July 30: World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

Modern Slavery

Slavery dates back hundreds of years and has existed in different countries and different circumstances around the world since the first civilizations. When we think of slavery today, we tend to remember and study the past, but, although it may seem surprising, slavery is still very much alive today, and in plain sight. In fact, it is currently a 150-billion-dollar industry with roughly 46 million people worldwide being trafficked to date (2019), (Freedom K9 Project). In 2018 in the US alone, the National Human Trafficking Hotline reported having 10,949 cases of human trafficking that involved 23,078 individual survivors, 5,859 potential traffickers, and 1,905 trafficking businesses. Even more, they reported that 898 victims and 443 cases were in the state of Ohio, a substantial amount from around the Columbus area. Ohio as a whole is one of the states with the most cases. And because human trafficking is notoriously underreported, these numbers are likely only the tip of the iceberg, (polarisproject.org).

What is trafficking in persons?

Trafficking in persons is the illegal and dehumanizing act of recruiting, selling, trading, transporting, and harboring people by means of force, threat, coercion, abduction, deception, abuse of power, fraud, etc. for the purpose of exploitation. This includes, but is not limited to, the prostitution of others and other forced commercial sex acts, forced labor, slavery, servitude, forced begging, forced marriage, trafficking individuals as soldiers, for the removal of organs, and includes men, women and even children (un.org).

Anyone can become a victim, but it is important to note that some people are more at risk than others. United Nations sites that women make up 49% and girls 23% of all trafficked victims. Polaris Project lists factors such as migration, substance abuse, mental health disorders, involvement with the child welfare system, and being a runaway or homeless youth among high risk factors. As for who is trafficking and how, traffickers can typically be people of power and privilege such as company owners, powerful corporate executives, celebrities, or government representatives. However, it is also very common for a victim to be trafficked by someone they know and are close to like parents or other family members, friends, and intimate partners. These people are manipulative and deceiving. They’ll say what they think a victim wants to hear or play on their weaknesses, such as isolation from friends and family, often employing tactics such as physical abuse, mental abuse, and economic abuse to get what they want.

2020 Mission

This year the theme for World Day Against Trafficking in Persons is first responders. These are the people working firsthand to support, protect, and seek justice for victims of trafficking such as law enforcement officers, social workers, counselors, and healthcare professionals. Because of COVID-19, the role of first responders has become even more important and even dangerous. It’s time we recognize these heroes!

Thank you, Alvis first responders, for all that you do for victims of trafficking!!

Learn What Alvis Has to Offer

CHAT

Alvis is very thankful to be able to offer a women’s program just for human trafficking survivors called CHAT. This is a unique residential reentry program that aims to provide adequate resources to human trafficking survivors so that they may overcome their traumatic experiences and re-enter into society.

Part of what CHAT provides includes: safe and sober housing, holistic treatment services including clinical treatment for substance abuse and/or mental health issues and trauma, comprehensive support services including case management, life skills instruction and vocational services, and the tools to help clients build relationships with family, partners, and children. At the CHAT House, communication is key. Staff are sure to remain transparent and on-call for clients in need and emergency situations are tackled as a team.

Additionally, it is required that these women are graduates or participants of the CATCH Court, which was established by Judge Paul Herbert. Read more about CATCH Court here. Participants in the CHAT program must also have no recent violence within the past 12 months and a willingness to participate in the 18-month program.

Amethyst + Recovery Choices

Like previously mentioned, two high risk factors for individuals vulnerable of being trafficked are unstable mental health and substance abuse disorder. To combat these, Alvis also offers two behavioral health programs called Amethyst and Recovery Choices. In the Amethyst program, women with and without children can receive treatment for addiction, mental health, and trauma while also receiving supportive housing, job readiness training and placement. What makes the Amethyst program special in particular is that it allows women to live with their children and works to reunite and strengthen families. Amethyst takes walk-ins and women seeking help can go directly to the main treatment facility located at 455 E. Mound Street. Similarly, in the Recovery Choices program, individuals with justice involvement can receive behavioral healthcare and addiction services. Clients can also receive transportation from halfway houses to Alvis reentry centers, where they can take job training courses, receive counseling and individualized treatment plans, and have the opportunity to attain their GED, take university classes, and participate in activities with their family.

Additional Reading and Resources:

6 Things to Do When Someone You Know is Trafficked

U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline and 2018 Statistics

The Blue Heart Campaign

Background on World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

What Does Human Trafficking Look Like?

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

National Intern Day

National Intern Day is celebrated on the last Thursday of July. The holiday was created in 2017 by WayUp, a site that helps college students and recent graduates find internships and land jobs. In their own words, today is a day, “dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the future leaders of the world: interns.” That is why today we would like to take some time to focus on our own interns.

Why are interns and internships so important?

Internships are useful for a number of reasons. As an intern, they can help you learn more about yourself and your interests, help you develop soft skills like being on time for a job, how to think creatively, or working with a team, help you develop some technical skills specific to the job and type of work, build your resume, help you network, possibly earn college credit, and most importantly, they can help you land a job! Whether it is at the same company your interning for or another company, internships give you the experience and skills you need to be a full-time employee. In fact, according to a 2017 survey, 67% of college students who completed an internship received a job offer for a full-time position upon graduating, (careervision.org). Take it from new hire James Hagerman. James, a previous intern who was a part of the creative and marketing team, is now our Community Relations Specialist, overseeing all intern and volunteer programs.

