National School Success Month

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Opioid Misuse Prevention Day

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

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

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

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

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

Women’s Equality Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Portraits of Recovery—The Fast Facts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Senior Citizen’s Day

National Senior Citizen's Day Alvis Blog social media

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

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

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

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

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

National Nonprofit Day

National NonProfit Day Alvis Blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Day in the Life of an Alvis Intern

A Day in the Life of an Alvis Intern

Who We Are

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

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

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

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

A Typical Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A day in the life of an Alvis Intern

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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