order to better themselves.

Treating the whole person doesn’t end in diagnosis or programming at Alvis—it entails focusing on clients as they progress throughout their entire journey. Even as they graduate into the real world, Alvis remains as a resource for them to help with transitional needs that may arise. We congratulate Chris on his journey to recovery, and thank him for going above and beyond to pass light onto others in the Alvis 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.

Celebrating Graduates of the Amethyst program at The Columbus Foundation

Celebrating the women graduating from the Amethyst program at The Columbus Foundation

Amethyst, an Alvis recovery program, provides integrated behavioral healthcare services specifically designed to meet the treatment needs of women. This unique program also provides supportive housing and children up to age 18 can live with their mothers while the mother is in treatment. The children receive counseling and other supportive services to address issues that may have arisen as a result of having a mother impacted by addiction and they participate in prevention programming designed to break the cycle of addiction.

On June 28th, The Columbus Foundation hosted the graduation ceremony for 12 women who completed all five phases of the Amethyst program. In what was once an annual ceremony, these graduations now occur twice a year because there are so many clients served in the Amethyst program. The room was filled with families, sponsors, community members, and agency staff. After opening remarks from Alvis President and CEO, Denise M. Robinson, each graduate was introduced by their counselor and then shared something about their recovery journey. Many touching, inspirational stories were shared.

“Today, we are celebrating the healing power of recovery, reunited and strengthened families, and hope for a brighter future,” said Robinson. “The fact is, no one comes to the Amethyst program because things are going well. It took strength and courage to get you into treatment. The day you came to the Amethyst program, you let a little sliver of hope into your life. Over time and with the help of staff, the clients who came before you, and others, that little sliver of hope began to grow…Today, your sliver of hope has become a shining star.”

Victoria “Tori” Buck, one of the primary counselors at Amethyst, led the individual recognition portion of the graduation ceremony. Ten graduates were in attendance. A powerful statistic she brought forth was that all of the graduates, combined, had a total of 32 years, 1 month, and 6 days clean and sober.

All of the graduates, and nearly everyone in attendance, was privy to a range of emotions, including lots of laughter and tears. Not every graduate was able to articulate how they felt, but the room felt the sheer impact of their stories, their feelings, and their hope.

“When I came to Amethyst, I thought nothing was wrong with me,” began Jess, one of the graduates. She thought it would be easy to pass through Amethyst, but realized that she needed her perspective challenged. “It’s created a new self-awareness. I’m very aware about the things I do and why I do them.” Now, as she leaves Amethyst, she considers clients and staff as family.

Another graduate, Robin, thanked God, and those who believed in her from the start. “What Miss Denise said about feeling lonely, hopeless—I felt all that. This program has helped me restore everything.” Courtney, another graduate, remembers the exact day she changed her life: April 24, 2015. This was the day she drove herself up to the Amethyst program to enter treatment. “I had to humble myself and ask for help, which still to this day is very hard to do.” While, in the beginning of this program she was doing it for her children, after this program, she now finds that she’s doing it for herself.

Two other meaningful parts of the ceremony involved the graduates giving flowers to others. First, they gave flowers to friends and family members who were especially helpful to them during their time in the program. Then, the graduates gave flowers to all of the women in the Amethyst treatment community in each phase of treatment, descending from Community, Empowerment, Foundation, Hope, and Entry.

Virginia “Ginny” O’Keeffe, one of the founding mothers of Amethyst, was in attendance at the graduation. Because of her shared vision and heart with the other founding mothers, the Amethyst program has saved thousands of lives over the years. Sarah Niemeyer, who retired as Clinical Director of the Amethyst program a couple of years ago, was also at the ceremony, cheering on the clients for reaching this milestone.

Shannon Ginther, Chair of Columbus Women Commission, Senior Director of Community Health Partnerships at OhioHealth, and First Lady of Columbus, expressed her sentiments upon attending the graduation. “It’s even more amazing standing on this side,” she said. “Thank you for the opportunity to be with you today.” Ginther’s whole life has been spent learning about women, families, communities, and how to best help them. She stressed the impact of hearing real stories from the women, both as sources of education and inspiration. “You are exactly where you are meant to be. Step proud, step into that. Congratulations!”

Linda Janes, Chief Program Officer of Alvis, closed out the ceremony, noting, “Outside of this room, we hear one story after another about the tragedy of the opiate epidemic. Today, we’ve heard about recovery that works, that lasts, and that is changing the future for these women and their children.” Janes said that all can feel the warmth and hope shine in this room. “The Amethyst program is so much more than a treatment program – it is a community of recovery.” Like other Alvis programs, the Amethyst program remains committed to turning lives around. “We wrap our arms around you and we hold you tight. Our staff never give up.”

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.

Promoting Wellness on National Hydration Day

As the weather heats up, it’s becoming more and more important to take care of our bodies, especially if we’re outside. Today, June 23, is National Hydration Day. This day is aligned with National Men’s Health Month and some of the other recent national awareness days we’ve been blogging and posting about, such as Senior Health and Fitness Day, and Call Your Doctor Day. National Hydration Day is exactly what it sounds like—keeping yourself hydrated!

This day is also rather timely, considering that two days ago, June 21, was the first official day of summer in 2019.  June is also the second most popular vacation month in the Midwest, according to a Gallup poll.  

This summer, Alvis is all geared up with various programs that provide opportunities for learning and growth. One area of focus is on youth, who are out of school and looking for ways to enjoy summer fun.  We are also focused on families, as summer is a traditional time for more family activities and togetherness because kids are out of school and have more time.

One of these programs is SummerQuest: a day camp for youth whose mothers are involved with Amethyst, an Alvis recovery program. Funded by the ADAMH Board, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and private donations, SummerQuest allows children to participate in age-appropriate activities, go on educational field trips, and take part in outdoor games, sports, and activities.  Most importantly, SummerQuest provides supportive counseling for children who experienced trauma in their lives before their mothers came to the Amethyst program for treatment.