Q & A with James

Q: Where did you graduate from college or where are you attending if you are still?

A: Wittenberg University

Q: What are/were your major(s)/minor(s)?

A: English and communications with a minor in creative writing.

Q: What did you do as an intern at Alvis?

A: I was a blog writer for the marketing team. I also collaborated with the other roles on bigger projects like branding videos and certain media posts.

Q: Why Alvis? Why did you want to come back as a full-time employee?

A: I love the people here (they’re like a family) and I also enjoyed the size of Alvis. It’s small enough to feel like a community and see the impact you’re making, but large enough to really make a huge difference with your role. I also really enjoyed all of my previous interactions with people here and admire Alvis’ mission.

Q: What role do internships play/ why are they important?

A: They can give you hands-on experience so you can determine if a career path is right for you. Also, the skills you learn are so transferable and applicable to later job interviews and career opportunities down the line.

Q: Why are interns valuable?

A: An internship is a give-and-take relationship between an organization and the intern. Interns learn so many new things that they simply can’t learn in the classroom, and organizations are able to learn from the intern in the forms of new ideas and fresh ways of thinking. Interns are usually super capable and will contribute their talents to an organization if they are placed in the right position—the “right position” being where they can grow and cultivate their own passions.

Q: Is there any advice you might give to students debating on taking on an internship?

A: Take it for sure—it’s a valuable experience, regardless of whether or not you end up in that specific career field. Internships allow you to get a holistic education that applies things you’ve previously learned or desired to learn about to a real-world, professional setting.

Thank you, James, and congratulations on your new position!

What some of our interns had to say on the importance of internships:

“Internships are important because they provide real-life experience that is essential to learn and grow as a young professional and to help us better gauge the career path that we wish to pursue.” —Adam Haag, Ohio State University, majoring in psychology and minoring in neuroscience and legal foundations of society

“Internships are ways for students to get hands-on experience in their major that the classroom can’t fully provide. Internships are important because they provide real-life experience that can help you further your knowledge/experience and help you better understand if that major is for you.” —Kathryn Brown, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, majoring in marketing with a collateral in resource management.

“Internships play a role in helping people and giving experience for a position in the work field. They are important because they give students an opportunity to gain exposure and a possible foot in the door when it comes time to apply for that job or any job in that field.” —Kiara Johnson, Wright State University, majoring in mass communications/mass media

“I think the role that internships play is providing that experience of working in a potential workplace after college and what that entails. The chance of having an internship in the field that you are studying is valuable to gather notes if you want to work in the field, network with other people, and get your skill levels up.” —Joan Merise, Ohio State University, majoring in film studies and minoring in musical theatre

But internships are also beneficial to employers. Having interns around increases productivity, allows for new ideas and different perspectives that otherwise might not be realized, provides insight into new strategies, techniques, trends, and technology that could be relevant to the field, gives back to the community by enhancing the local workforce as a whole, and the big one, helps find and test future employees, (Chegg). Once you see what it’s like to work with an individual and the potential they possess, it is easy to know if you want to keep them around. It’s a win-win!

What Alvis employees think of the importance of internships and having interns:

“I have always loved working with interns. They bring so much to the table! They provide different perspectives, up-to-the-minute information on trends, extra sets of eyes, extra hearts, and different, unique talents. Additionally, I believe it is our responsibility as professionals to provide students with opportunities to get valuable experience in the “real world” so they are better equipped to build successful careers paths for themselves.” —Priscila Teixeira, Marketing and Creative Director

Now let’s shine the spotlight on what some of our interns are doing at Alvis and skills they feel they have gained so far:

“I ran the Big Give Campaign on social media (in June), create other posts on social media, am helping to create/design the new Alvis website, and look over how everything is done. (Skills learned so far:) how to use Canva, Buffer, work with a team, and being able to create a plan for social media.” —Rachael Broyles, Wittenberg University, majoring in management and minoring in marketing

“I have been owning most of the graphic design projects for the (new) website. Whether it’s been designing a logo or a graphic for a webpage, I have been creating and designing content. My creativity has grown as an Alvis intern. I have been able to work with the Alvis brand colors to make logos and icons and learn how to incorporate them into the website in a cohesive way.” —Anna Munsell, Columbus State Community College, majoring in interactive media.

“So far as an Alvis intern, I have mostly edited various videos, podcasts, and done a little bit of graphic design for invitations and logos. As an intern, I have gained more editing skills in trying to elevate the film aspect of the editing process. I have also learned a little bit of administration in the sense of organization with projects and have learned interviewing skills which I will be applying to my own projects.” —Joan Merise

“I am working in Alvis’s Developmental Disabilities branch. My daily routine consists of meetings with clients and their behavioral support teams and interacting in-person with the clients as much as possible. When I am not in a meeting or visiting one of Alvis’s houses, my time and efforts are focused on reading about the clients, learning more about them, and working to find similarities or trends in their behavioral support plans. As an Alvis intern I have been offered a lot of freedom to work on activities that I am interested in. As a result, without a strict schedule to adhere to, I have had to learn to hold myself accountable in order to maintain productivity. Additionally, this internship has reinforced the importance of perspective. Learning about the clients and interacting with them in person has helped me to remember to be kind and patient with everyone despite their history and regardless of my first impression of them.” —Adam Haag

“As an Alvis intern I have been writing blog pieces for the last few months, including this one! My tasks include interviewing, researching, writing, editing, and asking lots and lots of questions. I have learned a lot about social media, blog trends, what it’s like to run a blog, and what it’s like to be part of a nonprofit organization with so many caring and passionate individuals! It has been a truly humbling experience.” —Emma Whalen, Kent State University at Stark, majoring in English and minoring in creative writing.

