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 Give Something Away Day

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

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

Goodwill

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

Habitat for Humanity

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

The Salvation Army

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

The American Red Cross

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

Consider Donating to Alvis!

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

Volunteer

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

Donate

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

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

Happy Giving!

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

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

Internship Awareness Month

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

Meet Carolaan!

What is the importance of an internship?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meet volunteer Jill!

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

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

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

We are In This Together

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

Alcohol Drug Facts

What is alcohol use disorder?

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

How does alcohol affects a person’s body?

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

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

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

What are the negative consequences of underage drinking?

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

Causes many deaths

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

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

Causes many injuries

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

Impairs judgment

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

Increases the risk of physical and sexual assault

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

Can lead to other problems

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

Increases the risk of alcohol problems later in life

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

Interferes with brain development

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

Is underage drinking a serious health problem?

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

Why do teens drink alcohol?

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

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

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

Reconciliation Day 4.2.2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alcohol Awareness Month

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be an Inspiration

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

Why are we sharing these facts?

Let me tell you a story.

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

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

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

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

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

The Social Work Summary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mental Health Issues in the Criminal Justice System

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

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

Woman hugging her knees in prison cell

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Drugs and Alcohol Facts Week

National Drugs and Alcohol Facts Week Alvis Blog

This week is National Drugs and Alcohol Facts Week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

International Human Rights Day

International Human Rights Day Alvis blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

International 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.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Universal Children’s Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Parental Involvement Day

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

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

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


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

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

National Philanthropy Day

Philanthropy means the love of humanity.

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

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

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

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

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

Family and Children’s Program

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

HYPE (Helping Young People Excel) Program

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

Facility Beautification—Inside and Outside

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

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

Special Events

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

Mentoring for Women

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

Unique Talents

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

In-Kind Donations

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

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

World Kindness Day and Random Acts of Kindness Friday!

world kindness day and random acts of kindness friday alvis blog

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

National Diabetes Month

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Caregivers Month

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

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

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

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

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

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

World Mental Health Day

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Child’s Health Day

Child's Health Day Alvis Blog

Child’s Health Day 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Bullying Prevention Month

National Bullying Prevention Month Alvis Blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Substance Abuse Prevention Month

National Substance Abuse Prevention Month Alvis Blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Healthy Aging Month

Healthy Aging Month Alvis Blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2019 ASPIRE Award

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Working Parent’s Day

National Working Parents Day Alvis Blog

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

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

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

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

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

No matter what your struggle is as a working parent, know that there are others out there who understand.  Whether it be taking a step back and analyzing your game plan as Dowling suggests, or reprioritizing your responsibilities as Tracy did, there are solutions out there to dealing with the stress of working families. And you are doing great. Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience providing highly effective treatment programs in Ohio. Our vision is that communities value a person’s potential more than their past. For more information on how Alvis can help you or to learn more about how you can get involved, contact us here

National Sober Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Grandparents Day

National Grandparents Day Alvis Blog

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

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

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

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

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

International Day of Charity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

Hire a Veteran Day

Hire a Veteran Day

July 25th is Hire a Veteran Day, serving as a reminder that many men and women who have served in the armed forces are highly trained and qualified for civilian employment. A number of veterans are actively seeking jobs in the United States. Likewise, there are a broad range of civilian employment sectors that are also involved in the armed services, such as information technologies, marketing, and finance. The skills that veterans gain from the armed services can be very useful in civilian jobs.

Alvis currently has job openings, and we are actively seeking passionate, dedicated staff to join our team—including veterans! Our openings include the departments of administration, behavioral health, corrections, developmental disabilities services, and facilities. If interested, we encourage you to apply!

National Hire a Veteran Day was founded by Dan Caporale, Marine Corps veteran and founder of Hire Our Heroes (www.hireourheroes.com), a website that prioritizes veterans seeking employment. Beginning this month and continuing through November until Veterans’ Day, unlimited job openings can be posted to this website at a 50% discount when entering the code, “Hire a Vet”. 

A staggering nationwide trend, according to seniorliving.org, is that 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. Not only do we hire veterans (a percentage of whom belong to this age group)—we are also interested in seniors, and actively look for employees with experiences that have allowed them to be dedicated, qualified members of our team at Alvis. 