The Summer Reading Program allows kids aged K-12 who are involved in our Family and Children’s Program, to track their reading progress (similar to reading programs in schools). This program runs from June 15 to August 3. As an immediate reward, they receive one age-appropriate book gifted to them when they embark on their summer reading journey. The children read their books alongside family members and guardians, so the whole family is engaged in the joy of reading. As they come back every two weeks, the children can pick from a batch of prizes when they reach certain milestones. At the end of the summer, they will be able to pick one big prize from a treasure chest.

In addition to our youth and family programs, Alvis staff are committed to supporting mental and physical health and wellness for all clients. Physical health and mental health are interconnected, and Alvis aims to ensure that our clients are able to explore and learn more ways to live healthy, happy lives.

The participation that we see amongst children and families through these programs each year inspires us all to continue in our commitment to making 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.

The Origin Story of Amethyst, an Alvis recovery program

The origin story of Amethyst, an Alvis recovery program

The Origin Story of Amethyst, an Alvis recovery program

In 1984, nine women in recovery began a peer support program. Their vision identified the demand for integrated behavioral healthcare for women with children who also needed housing.

“It’s difficult to get addiction treatment along with long-term housing arrangements,” explains Heidi Hess, Clinical Director of the Amethyst program. While Amethyst has been around for 34 years, it was only recently acquired by Alvis in 2017. This provided the Amethyst program with additional monetary and administrative support. In central Ohio, the Amethyst program has continued to be a uniquely supportive, holistic treatment center for women with co-occurring substance use disorders and mental health disorders, often in conjunction with extensive trauma. A huge factor that makes the Amethyst program distinct from other treatment programs for women is the fact that it allows for women to live with their minor children, and it specifically works to reunite and strengthen families. According to Hess, there are only a handful of treatment centers that work to re-engage children with their mothers. Most residences at Amethyst have more than one bedroom, and the program provides services for women and their children.

The Amethyst program is one of Alvis’ two integrated behavioral healthcare programs. The other one, Recovery Choices, was created to provide behavioral healthcare services to individuals with justice involvement. Many Recovery Choices clients reside in Alvis’ residential reentry centers and rely on vans to transport them between the residential program and Recovery Choices. Women in Alvis’ residential reentry programs and in treatment at Recovery Choices may eventually transition to Amethyst to support their long term recovery.

The Amethyst program provides both an outpatient program and an intensive outpatient program (IOP). The main difference between these programs is the amount of time spent in treatment each week and the overall duration of the treatment, with IOP requiring more time in treatment. Recovery housing is an additional aspect of the Amethyst program model. The primary goal is always a lifetime of recovery.

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. For contact information regarding intake, click here.

“Clients come to us from all sorts of places,” Hess explains. Many come from the judicial system. “We work very closely with the CATCH court and drug court in Franklin County.” Women who receive referrals from those courts as well as women going through the shelter system are eligible to receive treatment at the Amethyst program. Prior to arriving at the Amethyst program, many clients live with relatives or “couch surf,” unable to get on their feet due to their struggle with addiction. Others are referred by word of mouth.

Effective treatment is always rooted in highly individualized treatment plans and follows a typical process. After a woman first makes the initial contact with Amethyst, she is screened by an intake counselor and recommended for a level of care in accordance with her symptoms. Following the intake, a client is educated in terms of the criteria she meets for the treatment level

of care. If she meets IOP or outpatient criteria, she then attends an orientation, where she learns about all of the programming. After orientation, she’ll be engaged with her intake counselor as her first counselor at Amethyst, and join an entry level group with other clients who are also new to recovery.

Once into the treatment schedule, a client will spend her morning sessions focused on treatment for substance use disorder, while afternoon sessions address mental health treatment needs. There are also lunch groups and specialty treatment groups to address topics such as trauma and parenting. Women who have been at the Amethyst program for a longer period of time attend a group called “Moving Forward,” which focuses on the steps they need to take in order to move forward and live independently.

Outside of the typical day-to-day structure, however, there is even more room for individualized treatment. On Wednesdays, time is given for women to attend outside appointments. On Fridays, women in the Amethyst treatment program attend 9am community meetings, which include all members of the Amethyst community. This is a time to express gratitude, offer words of encouragement, and/or seek help and information from peers and staff. Following this, a 12-step meeting is chaired by one client. In addition to the 12-step meetings, women take turns finding leads and guest speakers to present. For example, Capital University Law School’s Legal Clinic has come to talk about expungement and owners of a therapy farm have visited. “It’s a whole host of experts out in the community in any given field,” says Hess. After that, clients are split into groups oriented around trauma and parenting.

The Amethyst program provides services for both women and children. The Family and Children’s Team are dedicated to helping moms manage their children and care for their needs so the children are happy and healthy. Clients’ school-age children are transported to afterschool programs, which are free of charge, so that mothers can focus on treatment. The SummerQuest program provides kids aged K-12 the opportunity to come to a specialized summer day camp at the Amethyst program and participate in fun and outdoor activities. This year, SummerQuest kicked off on May 31, 2019. Campers go to places like pools, COSI, and the Columbus Zoo. SummerQuest aligns with the summer break of Columbus City Schools, and there are additional camp-type programs for children that occur over other breaks in the school year.

SummerQuest, afterschool, and other youth 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 so that children of clients receive all services they would if they were living in the community rather than at the Amethyst program.

Services for children are individualized, so that Amethyst is able to be a one-stop shop for both children and moms. Treatment services are also available for pregnant women, regardless of their stage of pregnancy.

After being discharged, clients enter the “aftercare” phase of the program. During aftercare, clients meet with other recently discharged clients in peer groups, once a week, for 90 minutes.

Following the completion of aftercare, graduates of the Amethyst program can choose to stay in treatment for up to two additional years. “The odds of staying with us and being successfully discharged are very high,” says Hess.

Graduations from the program are special events for the graduates and their family members, as well as the current clients. This year, on June 28th, at the Columbus Foundation, 12 women will be graduating from the Amethyst program, a larger than usual class. Hess herself is very excited. “The most rewarding part of my position as Clinical Director at Amethyst is certainly watching a client moving from active addiction and fearfulness, and coming off of the street, into the light of willingness and wanting to recover, and wanting to be a real contributing member of their community and the society at large.” Seeing families reunite, teaching people how to live as adults in recovery, and helping others overcome addiction is, as Hess puts it, “My most joyful experience on a daily basis.”