Finally, we asked our interns why Alvis? What made them want to apply, why would they want to come back again if given the chance, and their overall thoughts on their experience:

“I would love to work with Alvis again in the future. Alvis provided me a safe, fun, and hardworking workplace where I was able to build and utilize my business skills. My overall thoughts on working for Alvis is that Alvis is a very driven nonprofit that does everything they can to turn lives around. Their mission, their staff, their attitude, and their success all perfected my experience.” —Kathryn Brown

(Would you want to work with Alvis again in the future?) “Yes! Alvis is a great organization that is helping people live their best lives. This is a professional passionate team of people working to make a difference in the lives of many around Columbus, Ohio. So happy I chose to do the Alvis graphic design internship! There have been many good experiences and it has given me a way to use and develop my creativity!” —Anna Munsell

“I wanted to apply for Alvis because not only is Alvis a wonderful organization, but I love what they stand for and the mission that they stand by.” —Kiara Johnson

“I would love to work with Alvis again in the future because not only have I developed an interest in working with this population of clients, but I have also really enjoyed meeting and working with the Alvis employees. I have noticed that each employee genuinely cares about the clients which inspires me to want to help in a similar way. Interning with Alvis has been incredibly beneficial for me. It has allowed me to gain a different type of real-life experience than I am used to. I am so thankful for Alvis, all of the employees that I have met, their help and guidance, and everything that I have learned this summer.” —Adam Haag

Alvis is always looking for interns and volunteers year-round. Interested in being a part of a nonprofit, helping your community, getting hands on experience, and more? Apply now!

Thank you, Alvis Interns, for all you do to help turn lives around 180 degrees!

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

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.

Father’s Day 2020

Father’s Day Picnic 2019

Today is Father’s Day, the day to show appreciation and love for the special men in our lives. To celebrate our fathers last year, Alvis held a Father’s Day Picnic with games, food, and fun! Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, this year we were unable to hold a similar event. However, we would still like to recognize all the fathers in our programs, along with some of our male role models and discuss the importance of mentorship.

Fathers play an important role. They are teachers, leaders, mentors, and much more. Having a mentor can be important when you are struggling through a personal battle or need a second chance. They can offer you guidance, encouragement, advice, and provide a safe, structured space for you to learn and develop yourself without judgment.

According to mentoring.org, youth who meet regularly with their mentors are 46% less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs and 27% less likely to start drinking. Mentors can also prepare their mentees for professional careers and assist with their workplace skills by helping them set career goals, find internships, locate possible jobs, teach them skills for seeking a job, interviewing for a job, and keeping a job.

One such mentor at Alvis is Harry Cox. He is a Senior Cognitive Behavioral Specialist in the Reentry Center and has helped thousands of people in the community through mentorship opportunities. He himself was brought through Alvis following release from incarceration and credits a mentor from an Alvis program for his success and helping him to turn his life around.

Another mentor, Dr. Lewis Dodley, serves male participants in the EDGE program. The EDGE (Empower Development by Gaining Employment) Program is a five-month reentry program assisting justice-involved individuals in overcoming barriers to employment and is a partnership between Alvis, the City of Columbus, and the Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio. Clients go through a host of workforce development activities such as resume development, skills training, and interviewing. Dodley is one mentor who meets with clients two days a week in empowerment sessions at the Reentry Center. Current participants will be graduating later this month.

Dr. Terrance Hinton, Program Manager of Reentry Services at Alvis and overseer of both the EDGE and H.I.R.E. programs, is also an appreciated role model. A typical day for Hinton includes overseeing day-to-day operations of both programs, coordinating transportation, maintaining client schedules, developing the curriculum, and communicating with case managers, probation officers, and other community partners. “Reentry has always been a part of me, because I value second chances,” says Hinton. “I believe everyone should be given a second opportunity to become successful and become productive members of society. I always tell clients that I am not as concerned about their past as I am about their future…. but they must be given the tools and support necessary for becoming successful. I truly believe that clients can turn their lives around 180 degrees and that is what gets me out of bed every morning and excited to come to the Reentry Center.”

Alvis recognizes the importance of mentorship and celebrates all our role models and father-like figures in other Alvis programs for supporting second chances and for helping turning lives around 180 degrees.

Happy Father’s Day from everyone at Alvis!

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

Little Things

Here at Alvis we know that little things can make a big difference.

The Big Give

This summer from June 10-11 the Columbus Foundation will be holding their online donation event to support local nonprofit agencies. Although the minimum donation is only $20, the past four Big Give events in 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017 have made a total of $52.2 million for central Ohio nonprofits. Every little bit makes a difference for Alvis! Your donation could provide that extra meal to a family. It could provide a child with a backpack, school supplies, books, and so much more! To donate during the Big Give, June 10 at 10 a.m. ET through June 11 at 11:00 a.m. ET, click here. To learn more about the Big Give and the Columbus Foundation go to columbusfoundation.org.

