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.

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.

Alvis Spotlight: Chris Mullen

Alvis employee spotlight on Chris Mullen Alvis blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.