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 Career Nurse Assistants’ Day: Celebrating Direct Support Staff

National Career Nurse Assistants’ Day: Celebrating Direct Support Staff

You probably didn’t know it, but June 13th is National Career Nurse Assistants’ Day! This is a day designed to commend nursing assistants and applaud all of the wonderful things they do. This day also marks the kickoff to an entire week, known as National Nursing Assistant’s Week.

Sponsored by the National Network of Career Nursing Assistants, Career Nurse Assistants’ Day, in a more general sense, celebrates direct support staff and the work that they do.

Alvis does not currently employ nursing assistants, but that isn’t going to stop us from celebrating the plethora of medically-related staff we have at Alvis who are dedicated to working with our clients to meet both their daily and long-term needs. These positions include:

  • Direct Support Professionals, who work with clients with developmental disabilities in a capacity similar to nursing assistants by helping these clients to lead lives that are more independent and fully participate in their communities;
  • Cognitive Behavioral Specialists, who work with clients to help them recognize patterns of thinking that can lead to harmful behaviors;
  • Counselors and Therapists, who are making a difference in the lives of clients in multiple Alvis programs, including our Amethyst and Recovery Choices programs, which serve clients with substance use disorders and/or mental health disorders.

There are current openings for some of these positions at Alvis.  If you are a caring and compassionate person who wants to help people transform their lives, Alvis is the place for you! Join our team in doing this life-changing work.

Across all Alvis programs, our goal is to make a #180DegreeImpact and provide our clients with the tools and support to live courageously and change their stories. This would not be possible without our gifted staff. 

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 Children’s Day

Happy National Children’s Day! In celebration of children and their futures, this day takes place every second Sunday in June.

National Children’s Day was created by Reverend Dr. Charles Leonard of the Universalist Church of the Redeemer in Chelsea, Massachusetts in 1856 as a special day to baptize children, but it has recently evolved as a day to honor all children.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day have become staples in American culture, and Children’s Day, which takes place in between both days, serves largely the same purpose. Children’s Day encourages us to take a step back, appreciate our families through a new lens, and realize what (or, rather, who) we are thankful for. For some, this might mean spending a little extra time with their children; for others, it may mean showing love for all of the children in their lives, and the potential and hope that they bring.

Not only is National Children’s Day a welcome means to express how much we value our youth, but it is also needed to spread awareness about the struggles that many children in our nation face. In fact, 3.6 million referrals involving 6.6 million children are made each year to child protection agencies, and a historically high 2.6 million children are homeless in the U.S.—that’s 1 in 30 children.

As a human services agency, employees at Alvis are touched by the challenges of the children and families we serve on a daily basis. One of Alvis’ behavioral healthcare programs, Amethyst, specifically targets needs of children whose mothers are in treatment for co-occurring mental health and addictions disorders at the Amethyst program. These children face their own challenges that are the result of living in uncertainty while their mothers were actively using. Staff at Amethyst offer comprehensive services to children, including counseling, academic support, trauma services, substance use prevention and more.  They are able to receive full access to the same opportunities (and more) that they would if they were living in the community instead of at the Amethyst program. The Amethyst program’s SummerQuest camp, which kicked off its 2019 camp on June 1st, is a prime example of how Amethyst and the mothers in treatment are brightened by the presence of children and it shows the program’s commitment to children’s wellbeing.

On the first Saturday of every month, Alvis has Donuts with Dad, which involves children and their fathers getting together for some fun (and donuts!). Alvis will also be hosting a Father’s Day Picnic at Westgate Park in Columbus to celebrate fathers and their families. Recently, our Mother’s Day celebration provided some heartwarming moments between children and their mothers, as they participated in crafts and went “shopping” for Mother’s Day presents.

Many Alvis clients across multiple types of programs are working hard to reconnect and strengthen relationships with their children.  Research and our experience have shown that children are a powerful source of motivation for clients who are working to turn their lives around and make a #180DegreeImpact for themselves and their loved ones all around them.

Across communities, the faces of children stand out as bringing hope to communities and inspiring all to work toward a better future. Alvis strives to create community in every facet of our programs. We provide tools to help clients to re-engage with their families, neighbors and communities.  While at Alvis, clients form their own communities that encourage growth and focus on each client’s potential rather than on their past. The supportive community we form with our clients helps them on their 180 degree journey to return to their families and communities full of hope and promise rather than addiction and despair.

Our children are vital in forming loving, positive communities. At Alvis, we see children as instrumental in our programs and our commitment is extended to them, whether it is through our services for Families and Children or in the services that are dedicated to directly addressing the needs of the children. We warmly celebrate #NationalChildrensDay, and remain aware and grateful for the children who can look forward to a better future because they have been impacted by programs 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.

SummerQuest’s Kick-Off Recap

Recapping SummerQuest’s Kick-Off

This past Friday, children and mothers joined in festive fun to celebrate the beginning of SummerQuest—an annual summer camp for kids staying at Amethyst, an Alvis recovery program for mothers with children. 

When children arrived, they were given goodie bags filled with trinkets, such as water bottles, sunscreen, and candy. Summer bops filled the sunny afternoon with ambiance, while contests involving ring toss, beanbags, and bubble blowing, encouraged lots of friendly competition. The most popular activities were the face painting station, where moms painted their children’s faces with flowers, butterflies, and other colorful designs, and the bounce castle, where children adventured under the watchful eyes of their mothers and staff. 

The children were visibly ecstatic to be at there. When asked about her favorite part of SummerQuest, returning camper, Rylee, said “seeing all my friends.” This was echoed by many other children as well, and noted by their mothers. For mom, Cierra Baker, this was her first SummerQuest. As a mother, she is currently a client in the Amethyst recovery program. “It just means that my children, while I’m working on myself and in treatment, actually get to have fun and do stuff that normal children get to do during summer, so I think that it’s an amazing thing and I’m really grateful for it.” While this is Baker’s first SummerQuest, another family—mother, Courtney, and daughter, Denise—wearing matching Lilo and Stitch tops, experienced their third and final kick-off. “It’s meant a lot for us…when we’re at SummerQuest, we feel like we’re with family,” highlighted Denise.