We stand with veterans on this day, and honor the service that they have shown toward this country, while also valuing them as employees and fellow citizens.

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.

Independence Day

Independence Day Alvis Blog

Happy Independence Day! Alvis proudly joins Americans in celebrating this holiday.

Alvis’ programs are funded by generous donations from individuals and organizations, but programs also receive government funding from the local, state and federal government. We are grateful for this support, that allows Alvis to facilitate our #180DegreeImpact. As many of our clients are involved with the justice system, these programs also follow government requirements and protocol that allows for a plethora of onsite and outpatient treatment options for clients while still adhering to justice system rules.

The United States still has lots of ground to make up when it comes to prison reform. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website, the U.S. prison population has increased 500% over the past 40 years without any corresponding increase in crime, and nearly 2/3 of America’s inmates are awaiting trial. Perhaps a more staggering statistic: the United States has the highest prison population rate in the world.

Many individuals become involved with the justice system through misdemeanor charges, and while these charges are supposed to be minor in comparison to felonies, their record still clings to individuals, often for the rest of their lives and can hinder potential employment prospects. One move that Congress has made to combat this is the First Step Act, which was passed in 2018.

Under the First Step Act, which is one of the most significant pieces of criminal justice reform in years, mandatory minimum sentences under federal law have been eased, and qualified people, many of whom carry low-level drug offenses, are able to earn “good time credits” in federal prisons. Resulting from this are potentially-reduced prison sentences and opportunities for probation that were not there before. It is also important to note that this act is only applies to the federal system, which is responsible for about 13% of all incarcerated Americans.

The First Step Act is considered a “first step” because there are still many reforms that could be made to reduce recidivism and promote education and employability, but it is a step in the right direction.

Statewide efforts have also been made to reduce the incarceration rate in America, especially in regards to drugs. State rates of incarceration have gone down recently, and some states have reclassified drug possession from felonies to misdemeanors, while other states, including Ohio, have enacted some decriminalization laws regarding drugs, like marijuana. Ohio has a low recidivism rate in comparison to other states. Alvis, which is very advanced in what it provides clients in comparison to some other reentry programs, is one of many programs that receives state funding in the U.S. to provide education and workforce development training.

According to the National Institute of Justice, “More severe punishments do not ‘chasten’ individuals convicted of crimes, and prisons may exacerbate recidivism.” Alvis programs are more effective and less expensive than prison, and in comparison to the national average, Alvis clients are twice as likely to be successful upon returning to the community. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has found that 79% of clients who complete an Alvis residential reentry program do not return to prison!

As we celebrate our country on this July 4th, we also applaud the ways in which reentry programs like Alvis are becoming increasingly recognized as important and vital to 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.

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.

National PTSD Awareness Day

National PTSD Awareness Day: Facing Facts with Dr. Shively

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects 7-8% of the nation’s population, and June 27th draws attention and provides opportunities to educate people about this very prevalent mental illness that can happen to anyone.

Randy Shively, Ph.D., is a psychologist in the state of Ohio and Director of Research and Clinical Development at Alvis. He works directly with Alvis clients who battle PTSD and have criminogenic treatment needs.  At Alvis, he provides treatment to clients, training to staff, and he conducts applied research.

In practice, Shively has found that PTSD is frequently related to individual, case-by-case mental health situations. “Those who have post-traumatic issues also have other mental health disorders that are often co-occurring,” explains Shively.  The other disorders include depression, phobias, and panic attacks. Clients dealing with PTSD are sometimes referred to an outside treatment resource because many are at Alvis for 4-6 months and they need to be connected to resources and treatment that will continue after the client has moved on from Alvis.

Anything that interferes with one’s feeling of safety can lead to trauma, such as physical or sexual abuse, or natural disasters. Shively finds that in Alvis’ specific population of clients, physical abuse, severe neglect, and fear of abandonment are prevalent—many clients with justice involvement have undergone relational trauma with members of their families.

 An ACE Study (Adverse Childhood Experiences, Kaiser Permanente and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has found that the more traumatic events a person has been exposed to, the higher the likelihood of a person experiencing mental health illnesses and physical problems throughout their lifespan. “Trauma-informed care has actually become a best practice…we’ve started developing trainings at Alvis to actually give all our staff help in how to respond to clients, universally, that could have trauma history, and we know that a significant percentage of our population who have been incarcerated have experienced multiple traumas within their lives – some within the corrections system.”