Volunteering

Don’t be discouraged if you are unable to donate money! There are other ways you can get involved that are simple, easy, fun and as crucial as monetary donations. Without our generous volunteers, Alvis would simply not be able to touch our ever-expanding client populations. Do you have a particular niche or are good at something? Alvis might have a spot for you no matter what it is or how small. Alvis always looks for any volunteer who can help our clients to expand their skillsets and add to their activity options. We are always welcoming volunteers who can help with special events, fundraising or even providing help in our offices.

Here are a few things that volunteers are already doing…

Helping with resume drafting and interviewing skills in the HIRE program at the Community Reentry Center.

Practicing mock interviews and providing feedback.

Teaching how to set goals.

Providing tutoring support for women at Amethyst working towards their GED.

Tutoring math.

Teaching developmental disabilities clients piano, guitar, and bass guitar.

Teaching crafting classes with sewing, knitting, jewelry making, etc.

More things you could do…

Attend events to lend a helping hand, or provide food, transportation, or activities to clients for these functions.

Teach a class at something you are good at like baking bread or painting.  

Tutor a subject you are good in to prepare Alvis clients for GED tests.

Volunteer at Bingo Night

Be a guide for DD clients on walks.

Donate items like art supplies, photo frames or books.

Although these things might seem small, they make a big difference at Alvis. All the little things are used to turn lives around and get clients lives back on track.

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

The Big Give 2020

The Columbus Foundation’s Big Give event is back!

The Columbus Foundation’s signature giving event will be back for the first time since 2017 to support central Ohio nonprofits in need during the COVID-19 crisis. The 25-hour online event will take place from June 10 at 10 a.m. ET through June 11 at 11:00 a.m. ET at columbusfoundation.org.

What is The Big Give?

The Big Give was created in 2011 by The Columbus Foundation, one of the top ten largest community foundations in the United States. It is an online giving event meant to rally and lift nonprofit organizations in the community, giving them an economic boost. The Columbus Foundation, its family of donors, and community and corporate partners have also provided a $1 million+ Bonus Pool. Donations received during the event will be boosted by Bonus Pool funds on a pro rata basis, allowing everyone’s dollars to go further. In addition, the Foundation is covering all credit card fees, so 100 percent of donations go to any of the 1,100 participating nonprofits in ten counties with a Directory Listing in the Foundation’s Giving Store.

How to Participate

Participating is easy and anyone can do it! To donate, visit columbusfoundation.org between Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at 10:00a.m. ET and Thursday, June 11, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. ET and find Alvis, among other local nonprofit organizations in the Giving Store. You can use credit card, PayPal, Google Pay, or Apple Pay. Minimum donations are $20 and anyone who donates will receive and email receipt. The Columbus Foundation will cover all credit card fees, so 100 percent of donations will be directed to the nonprofits of your choice. Donations can even be made in honor of, or in memory of, a loved one. All donations are final.

Fun Fact: The past four Big Give events in 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017 have made a total of $52.2 million for central Ohio nonprofits including nonprofits in Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Hocking, Licking, Madison, Morrow, Perry, Pickaway, and Union counties!

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

For more information on The Big Give and the Columbus Foundation visit columbusfoundation.org.

National Foster Care Month

May is National Foster Care Month!

Some Statistics…

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a charitable foundation focused on improving the well-being of American children, in 2018, 424,653 children were in foster care in the US. Childtrends.org defines this as, “a living arrangement for children who a child protective services worker and a court has decided cannot live safely at home.” This source also states that, in 2017, one in three children entered foster care because of parental drug abuse. “Without a caring, loving parent, the statistics about orphans indicate that they are at great risk to crime and homelessness. They don’t graduate from high school or have the ability to attend or succeed in college. Many become teen parents, are under-employed, and lack the skills to build strong relationships and have their own healthy families. These kids are at risk to those who hustle sex for hire, traffickers, extremists and others who prey on the kid’s vulnerabilities,” (kidsave.org). Foster care is a positive service, but it should be used in conjunction with families, not as a replacement. In 2017, the state of Ohio saw one of the largest increases in children entering foster care due to parental drug abuse. April Dirks, an associate professor of social work at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, says, “unfortunately the foster care system is overburdened—there’s not enough families, not enough services. If they’re going to remove the children, the best thing would be immediately treating the parent.” Dirk believes in specialized programs that provide supervised treatment instead of incarceration for people with substance use or mental health issues. These courts can provide parents with the support they need to recover from their addiction and regain custody of their children, (npr.org).

How Alvis Can Help…

Alvis is one such program. Here we bring families together instead of splitting them apart. The Family and Children’s Program serves children and their mothers, with the end goal of bringing families together that have been affected by substance abuse and parental involvement in the criminal justice system. The Family and Children’s Program consists of two components. The first is educational, and the second is in-person contact. Mothers receive parenting education and training. They are taught effective communication and discipline strategies, they learn how to set appropriate boundaries, and they receive guidance to help them understand basic parental responsibilities. Additional community support services are offered for all clients to complement their treatment plans.

These services are also extended to foster guardians caring for children of mothers undergoing treatment.