Mothers Heather Whaley and Rachel Huddleston found value in the friendships that their kids are able to make at camp. Whaley’s kids are able to “learn social skills” and “be a part of the community,” while Huddleston appreciates it as “a place for them to talk to people” and “learn how to be team players.”

According to Audia Fraley, Clinical Program Manager at the Amethyst program, 40 kids are currently registered for SummerQuest, which is funded by the ADAMH Board. “During the course of the summer, they’ll focus on curriculum that helps boost their self-esteem and  boost their protective factors.”  “I have the fortunate opportunity to work alongside the Child and Family Team,’ said Fraley. “ Without their assistance, this could not have happened.” Like the mothers and children at Amethyst, Fraley finds SummerQuest as a time that encourages coming together. “When I say we came together as a family, we truly came together as a family to support families.”

Heidi Hess, Clinical Director of the Amethyst program, reiterated that SummerQuest serves children aged Kindergarten through 13 years of age.  SummerQuest serves kids who are sporadically visiting family members through the summer  (like grandparents) and  kids who arein treatment with their mothers. SummerQuest is funded by the ADAMH Board of Franklin County, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and private donation so it can be provided at no cost to the  mothers participating in treatment at Amethyst.

As the afternoon progressed, mothers, children, and staff, including Fraley and Hess, quickly congregated to dance the “Cha-Cha Slide” and the “Cupid Shuffle,” proceeding to dissipate just as quickly to get back to the many other activities happening across the back lot. Food included Jersey Mike’s subs, which were generously donated by the Powell location, as well as Rice Krispie treats, chips, juice, water, and soda.

Many kids also showed off their creativity, whether it was through doing the splits on the dancefloor, dying their hair with purple paint, coloring SummerQuest-themed pictures, or creating paper crafts. One camper, Juliana, performed her own solo version of “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten, and received cheers of adoration from everyone in attendance.

Near the end of the day, the staff at Amethyst recognized each camper with certificates of appreciation.  This was followed by popsicles, a free-for-all water balloon fight led by the kids, and more dancing—by the end, even the  DJ was dancing!

This is the 2nd SummerQuest for Managing Director of Behavioral Health, Sherry Inskeep. “What I’ve learned about our program,” said Inskeep, “is that it really supports our ladies when they are in treatment. That’s one of the goals of Amethyst…we take away all the barriers so that they have the time to really focus on their treatment.” SummerQuest is a program that prevents added stress that summer could otherwise bring for mothers undergoing behavioral healthcare treatment, while also benefitting children, who learn, grow, and create lasting memories with their Amethyst family. 

Simply put, Inskeep finds that the program is “a lot of fun that every other kid gets an opportunity to do during camp, and so we want to make sure our kids get to do that, too.”

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.

Monday Outreach at the Reeb Center

Monday Outreach at the Reeb Avenue Center

The Reeb Avenue Center, located on 280 Reeb Ave., is a hub of hope for members of the South Side Neighborhood of Columbus. 

Recently, Alvis marketing interns led by Marketing Consultant, Priscila Teixeira, engaged in community outreach at the Reeb Avenue Center for the kickoff of its Summer Food Service Program. The program feeds youth ranging in age from babies and toddlers up to 19 for free each week, Monday-Saturday, for the entire summer. 

Outdoor festivities included a DJ and a balloon artist, who created a wide range of critters, including dogs, rattlesnakes, and monkeys. Staff, volunteers, and Alvis interns served plates of food to families, while indoors, Alvis interns provided “Despicable Me” themed popsicles to children, who especially went bananas for the banana-flavored ones!

According to Mandi Rudnick, last year’s Summer Food Service Program averaged less than 20 meals per day, but at this year’s kickoff, that number more than doubled.

The Reeb Avenue Center offers a multitude of resources to community members on the South Side of Columbus, but according to Executive Director Ally Zahler, Reeb is not merely providing handouts. They offer services, love, and support to individuals and families and they also facilitate opportunities for education and employment. The Reeb Avenue Center clearly identifies the needs of its neighbors, which entail building self-sufficiency through opportunities, and transforming lives through education, job training, and local job growth, including entrepreneurship.

Alvis is one of the Resource Partners at Reeb—located on the main floor, Alvis provides adult education programs and workforce development services. Denise M. Robinson, President and CEO of Alvis, is also a member of the Reeb Avenue Center’s Board of Directors. 

Other organizations, such as the South Side Boys and Girls Club and Godman Guild provide educational resources for youth and adult learners, while organizations like Community Development for All People (CD4AP) focus on delivering community connections and health-related resources. In general, the building itself serves as a center for information and growth, both through formalized classes, as well as weekly events that are topic-centered (such as a Community Meal, morning “Coffee and Conversations,” and yoga).

Owned by the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, the South Side Roots Café, Market, and Kitchen is one of Reeb’s most unique features. An aesthetically-pleasing space to eat, it also offers a reading nook and community-oriented, casual seating. Both the Café and Market offer authentic, farm-to-table food, which is instrumental in providing community members with healthier eating choices that improve both physical and mental health. It provides a much-needed oasis of healthy food, as the nearest grocery store is one mile away for most of Reeb’s neighbors. To eat at the café, a person can either pay the full suggested price for an item; spend a little more and “pay it forward” to cover costs for future customers at the café; or work at the café in exchange for having a hot meal to eat. The market includes nutritious food options, like a variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables, as well as essentials, like toilet paper, for a grab-and-go availability. 

Alvis interns were inspired by helping out at Reeb for just one day. We were equally inspired by those involved at Reeb, who remain steadfastly committed to helping their neighbors in need on the South Side and the individuals and families who come to Reeb so they are able to positively enhance life for themselves and their children. 

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 Smile Day

You’re never fully dressed without a smile! At the end of this month, on May 31st, join Alvis in celebrating National Smile Day.