Those with PTSD symptoms exhibit discomfort toward a variety of things that lessen their quality of life, and, as described by Dr. Shively, they “often have trouble in relationships because people, places and things can trigger deep feelings of insecurity, so fears often keep them from people who care about them and for them. With this diagnosis, there’s often a lot of avoidance.” This avoidance includes any potential triggers that may conjure up feelings of past traumas. Additionally, sleep problems, startle behaviors, eating problems connected with depression, and nighttime fears may occur.

Above all else, Dr. Shively finds that it is paramount to recovery that staff calmly respond to these exhibited behaviors.  “It’s important to realize and be careful of how we respond to folks when we see abrupt negative behaviors, because often they can be resolved with trauma informed care and their fear, insecurity, and stress is getting played out in the moment.”

There are a variety of misconceptions about PTSD. As previously mentioned, many people with PTSD have anxieties and triggers regarding relationships, which can lead some to incorrectly perceive them as oppositional or difficult. Another common misconception is that PTSD can be entirely cured, or eliminated. Typically, it can be managed, similar to an addiction, but it can also get triggered years later. Immediate results from treatment are not always possible—working through a traumatic experience can take months, or even years.  Some people may be surprised to learn that staff who work with clients in recovery for traumatic experiences can develop trauma themselves from exposure through supporting that client. According to Dr. Shively, Alvis provides mental health supports and community referrals to address the needs of staff.

Over time, Alvis has developed an integrated behavioral healthcare model.  “In the past, we sent clients to another provider, outside of Alvis, and that interfered with the continuity of care,” Shively says. Alvis professional staff, who know the clients well, provide in-house services, allowing better communication and higher quality services.

Being informed about PTSD and its impact on everyday people can be crucial to a person’s recovery. “We could push them over the edge if we’re not being empathetic in how we respond,” Shively warns. He also highlights that education is critical for staff to understand PTSD clients, and for clients to understand their own mental health processes. “When we understand our own underlying problems, it helps us cope in better ways,” says Shively. Connecting clients to outside resources and drawing attention to the reality that other people out there in the world have experienced similar symptoms and diagnoses can help them feel less alone and more empowered to manage their symptoms of trauma.

A key source of motivation for Dr. Shively comes from clients. In a role that he has tailored over the past 28 years, he expresses that 4-5 former Alvis clients from years ago still call him once or twice a month just to check in. “It does matter that you’re present.” The current behavioral healthcare services at Alvis allow clients to receive optimal treatment in an empathetic, understanding environment. “Sometimes staff may not see how important they are in the overall scope of things, but we’re doing things here that other states aren’t even trying.”

People who deal with PTSD face stigmas and societal challenges that can hinder their ability to manage their illness and recovery. Alvis combats these stigmas and encourages everyone to support survivors of traumatic experiences.

Our population [the individuals served by Alvis] are very misunderstood in the community,” Shively emphasizes. “We really do need community support. For some clients dealing with their mental health symptoms is a long-term, lifelong problem.”

The more support that someone has, the more successful they are likely to be in the 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.

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 Call Your Doctor Day

The second Tuesday of each June serves less as a celebratory national day than as a reminder to women all across the country to do one simple task—call their doctor—so they can schedule their well-woman exam. Women are encouraged to schedule a well-woman exam once a year, so their physicians can be on the lookout for any preventative illnesses.

While some may deem it unnecessary to have “National Call Your Doctor Day” for what seems to be a simple task, Bright Pink, a women’s health non-profit, founded this day in 2016 because, statistically-speaking, this reminder is entirely necessary. According to a study published by Health Affairs, in 2016,only 8% of U.S. adults aged 35 and older received all of the high-priority preventative services recommended to them. A ZocDoc survey found that this number is even higher in millennials. Beginning at age 21 and onwards, for women in particular, Planned Parenthood recommends regular pelvic exams, Pap tests, and breast examinations—all of which are included in a well-woman exam.

In our fast-paced, busy lives, work, family, social outings, and most other things take precedence over doctor visits unless we are actually feeling physically ill. It can be easy for routine check-ups to fall to the wayside and become shoved to the back of our minds and the bottom of our to-do lists.