Moms are then given the opportunity to demonstrate their new skills in part two of the program, during which they are given the opportunity to connect with their children. They write letters, poems and make crafts for their children, which Alvis mails to help maintain the mother-child connection during their stay at Alvis. The mothers also have the opportunity to visit with their children twice each month, every first and third Saturday. Clients come together for a healthy meal, while spending time with their families. Research shows that families who eat meals together are stronger, which is why meals are at the center of family visit days, as caregivers and children join their mothers for a bonding experience. Usually, this also can involve participating in fun activities like games and taking lots of pictures. It’s during these in-person visits that moms get to put into practice the tools and training the program provides. These visits are also where we see the magic of reconnecting families. After graduation, an aftercare phase also allows mothers the opportunity to continue receiving services for up to two years after finishing their treatment through the program.

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

Recovery Housing at Alvis

An Overview of Three Programs for Women

At Alvis, we’ve been fortunate enough to fuel many programs that focus on recovery for women. Some of these women have a history with substance abuse disorder and/or mental health disorders—many times, these are co-occurring, and may originate from extensive trauma. SHINE (Stable Housing to Inspire, Nurture, and Empower), CHAT (Changing Habits, Attitudes and Thoughts), and Belmar are a few housing options for women that, in addition to Amethyst, provide resources for independent living and re-entry into the community.

The Amethyst program, which many people familiar with Alvis likely know about, is one of Alvis’ two integrated behavioral healthcare programs. A huge factor that makes the Amethyst program distinct from other treatment programs for women is the fact that it allows women to live with their minor children. Amethyst, specifically, works to reunite and strengthen families. Most residences at Amethyst have more than one bedroom, and the program provides services for women and their children. The ways that SHINE, CHAT, and Belmar differ from Amethyst are mainly due to the clients served through these programs and the format in which recovery resources are offered.

SHINE

SHINE is a Level II Recovery House for women that provides 6-12 months of transitional housing. It is open to both women with or without children, like Amethyst. Additionally, these women must have at least 90 days sobriety, stable mental health, and no violent impulses for the last 12 months. Those who have either been diagnosed with opioid use disorder or have a history of opioid overdose have priority consideration for admission.

At SHINE, women work with a Peer Case Manager to maintain sobriety, form stronger familial relationships, receive employment training and assistance entering the workforce, attain financial independence, and transition to a permanent residence. A dedicated caring staff decorates and maintains the living space for families, which features sitting rooms, a kitchen, restrooms, and other typical comforts of home. Up to two single women are housed in one unit (each with her own bedroom) and mothers residing with their children live in single apartments. There is a sliding rent scale based on employment schedule or income, and “move in” packages include living room and bedroom furniture, as well as necessary household supplies. Additional services, like bus passes, utilities, and food assistance is also offered if needed.

CHAT

The CHAT House aims to provide adequate resources to human trafficking survivors, so they may overcome their traumatic experiences and re-enter into society. Many of these women are graduates or participants of the CATCH Court, which was established by Judge Paul Herbert. At the CHAT House, communication is key. Staff is sure to remain transparent and on-call for clients, in case they need to discuss important things. Emergency situations are tackled as a team. 

In the living space itself, much like SHINE, walls are lined with bookshelves and decorated with empowering wall art and words of encouragement. Some of this art is made by clients and Alvis volunteers, who bond and connect through creating arts and crafts.

Belmar

The Belmar House, which recently acquired a Level II Ohio Recovery House certification last July, is a beautiful space managed by a former client. Unlike Amethyst and SHINE, this is a space for women without children. Each client has her own private bedroom, and there are a host of common areas, like a modern kitchen area and multiple sitting rooms. The women at Belmar are very independent and live close to typical everyday lives, which is an end goal for all Alvis clients. They have already shown signs that they can maintain structured schedules and employment. Rent is due on the day they move in, and there are still random drop-ins, house meetings, and walkthroughs every couple of weeks like at SHINE. Clients can stay here for as long as they wish, on the condition that they stay clean and follow house rules.

We’re so excited for our recent developments and programs to come. As we offer more support and resources to our clients, during this especially trying time, we remain hopeful and confident in the ability for our clients to achieve #180DegreeImpacts on themselves and their community.

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

Randy Kirby brings his love of music to volunteering

Randy on bass

Randy Kirby came to Alvis to share his love of music with our clients. Music is in his DNA. He is a talented multi-instrumentalist who is married to a classically trained pianist. All five of their children play a variety of instruments as a result of being taught by their parents. What Randy loves the most, though, is teaching music to others and seeing the lights go on when someone “gets it.”

Now that his kids are older, Randy had a little more time. His love of teaching music brought him to Alvis as a volunteer. He is working with men in our programs for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD). He teaches them piano, guitar and/or bass guitar, depending on their area of interest. Randy is personally a fan of 1960s Rock and Roll and blues from about any era. For many years when he lived in the Cleveland area, Randy played in “Club Sandwich,” a Beatles cover band.

Randy on piano

He first started working with the IDD clients in the fall of 2019. He loves their enthusiasm for learning and watching them figure stuff out. But Randy also admits he’s had to learn to be more patient and go slower when a client doesn’t want to move ahead at his typical pace. “I meet them where they’re at,” he says.