As National Mental Health Awareness Month draws to a close, it is worth considering the positive effects of smiling, and what smiling can do, both for us and the people around us. According to certain studies that have been done on the science of smiling, our smiles (even when forced) are able to reduce stress and increase levels of dopamine in the brain. We naturally smile when our brains are happy, and our brains are happy when we smile. Additionally, smiling is contagious! We’re inclined to mirror the expressions of our friends, illustrating how one smile can truly alter another person’s  entire frame of mind and brighten their day.

Apart from instant mood improvement, smiles actually improve the brain and reduce anxiety levels and blood pressure. Likewise, because smiles are contagious, there’s a likely chance that you’ll be able to make good impressions on other people while simultaneously making them feel good, whether it’s for a job interview, or a coffee date. In fact, the first thing that we notice upon meeting a new person is their smile!

Perhaps most importantly, though, smiling helps make the world a better place. National Smile Day was started by Dr. Tim Stirneman and Jim Wojdyla of Compassionate Dental Care just last year when they wanted to convey the power of a healthy smile to the world. National Smile Day is also the day before National Smile Month—a month dedicated to  spreading happiness and practicing good oral health care—so smiling is sure to continue well into the summer!

Many of Alvis’ clients and alumni  have undergone great struggles, trauma, and hardship. However, Alvis believes that each person’s potential is more important than their past. We strive every day to encourage our clients and their families to find reasons to smile and find joy wherever they are and in  what they imagine for their futures.

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.

SummerQuest Kickoff

SummerQuest Kickoff

The SummerQuest kick-off takes place May 31st from 1-3 PM outside of the Amethyst program’s primary location at 455 E. Mound Street. 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, while allowing mothers to focus on their treatment. 
Kick off festivities include: DJ, face painting, picnic foods and a popcorn machine, a bounce house, a craft table, kids’ games, and pictures with the camp mascot, Ace. Food will be donated by the Powell location of Jersey Mike’s Subs (thank you Stephen Inskeep)! 

SummerQuest coincides with summer vacation for Columbus City Schools’ students, so the kick-off takes place on their first day of summer vacation. Open to kids aged K-12, the program is funded by the ADAMH Board of Franklin County, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and private donations. 

If you would like to donate to SummerQuest, click on this link: https://alvis180.org/forms/summerquest-donation/

Kids arrive daily to SummerQuest, where they participate in outdoor activities and take trips to exciting, interactive places like COSI and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, as well as going to summer staples, like swimming pools.
 
All children are divided into appropriate age groups, which each have one counselor and one counselor assistant. Amethyst’s other specialty programs for youth take place during other breaks (such as winter break) in the middle of the school year. These programs allow children to receive similar rewarding experiences, while their mothers continue to progress in their recovery. Mothers receive peace of mind, knowing that their kids are in a safe environment. SummerQuest also gives kids the opportunity to make friendships and enjoy the fun of the summer alongside peers who’ve had similar experiences. 

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 Health and Fitness Day

Calling all seniors! May 29, 2019, is National Senior Health and Fitness Day (NSHFD). Today, seniors will be participating in the largest older adult health and wellness event nationwide.

Alvis stands with the 100,000+ seniors participating in this annual event, which takes place each year on the last Wednesday of May. Communities and local organizations in more than 1,000 locations celebrate NSHFD, which is focused on keeping older Americans healthy and fit. These organizations include banks, health clubs, area agencies on aging, houses of worship, hospitals, malls, shopping centers, parks and recreation departments, retirement committees, senior centers, and state and local aging departments.

Each year, NSHFD sponsors a theme contest to determine the day’s theme. For 2019, Janet Carrato of Monroe Township, NJ submitted the winning theme: “Live and Thrive with Exercise!”

This is the 26th anniversary of NSHFD, which is part of Older Americans Month. Programs include exercise participation and demonstrations, such as fitness walks and low-impact exercises, as well as health and wellness information, screenings, and workshops. According to NSHFD program manager, Patricia Henze, the goals for this day are to, “Make exercise fun, increase awareness of the benefits of a regular exercise program for older adults, and encourage all older adults to take advantage of the many health and fitness programs offered in their communities.”

Allwell from Buckeye Health Plan is Ohio’s 2019 Official State Sponsor for the event.

Events are taking place all across Ohio, including:  

  • Reach Opportunity Center at Summit Lake in Akron, Ohio
  • Carl Linder YMCA in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Indian Hills Senior Community Apartments in Euclid, Ohio
  • Columbus Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio
  • YMCA of Greater Dayton—Downtown in Dayton, Ohio
  • Franklin Park Mall in Toledo, Ohio

Additional information regarding events and contacts can be found here.

Seniors may choose to use this day to increase their awareness and explore ways to  find enjoyment through exercise. Everyone of all ages can participate by finding the time to encourage and promote health and wellness for seniors they know, or take to social media and spread the positive message of #SeniorHealthFitnessDay!

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 Health and Fitness Day

Calling all seniors! May 29, 2019, is National Senior Health and Fitness Day (NSHFD). Today, seniors will be participating in the largest older adult health and wellness event nationwide. 

Alvis stands with the 100,000+ seniors participating in this annual event, which takes place each year on the last Wednesday of May. Communities and local organizations in more than 1,000 locations celebrate NSHFD, which is focused on keeping older Americans healthy and fit. These organizations include banks, health clubs, area agencies on aging, houses of worship, hospitals, malls, shopping centers, parks and recreation departments, retirement committees, senior centers, and state and local aging departments. 

Each year, NSHFD sponsors a theme contest to determine the day’s theme. For 2019, Janet Carrato of Monroe Township, NJ submitted the winning theme: “Live and Thrive with Exercise!” 

This is the 26th anniversary of NSHFD, which is part of Older Americans Month. Programs include exercise participation and demonstrations, such as fitness walks and low-impact exercises, as well as health and wellness information, screenings, and workshops. According to NSHFD program manager, Patricia Henze, the goals for this day are to, “Make exercise fun, increase awareness of the benefits of a regular exercise program for older adults, and encourage all older adults to take advantage of the many health and fitness programs offered in their communities.” 