While most of us don’t like being forcedto do anything, National Call Your Doctor Day is designed to help women to put their health first and prioritize future wellness—literally, by creating a scheduled time on the calendar. Women should treat this call like an appointment with a valuable customer. “Observing” this day simply requires setting aside a few minutes to call the doctor, or, alternately, to schedule a visit online.

Alvis values all of the women who are participating in our programs and prioritizes their physical and mental health on a daily basis. Our highly-skilled and caring physicians and counselors are trained to respond to each woman’s needs, so that they, too, may not only combat existing conditions, but prevent the emergence of future conditions. We join women across the world in this call to action to combat the preventative ailments that women face.

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.

Men’s Health Month

Apart from being known for iced tea, longer days, and fun in the sun, June is also Men’s Health Month! Alvis celebrates its male clients and the work they are doing on their journeys through treatment, recovery, and empowerment.

Men’s Health Month seeks to raise awareness of the preventable health concerns and diseases that men face, while simultaneously encouraging early detection and treatment of these diseases. June 11th-17th, leading up to and including Father’s Day, has also been designated as Men’s Health Week internationally.

Dubbed a “silent health crisis,” men tend to “live sicker” and “die younger” than women, according to Dr. David Gremillion, of Men’s Health Network. This is influenced by both physical and mental health issues that men, in particular, face. Men have a higher rate of suicide than women, account for 92% of workplace-related injuries, and are more likely to be uninsured. Across all ages and ethnicities, they are more likely to avoid seeking out help from licensed health professionals when they do have physical or mental illnesses. According to an article by Lea Winerman with the American Psychological Association (APA), this is largely due to the way that our society socializes men. The traditional masculine gender role encourages them to hide emotion, lack vulnerability, and “tough it out.” Winerman quotes Jill Berger, PhD, who finds that this masculine role is akin to the “Marlboro man—tough, ideal, and unemotional—that just isn’t compatible with therapy.”

In Ohio, men lead in death rates from cardiovascular disease, cancer, CLRD, injuries, diabetes, flu/pneumonia, suicide, and kidney disease. While not all of these are preventable, regular check-ups can allow for early detection, which can be life-saving. The more that we raise men’s awareness of the importance of seeking out help, expressing vulnerabilities, and practicing a healthy way of life, the more we will empower men to build successful and productive lives.

The positive message of Men’s Health Month is translated through the actions of the many Alvis clients in programs addressing their justice involvement, behavioral healthcare needs (including addiction), and intellectual/developmental disabilities. It can be especially challenging for anyone to seek help and realize the strength within themselves to embrace a #180DegreeImpact in order to turn their lives around. We applaud our male clients who have transformed their lives and who are reentering our community and living healthy, productive lives, while also empathizing and encouraging those who are on the journey alongside them.

We also thank our staff, physicians, clinicians, and therapists for the work that they do to address and combat the various health concerns and to overcome the stigmas that are common detriments to men’s health and wellbeing.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Alvis’ Volunteer Spotlight: Nancy Colvin

Q&A sessions celebrating National Volunteer Week #NVW

Why Alvis? 

I connected with Alvis through Amethyst. Their work with women who are living with addiction saves lives and heals families. I first became aware of Amethyst through Ginny O’Keefe. Her fearless drive and boundless compassion are humbling to witness and impossible to resist. 

What is the impact you can make? 

I work full time and have two children. My time isn’t always my own, but I spend an hour a week providing tutoring support for a woman working toward her GED. It is one of the most impactful things I do and it takes an hour of my time. I walk away feeling as though the world is a little better place than I thought it was. 

Importance of volunteer work for the community? 

Every day we have a chance to leave the world just a bit better, to be kind, to support another person. I want that to be the example my children see. I want them to know in their hearts we all have a responsibility to one another and that they absolutely have the ability to change the world – one action at a time. 

Thank you Nancy!! We appreciate all you do!