The Alvis clients couldn’t ask for a more upbeat, energetic and caring teacher. “There’s so much more that’s positive about music than just learning to play,” says Randy. “It boosts a person’s confidence because it’s like learning another language.” He also notes, “Music can be a way for some people to process their emotions.” Randy treasures the time he spends at Alvis and insists he gets more out of volunteering than he gives. “Watching them grow and stretch is a great feeling. I’m lucky to be part of it.”

Thank you, Randy, for volunteering and helping to turn lives around!

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

Nationwide’s All Women’s Associate Resource Group (AWARG) Community Impact Team

Joyce, Teri, Stephanie, Kristen, Lisa, Madeleine, Melissa, Margie

Nationwide’s All Women’s Associate Resource Group (AWARG) Community Impact Team volunteers to help women at Alvis

Alvis makes it easy for us to work together and the clients have just oozed gratitude.

It all started when the All Women’s Associate Resource Group (AWARG) Community Impact Team at Nationwide wanted to do a Mother’s Day project about this same time last year. “As a woman-centered group the AWARG wants to uplift, empower and be there for other women,” said Joyce Schott, a member of the group and a Specialist, Technology Analyst at Nationwide. They floated some ideas among themselves which centered on providing feminine hygiene products, since they are necessary and rarely thought of when making donations. The AWARG decided to do a “Pack a Purse” drive. Women from Nationwide donated new and gently used purses as well as hygiene items (shampoo, lotion, candy, body spray, etc.) for the purses. They got an incredible response and were able to pack 110 purses full of items and had some extra purses and items left over.

When deciding where to donate the purses, Joyce remembered hearing about Amethyst, an Alvis recovery program. A program participant had previously spoken at an event and it had really left an impression on her. Knowing that many Amethyst clients were also mothers was meaningful to many AWARG members who, as mothers, could empathize with wanting to be there for your kids. (Amethyst is one of just a few behavioral healthcare treatment programs in which children up to age 18 can live with their mothers while the mother is in treatment.) Joyce contacted Alvis and found the staff was excited, organized and very helpful. Needless to say, the purse donation was very much appreciated by the Amethyst women.

When the holidays came around, Joyce and the AWARG wanted to work with Alvis again. This time they learned about the CHAT program. CHAT is a recovery housing program for women who are in treatment and recovering from substance abuse and involvement in human trafficking. Upon hearing the description of the program and learning that the ladies had no holiday plans, the group immediately decided to adopt the CHAT women for the holidays.

Once again, the women at Nationwide showed up to contribute to women in treatment at Alvis. The AWARG put together bags of goodies containing fuzzy socks, hygiene items, blankets, cups, journals, pens, etc. They also brought items for the house like cards, games, books and art supplies. A group of volunteers delivered the gifts to the CHAT house and had a small party. “It was such a privilege to be invited into their home and share a bit of holiday spirit,” said Joyce. The volunteers and clients worked side by side to decorate cookies and make decorations and other holiday crafts. “The CHAT house gave me goosebumps,” said Joyce. “When we’re volunteering, it makes a huge difference to be able to interact with the people we’re serving, instead of just buying things or doing some project where you don’t see the people the project is intended to help.” The group has also appreciated that they weren’t dropped into a cookie cutter project – they were able to connect to a volunteer opportunity that really spoke to their hearts.

Earlier this year, AWARG Community Impact team sent Valentines to the ladies at the CHAT house. The group of women have also become regulars at volunteering in “Hope’s Closet,” a clothing closet for the women and men at Alvis. “One of the things I love about Alvis is how organized and responsive the staff are. Alvis makes it easy for us to work together and the clients have just oozed gratitude.” The group has also learned a lot more about the disease of addiction and how easily addiction can lead to justice involvement.

On behalf of everyone at Alvis, and especially the women at the CHAT House, thank you!!

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

April is Volunteer Month! Meet Nancy, in her own words:

“My name is Nancy Bechtold and I am a retired IT professional. My current hobbies include gardening, reading and volunteering for several worthwhile organizations. My family and friends would probably describe me as outspoken and very opinionated, but also caring and compassionate to those less fortunate. I am very interested in the environment and how to help clean it up for future generations.


I learned about Alvis through Molly Seguin. She was a high school friend of my older daughter and she and her family have volunteered for our Upper Arlington Special Olympics program over the years. My younger daughter participates in the Special Olympics program. When I retired several years ago,  I asked her what could I do to help at Alvis. She said that the DD department needed someone to help file paperwork, etc.

For the past several years (I think it’s 3) I  go to Alvis on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 2-4 hours each day.  I perform data entry and filing as well as other office tasks. I  help decorate for the Holiday parties that the staff provides for “the guys”.   It gives me a sense of purpose to help out where I can. I have had the opportunity to meet many of the consumers that Alvis services. Everyone I have met at Alvis is so friendly. I feel that I am part of a team — a team of people who work hard and care so much about what they do.

I believe volunteering is a way to step outside your own cocoon and learn about those who need help. I volunteer for several worthwhile organizations and have had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people.

Alvis is definitely an organization worthy of donations. Alvis programs help thousands of people turn their lives around. I am grateful to be a small part of such a great organization.”

Here it is one of my favorite quotes:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou


Thank you Nancy! We appreciate YOU and all your contributions to Alvis! Happy Volunteer Month!

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

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.

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.