Allwell from Buckeye Health Plan is Ohio’s 2019 Official State Sponsor for the event. 

Events are taking place all across Ohio, including: 

· Reach Opportunity Center at Summit Lake in Akron, Ohio 

· Carl Linder YMCA in Cincinnati, Ohio 

· Indian Hills Senior Community Apartments in Euclid, Ohio 

· Columbus Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio 

· YMCA of Greater Dayton—Downtown in Dayton, Ohio 

· Franklin Park Mall in Toledo, Ohio 

Additional information regarding events and contacts can be found here. 

Seniors may choose to use this day to increase their awareness and explore ways to find enjoyment through exercise. Everyone of all ages can participate by finding the time to encourage and promote health and wellness for seniors they know, or take to social media and spread the positive message of #SeniorHealthFitnessDay! 

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.

Integrated Behavioral Healthcare at Amethyst, an Alvis recovery program

Addressing Mental Health Issues

Amethyst, an Alvis recovery program, is 34 years old, and a unique program in central Ohio. With its focus on integrated behavioral healthcare treatment, it is unlike many other treatment and recovery programs, because it focuses on both women and their children. Specifically, the Amethyst program allows children up to age 18 to live with their mothers while the mothers are in treatment. Recently acquired by Alvis in 2017, the Amethyst program shares the same “big picture” vision shared among all Alvis’ programs: it focuses on holistic treatment. 

“Our whole goal is always a lifetime of recovery,” says Heidi Hess, Clinical Director of the Amethyst program. Hess highlights that lots of work at Amethyst is “person-centered” and “trauma informed,” that involves “treating the whole person” through “mental, physical, spiritual, and occupational” means. Part of Hess’ job is reviewing data and best practices to ensure that the program’s curriculum and goals are backed by current research, as the program aims to provide clients with the tools for a lifetime of recovery. While the Amethyst program provides services specificly for children of mothers undergoing treatment, the women at Amethyst each follow highly individualized programs that address to each woman’s needs and solutions. 

One of the first things that a woman does upon her induction into the Amethyst program is meeting with an intake counselor and completing a series of assessments. A woman’s intake counselor will be her first counselor while at Amethyst. Once she is oriented with the program and its services, a typical day involves morning treatment groups centering on substance use disorders, and afternoon treatment groups to address mental health disorders. Specialty treatment groups also meet to address trauma and parenting. All clients are involved in treatment teams, which involves clinical professionals working with the client to talk about plans, goals, concerns, progress, and emerging needs. Treatment, as Hess describes, is “solution focused,” and teams concentrate on what they are doing to keep clients moving forward on the path to recovery. 

Mental Health Recovery 

The Amethyst program specifically treats co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders, and all clients are screened by Dr. Sara McIntosh to determine medical needs, including medication. Integrated behavioral health treatment and the use of psychiatric medication is much more advanced than it was 20-30 years ago, and aids to help treat the disease of addiction. According to Hess, approximately 90% of people who have an addiction also have a current mental health diagnosis. Mental health and addiction are, many times, related. The disease of addiction causes depressive syndrome, and often times, it begs the question of which came first. Either way, Hess stresses that addiction is a diagnosed mental health issue that is treatable. It’s brain chemistry. Medications can help clients stabilize the brain’s chemistry, so that recovery is attainable. 

Specifically at the Amethyst program, most clients do have mental health and addiction treatment needs. They all are involved in mental health treatment groups. In addition to the 

sessions addressing substance abuse in the morning and mental health in the afternoon, women are linked with other community mental health treatment agencies to address additional needs. Case managers assist clients with any needs for appointments or linkage to additional mental health services. Additionally, any type of Individualized Education Program (IEP) and/or specialty services are provided so that children of clients receive all services they would if they were living in the community rather than at the Amethyst program. 

As individualized treatment plans change over the course of a client’s time at Amethyst, the treatment does not end after discharge. After being discharged, clients enter the “aftercare” phase of the program. During aftercare, clients meet with other recently discharged clients in peer groups, once a week, for 90 minutes. Aftercare continues for an entire year, and it offers support for dealing with the general challenges of life. Balancing work, school, children, and other potential stressors in early recovery can be extremely difficult. Hess cites research which finds that greater lengths of stays in treatment result in higher rates of successful long-term recovery. Keeping someone actively engaged in treatment significantly increases the likelihood of long-term, lifetime recovery. Following the completion of aftercare, graduates of the Amethyst program can choose to stay in treatment for up to two additional years. 

Challenging Stigmas 

Many times, people associate addiction with certain stigmas and some, despite all medical evidence to the contrary, do not see addiction as a disease. Hess finds that many aspects of people seeking treatment for addiction and/or mental health can be stigmatized. There are a range of negative stigmas in regards to addiction, mental health issues, poverty, and justice involvement. Alvis and its Amethyst program advocate against these stigmas through an evidence-based approach to integrated behavioral healthcare treatment. The Alvis vision is that communities believe each person’s potential is more important than their past. “What we know and believe is that addiction is a disease,” Hess says. “Mental health is a disease. When appropriately treated, people recover.” She compares recovery from addiction and mental illness to treatment and recovery from other chronic diseases, like blood pressure or diabetes. The disease may linger, but clients learn to use certain tools to live in society and remain in recovery, leading full and productive lives. Staff at Alvis’ Amethyst program work with clients to combat the stigmas revolving around addiction, mental illness, and people with past justice system involvement. In turn, clients are educated about the capacity for change and growth. The goal is holistic treatment. As Hess explains: “Yes, we treat the addiction, but we also provide basis for education and employability.” 

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 Mental Health Awareness Month Fast Facts

When it comes to thinking about caring for one’s self and body, many people first think about exercise and a nutritious diet. But did you know that what goes on inside the brain can affect physical health just as negatively as a poor diet and lack of exercise? One in five adults in the United States experience mental illness, yet it remains negatively stigmatized. Mental health disorders can have a direct and detrimental effect on one’s wellbeing, so it is necessary to have information about these conditions and how to treat them. 