Social Work Spotlight: Dean Gregoire


Introduction

To finish up with our social work celebration, we traveled to The Ohio State Universitythis week and got the chance to sit down with the Dean of the College of Social Work, Dr. Tom Gregoire. Dean Gregoire PhD. has been a member of The Ohio State University’s faculty for 22 years, spending the past ten of those in the Dean position. Prior to this, though, he was an academic; after receiving his bachelors at the Marymount College of Kansas, he went on to receive his masters and studied substance abuse treatment. He took a look at how practices were changing and thought we needed more research on the matter, taking it upon himself to earn his Ph.D. so he could complete these examinations himself. He has taken his affinity for research with him throughout his professional career, as we cannot work in the absence of evidence. There are over 30 faculty members at Ohio State dedicating their entire careers to finding the best ways to treat clients as they don’t want people to fund them if they have no evidence to support their claims. Despite this, he feels like there will never be a time to stop studying as nothing is ever going to work perfectly; he is proud of all of the innovative research being done as it is community-based and he encourages all agencies to be more focused on this type of evidence. Above all, we are willing to experiment and advance the science.

Looking to those in the social work profession, Gregoire feels that to be successful, social workers need to be able to network. Having the ability to collaborate, create teams, and think about circumstances differently than others goes a long way when paired with the knowledge of evidence and successful interventions. With limited resources, you have to do things that work. This can require some courage since they commonly work in the cracks that vulnerable people are entrenched in. These social workers can help make a difference in creating one community by knowing that it simply isn’t enough to solve people’s problems. Sometimes, they need to think about one’s personal experiences and take on the roles and biases that create these problems in the first place. Dean said that we live in a world where two people could have all of the same characteristics and live in different communities, causing both people to ultimately have totally different experiences.

When evaluating the profession as a whole, Gregoire feels that the biggest challenge surrounds lack of resources; there is not enough money being invested in vulnerable people, and this causes social workers to wonder how they can become more creative. They have to come up with innovative ways to solve problems and then implement them in interdisciplinary ways. In the next five years, he sees this lack of resources shift. Now more than ever he is seeing a lot of private donations supporting smaller agencies, and this may push resources closer to the client. Very few people can have all of their care needs met in one building, so making resources more readily available to those in need, where they actually need them, is key. From creating internships and jobs in community locations like public libraries in homeless camps to accompanying the people on visits to ensure the well-being of those in the home, he says that we need to begin meeting people where they are. 


Top 3 Skills

Looking to the opioid crises we are immersed in, Gregoire says that they are at ground zero with the substance abuse crisis. Many rural communities are now plagued by addiction, with over 100,000 grandparents raising their grandchildren on account of parent drug abuse. 20% of these caregivers are under the poverty line, and this creates a generational problem as the trajectory usually sees the children of those struggling with untreated addictions simply following in their caregiver’s footsteps. At Ohio State, there is a substance misuse minor for social work students, allowing them to specialize in how to treat those with addiction as a whole, rather than the problem alone. When he looks at how his college is operating, his vision surrounds maintaining community involvement. When the curriculum was redesigned 10 years ago, 300 people from the practice community combined their knowledge to create a continued community partnership and ignite creative problem solving. He wants to ensure that they are educating the student as a whole, enabling them with the survival skills and protections given to fireman and policeman. He also teaches financial wellness to his students as he realizes that higher education does not come cheap. He does a lot of scholarship fundraising to ensure that students who want to commit to helping others do not take a vow of poverty. States across the country are now spending less than ever before on education, and this can cause many students to make huge sacrifices. The school has 32% of first generation undergrads and he celebrates them for taking a chance on themselves, changing their family for generations. He hopes to raise money for all of his students that can follow them into the community, aiding those committed to working in low income areas.

Connecting to Alvis, Gregoire has been involved with our nonprofit for over 12 years. He first visited our facilities for a research project. He says that Alvis’ services are phenomenal as we work with challenging situations. He admires our dedication to those discarded in the community and our commitment to shifting thought processes in order to improve quality of life. He knows that the College of Social Work and Alvis share an understanding of what it means to be helpful to others, holding the same values surrounding dignity, justice, and fair opportunity. Internships are integral to social work student’s training, and they offer great opportunity to grow, develop core values, and prepare to work for vulnerable populations. Through Alvis, interns gain this invaluable experience. He left us with a great quote he feels is applicable in today’s political climate; he says that it’s easy to look at the news and feel depressed or that we are heading in the wrong direction. He quoted Martin Luther King Jr. to say that, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bent towards good.” We thank him for taking the time to sit down with us and shed light on this amazing profession.


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.