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.

Black History Month 2020

This February at Alvis, we proudly celebrate Black History Month. Black History Month commemorates the pivotal role that African Americans have played in shaping our U.S. history, and allows us time to acknowledge the stories, struggles, and achievements that past and present members of the Black community have experienced.

The 2020 theme for this year’s Black History Month is “African Americans and the Vote,” honoring the 100-year landmark since the 19th Amendment, which granted women across the U.S. the right to vote, and the 150-year anniversary of the 15th Amendment, which gave African American men the right to vote in 1870.

Black History Month Alvis Blog

We thank our incredible African American staff members, clients, and leaders who represent Alvis and its mission to the fullest. 

Some of the talented individuals who have we have previously spotlighted in written pieces include Harry Cox, Keith Stevens, Terrance Hinton, Camilla Jackson, and our President and CEO, Denise M. Robinson. 

Keith Stevens is an Alvis board member, who began connecting with our organization in 2012 through his company, Proteam Solutions Inc. (PSI), in the late 1990s. Stevens previously served on the board of Community Connection for Ohio Offenders, another nonprofit that became a part of Alvis in 2012. He acknowledges the significance of Black mentorship, which he received during his teenage years working for and witnessing a successful Black family-owned business. Seeing people that could relate to him being successful gave him “nuggets of wisdom and the ability to imagine it for himself.”

He also touches on discrimination, finding that while he has faced his share of struggles and experienced racial discrimination firsthand, he encourages those who do experience adversity to “lean into” it, so they may grow and pursue their passions to the fullest—even if that might mean working twice as hard compared to people who do not experience the same hardships.

Harry Cox, Senior Cognitive Behavioral Specialist at Alvis, has directly mentored and served as a role model to our client population. After experiencing the justice system firsthand, he’s dedicated his life to helping others navigate similar challenges and experiences that he did many years ago. In a recent interview, Cox stresses the importance of client-centered therapy. “It’s not about me,” he continues to repeat. “My whole day consists of allowing a person to be themselves. Allowing them to get rid of some of the pain while they’re in the group room.” Our job at Alvis, according to Cox, is to give clients the tools they need to turn their own lives around.


Cox also acknowledges that his job doesn’t end when he leaves the reentry center for the day. After moving to Gahanna, he realized that he was further removed from the experiences of his clients, most of whom resided on Columbus’ East Side. “When I closed my door at night,” he reflects, “I couldn’t see my environment. I couldn’t see my community.” This led him to sell his house in Gahanna and move back to the East Side. Now, he’s involved with a number of local organizations, and engages with the community from the ground floor. “You ever walk into a place and every day you know that it’s going to be a new beginning? Not for you, but somebody else? That’s what I look forward to, walking in here every day.”

In one of our recent blog posts, we spotlighted Dr. Terrance Hinton, Program Manager of Reentry Services at Alvis, who oversees both EDGE and the H.I.R.E. program. The EDGE (Empower Development by Gaining Employment) Program is a five-month program assisting justice-involved individuals to overcome barriers to employment. It is a partnership between Alvis, the City of Columbus, and the Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio (WBDCO).

When it comes to our clients, Hinton holds the same perspective as Cox: “Reentry has always been a part of me, because I value second chances. I believe everyone should be given a second opportunity to become successful and become a productive member of society.” Helping clients unlock their maximum potential is a key motivator for Hinton to get out of bed every day.


Camilla Jackson is a Direct Support Professional (DSP) with Developmental Disability (DD) Services at Alvis. Jackson was recognized in June by the Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities, winning two awards that commend her work as a DSP with Alvis: the Horizon Award and the Constellation Award. The Horizon Award celebrates Jackson’s ability to match people’s interest to events, and helping them expand their horizons, while the Constellation Award credits her capacity in providing opportunities for growth and advancement, helping co-workers become the brightest stars. 

One of the most rewarding aspects of Jackson’s job is simply being there for clients and listening to them. “I make sure that the guys are in good health, make sure they’re safe at all times.” She finds, too, that an essential component of the job is “making sure you treat them right,” and making sure “they have a good day.”

Finally, our President and CEO, Denise M. Robinson, has illustrated through her actions that she not only understands the plethora of key problems facing our community, but that it takes unity, empathy, and understanding to enact any sort of fundamental change. At our recent Amethyst graduation, she perfectly summed up what it means to be a true community advocate, telling graduates to keep us nearby “in case you need to shout down the voice of addiction when it tries to tempt you into returning to old habits,” and to know that they would “always have a personal cheering section” as they continue throughout life’s journey. 

As we celebrate this month, we recognize our own African American staff and leaders, many of whom, like the ones spotlighted above, are performing key roles (on and off the clock) in producing widespread, positive impact throughout the state.

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

Amethyst Graduation

Celebrating

On February 3rd, we celebrated the graduation of 18 women who completed all 5 levels of Amethyst, an Alvis recovery program. Amethyst has provided treatment services to women and children who need specialized services and a community of support for over 30 years.

A noteworthy fact: this is the largest graduating class that has ever graduated from the Amethyst program!