Throughout May, Alvis is joining the rest of the country in raising awareness about the importance of mental health care. National Mental Health Awareness Month is celebrating its 70th year. It was started by the Mental Health America organization in 1949. During the month of May, this organization, along with affiliates, conducts numerous outreach activities based upon a yearly theme. This year, they are expanding on the 2018 theme of #4Mind4Body. This hashtag encourages individuals to explore topics surrounding animal companionship, spirituality, humor, work-life balance, recreation, and social connections as a way to improve mental health and overall wellness.

As the leading cause of disability worldwide, depression is one of the major contributors to the high cost of untreated mental health conditions. In more serious cases, depression is estimated to cost America over $193 billion in lost earnings every year. Depression is a detriment to the economy and it has a negative impact on those suffering because they are losing income simply because they are incapable of fully engaging at work. One in 25 American adults experiences mental illness to this extreme, and it is likely that the individuals who suffer from these chronic conditions have been affected since their teen years. 

Of the almost 50 million who experience mental illness each year, over 10 million also suffer from addiction disorders. Communities that are already affected by other hardships are also facing mental health challenges: 26% of homeless adults are living with serious mental illness; and 24% of state prisoners have a history of mental illness. Addressing mental health disorders in this population should be a top priority as positive mental health habits may create a domino 

effect that lowers levels of crime and addiction by providing mental health wellness resources in high-risk communities. 

When looking to how many of those with mental health conditions seek treatment, the numbers are definitely lower than one would hope. Nearly 60% of adults with mental illness did not receive wellness services in the past year. Just over 50% of tweens and teens didn’t receive services. Minorities have even lower service rates in comparison to their Caucasian counterparts, with African and Hispanic Americans receiving care at half the national average rate. 

At Alvis, we join other providers in working to create awareness that we hope will increase the number of people seeking treatment. We need to make positive connections and encourage those who are suffering to stop suffering alone in silence. We commend all of those who are living with and seeking care for their mental health conditions for all that they do. We hope to highlight some of the people and issues in this community throughout the month of May. 

If you want to get personally involved, begin by doing some research on what your community is doing to help those with mental health disorders. Mental Health America offers a great toolkit that can be used to spread awareness on social media, and you can see one of their banners at the start of this post! At Alvis, we incorporate mental health treatment into our human service programs. This allows our clients to make fundamental changes and truly feel our 180 Degree Impact. Stay tuned to Alvis social media and our blog throughout May for more on mental health and how Alvis is spreading awareness for this amazing cause! 

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 Social Enterprise: Nature’s Touch

Here at Alvis, we are dedicated to ensuring everyone in our programs has the opportunity to participate in activities that lay the groundwork for their success. Individuals in our reentry programs and in our programs for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities (DD) often lack any real world work experience.  Alvis’ social enterprise programs were created to offer opportunities to gain work experience, develop leadership skills, and secure their own income. Alvis has two social enterprise programs:  Transitions Enterprise provides commercial cleaning services and Nature’s Touch Landscaping & Lawn Care services provide green solutions to address household and commercial landscaping needs. For this blog, we will focus on Nature’s Touch.  

Reentry clients interested in the Nature’s Touch pathway begin by completing the Green Infrastructure Workforce Development Training Columbus State Community College.  Individuals with some previous landscaping experience can enter into this career pathway, too.  

Alvis first began working with the Green Infrastructure Workforce Development project  through grant funding that provided the means for clients to participate in training. This education gives individuals a chance to positively contribute to Central Ohio while collaborating with others toward a common goal: a greener, healthier community.  At the conclusion of the program, clients earn a Green Infrastructure Landscape Certificate and OSHA10 certification. This qualifies them for employment with the Blueprint Columbus project of the Columbus Department of Public Works as well as with positions in Nature’s Touch.  

Today, the Nature’s Touch customer list has expanded from five to 30 properties.  This growth allows Nature’s Touch to employ more clients. By attaining new skills and work experience, clients who begin working in Nature’s Touch are able to move on to sustainable positions in the industry; and some have even created their own landscaping and lawn care business.  

Alvis clients are grateful for the second chance they now have for sustainable, living wage employment.  They are also able to tell new clients how it is possible to regain personal confidence and stature even in the face of stigmas surrounding justice involvement. It shows those in our programs that endless options are available to all clients, if they just make the choice to seek them out and work diligently toward their own success.  

We commend those who have participated in these programs for their dedication to creating a more positive lifestyle for themselves and their families! To hear how some of these clients feel about being a part of the program, check out this testimonial video 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

Volunteers Spotlight: Hewitt (Tuey) and Elizabeth Harris

Reentry Matters

As we continue celebrating National Volunteer Month, we did a Q&A with the Restored Couple. Read and watch what they said.

Why Alvis?

The fact it is a LIFE CHANGING program is important to us! These individuals are seeking just that! Just like we were 15 plus years ago. We are very proud to support an organization that helps with the transition of exoffenders reentering society. 

What is the impact you can make as a volunteer?

The impact we pray our story provides to these individuals, is that they TRULY CAN have second chances and new beginnings! And we encourage hope! 

What is your favorite thing about volunteering with Alvis?

I love when we get to talk ‘one to one” these individuals. They share their own personal story with us. And they get personal and intimate. This is a moment we value and take seriously! They chose US to share their pain, concerns, and triumphs!!!

Any favorite quote you would like to share?

Quote I heard from someone years ago that resonated with me…

“Life will only change when you become more committed to your DREAMS….than you are to your comfort zone.”

Anything else you would like to add?

Message to Corporate America, housing units, the “everyday” person that haven’t been in our situation.

We are employable! We are rentable! We are walk among you as changed individuals! We are more than our institution numbers! We are warriors!!! And we will succeed!!

Volunteering Matters

You can see and learn more about The Restored Couple on social media. Stay tuned!

Facebook: Hewitt & Elizabeth Harris

Instagram: @the.restored.couple

Twitter: @restoredcouple

http://www.therestoredcouple.com

Alvis Volunteer Spotlight: Rosemarie Geahart

As we continue celebrating National Volunteer Month, we did a series of Q&A sessions with Alvis volunteers. Read on..

Why Alvis? 

My introduction to Alvis was through a sewing group I belonged to about 18 years ago.  One of the women in the sewing group was familiar with Alvis and through her we learned that the ladies of Alvis could use hats and scarves so we made 35-40 sets of hats and scarves for several Christmases. Once our group disbanded, I continued to support Alvis via monetary contributions through work.

I retired in January 2016 and once I had settled in to retirement, I began looking for a way to give time as well as money. I was present at the Martha meeting in 2018 when Alvis gave their presentation. I had previously had contact with Paige so I reintroduced myself to her and asked about volunteer opportunities. I filled out the application, was background checked and here I am.

What is the impact you can make? 

Sewing has been a hobby of mine since I was very young and over the years it has given me a sense of accomplishment as I completed projects. I have learned many skills over the years, not only actual sewing techniques but also intangible skills like problem solving, patience, seeing a project through to the end and the self-confidence to succeed at something. My hope is that through the crafting classes, the ladies can develop a sense of accomplishment in the completion of a project that they can then take and apply to bigger projects or other areas of their lives.

Importance of volunteer work for the community? 

We are all in this world together. Sometimes someone needs a helping hand to give him/her the opportunity to succeed.

Any memorable moment you experienced while working as a volunteer at Alvis that you could share?

My favorite part of the crafting class is seeing how creative the ladies are. Basically, I just provide the raw materials and some basic instructions. They have created some of the most beautiful necklaces, pins, jewelry bags and hats/scarves. The joy I see in their faces when they have created something beautiful for themselves or a loved one just reinforces that I am in the right place.

Any message you want to send to donors? clients? staff? community?

Working with the ladies of Alvis has been a very rewarding and wonderful learning experience for me. I would recommend volunteering to those who might be interested in sharing their expertise or gifts in helping support someone on their path forward.

Thank you Rosemarie! We appreciate all you do for Alvis and the community as a whole!

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.

Human Trafficking Awareness: Things to Know

Dana Jackson, CHAT Clinical Program Manager

In a time where enslaving another person for one’s benefit or profit seems like an outdated practice, it is important for us to be aware that this convention is still alive and prevalent in today’s society. Human trafficking is very much a thing of the present as billions of dollars are being made from the trapping of millions of innocent people around the globe. These traffickers use a variety of fear inducing tactics in order to force those in their possession to provide services against their will; these services can include anything from sex acts to involuntary servitude. The International Labor Organization estimates that there are over 40 million victims of human trafficking worldwide, 75% of which are women and girls. Of this 40 million, 81% of them are trapped in forced labor, with 25% of them being children. In a 2017 analysis, it was found that around 1 out of 7 of runaways who were reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were likely victims of human trafficking.

Human trafficking isn’t something that takes place oversees or in big cities like New York or Las Vegas. Here in Ohio, we are ranked fourth in the nation for human trafficking cases. This startling statistic means that human trafficking in Ohio is more prevalent than in some of our biggest population centers. Ohio is home to some of the most visible and dramatic human trafficking cases in this century, such as the three women who were held captive for more than a decade in Cleveland. It is estimated that 1078 children are trafficked in Ohio every year.  The most common age of children who are reported as victims of trafficking is just 13.  Children who were sexually or mentally abused in their homes are at a higher risk of becoming trapped in the nightmare of human trafficking, and 91% of female victims experience this type of abuse prior to their abductions. Though we may be familiar with cases like those which occurred in Cleveland or Ashland County over the past decade, for the most part, human trafficking is a hidden crime. Fortunately, in both Ohio and around the globe, there are some amazing resources to help victims of human trafficking reclaim their lives. .

The National Human Trafficking Hotline is a great way for victims and survivors to receive around the clock support, and acts as a resource for advocates to continue doing work in the anti-trafficking community. Their website offers a variety of services, and even allows victims or those aware of any type of abuse to report crimes online or by phone. Their website has multiple support options for those all over the United States, and provides specific information on what services are available right here in Ohio.

Here at Alvis, we are so thankful for the opportunity to be able to help some of these victims through our CHAT (Changing Habits, Attitudes and Thoughts) program. CHAT has been giving women the chance to recover with ample support since 2013.  The program combines safe and secure housing with comprehensive treatment for trauma and individual and group counseling.  Program participants can also take part in job skills and certification training programs that build skills, independence and confidence. Dana Jackson, CHAT Clinical Program Manager, told us of many great therapeutic activities that contribute to the positive growth of these women.  They include classes such as jiu-jitsu provided by the Relson Gracie Academy and equine therapy through Reins of Freedom. CHAT also has a variety of partners like Ohio Guidestone, Freedom A La Cart, Mount Carmel CTAP, and Camp Mary Orton that provide other trauma services and professional mentorship opportunities.

The CHAT program is funded by the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health (ADAMH) Board of Franklin County.  Some of the individuals in the CHAT program are referred by Franklin County Municipal Judge Paul M. Herbert, who holds almost legendary status among individuals and organizations who are working to extinguish human trafficking. Judge Herbert has worked tirelessly to change the stigma surrounding human trafficking in Ohio. He created the state’s only specialty court designed to address the needs of human trafficking victims and help them to begin new, transformed lives. His CATCH Court, formally known as the Changing Actions to Change Habits Court, aims to shift the paradigm between human trafficking and prostitution. This means that rather than seeing women who were convicted of solicitation as a result of sex trafficking as criminals, they should be seen as victims who need the proper support to successfully transition to a life free of substance abuse, mental and physical abuse, and crime.

CATCH Court takes place every Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. During that time, women are in a safe space and can celebrate their wins and work within a supportive community that is dedicated to their success and prosperity. Alvis celebrates this advocacy so close to our home base and we know that with the effort these women put in comes great rewards and success.

Judge Paul M. Herbert and a client celebrating her 1 year of sobriety at CATCH Court

Want to check how much do you know about the CHAT Program? Click it here: https://www.tryinteract.com/share/quiz/5c4934e7909b82001409e9ff

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 51 years of experience providing highly effective treatment programs in Ohio. For more information on how Alvis can help you or to learn more about how you can get involved, contact us here.