Linda Janes, Alvis’ Chief Program Officer, welcomed audience members, which consisted of current clients at Amethyst, alumni, and family and friends. The celebration was hosted by State Auto Insurance, who also hosts our annual holiday parties for clients, and generously donated a computer lab for Amethyst. Janes acknowledged Zonta Club of Columbus, a service and advocacy organization whose mission is to empower women. They contribute to Amethyst clients year-long. Studio Fovero Salon and Spa was also recognized for donating hair styling services to graduates.

A special guest in attendance was Judge Paul Herbert, who founded and administers the CATCH Court program in Franklin County. CATCH Court focuses on rehabilitation and reentry services for women trafficking survivors. Three clients graduating from Amethyst are also successful graduates of CATCH Court, and another graduate is a current participant in the program.

When Herbert founded CATCH Court, Amethyst became his first partner. Leaders at Amethyst, like founding mother, Ginny O’Keeffe, helped him understand the significance of clients’ experiences. “This [CATCH Court] is the best thing that happened to me in my career… and maybe, my whole life,” Herbert reflected. “I love each and every one of you, because you’re great.”

“Today is so important, and I want you to really think about how far you’ve come,” echoed Denise M. Robinson, President & CEO of Alvis. “You are different today because you have addressed the demons and the trauma that kept you in the prison of addiction.”

Graduates ranged from ages 28 to 53. Their accomplishments included newfound employment and promotions, regained custody and relationships with their children, exploration of cultural roots, and renewed independence and empowerment. They also overcame a host of challenges, such as intergenerational trauma, homelessness, illnesses, and injuries. Two women even gave birth while in the program.

Following Robinson’s speech was Tori Buck, a Primary Care Counselor at Amethyst who works with the women on a daily capacity. She stressed the importance of support to recovery: “They have all worked so hard to get to this stage. Their journeys came with triumphs, heartbreak, perseverance, and extremely hard work and we could not be more proud of them.” Graduates provided 3 roses to audience members who had guided and loved them throughout their journey. As staff members introduced graduates, it was clear that they had grown on these journeys alongside their clients.

Sharing Stories

Many women overcame personal battles on their journeys with Amethyst. One client, Carla, celebrated her triumph over addiction. From this date, she’s been nearly 2 years and a month clean. “One thing I learned throughout this program was gratitude that I never had before. I never had an appreciation for my life or anything else,” she reflected. “I spent most of my life homeless, but now me and my 5 year old daughter have a home of our own.”

Other clients emphasized the significance of Alvis’ Amethyst staff and community. LaRose, 28, is the youngest graduate in her class. A CATCH Court graduate, she has secured full-time employment and independent housing, rebuilt a relationship with her step-son, and received visitation rights. Her sister, Hollie, a former Amethyst graduate herself, was the one who encouraged LaRose to attend Amethyst and receive help. Hollie runs a non-profit called The Shining Starz, which helps women caught in the throes of addiction, homelessness, and sex trafficking. “CATCH Court saved my life,” she expressed, “and Amethyst showed me how to live life.”

When client, Christine, was recovering at Amethyst, her own son died of an overdose. Additionally, she landed in the hospital for COPD-related concerns. Despite what some would consider to be insurmountable odds, she relied on her community at Amethyst, and her own power, to get her through these experiences. “If it weren’t for Amethyst, I would not be here,” she said. “I was clean in here when my son died. And the first thing I said was, ‘I’ll never go out and use.’” And Christine hasn’t. She’s been sober for 3 years and 9 months, and she recently regained custody of her grandson. “I have a 5-year old grandson who needs me in his life and will never see me take a drink, or use a drug.”

Delisa, a two-time attendee at Amethyst, left the first time to do it “her own way,” focusing less on personal recovery, and more toward fulfilling her court mandate. When that didn’t work, her father helped her move back into Amethyst, and he unfortunately passed away in November. Like Christine, she did not let this tragedy define her ability to recover, resisting the urge to relapse. “I’m glad that Amethyst gave me the foundation to be a healthy adult and be a healthy mom, so that my family could interact as one,” she said. Specifically to the staff in the room, she expressed her gratitude. “Each one of you has touched me. I can really say I have a special connection with everybody.”

Alicia is another client who struggled with the initial addiction battle. “I did not think of myself as an addict. I did not understand what addiction was.” This battle was not without its ups and downs. For Alicia, this meant multiple attempts at getting clean before she could stand before the audience at graduation with the peace and confidence she had attained from her time at Amethyst. She connected her support at Amethyst to her own self-confidence. “I’m so grateful that a staff member told me to shine today. Because I deserve this. My fiancé told me I deserve this. My brother, my sister, they’re here with me today. I am present in my family’s life today. And it’s because of Amethyst, so thank God I made it to Amethyst.”

Self-love and empowerment were present in all of the graduates’ stories, from their words, to their overall demeanor. The emotion in the room was palpable as women shared their own individual experiences, which made real both the immense challenges that addiction and trauma can bring, as well as the shreds of hope that recovery provides.

A Community of Support

Our President and CEO, Denise M. Robinson, visibly moved and proud, summed up the significance of the Amethyst graduation as she concluded her speech. “Because of the Amethyst program, our graduates and current clients have never been alone on the road to recovery, and you never will be. You can carry the positivity and support of this community of recovery with you wherever you go. For the graduates, keep us nearby, in case you need to shout down the voice of addiction when it tries to tempt you into returning to old habits. Know that you will always have a personal cheering section with you as you continue your lifelong journey to reach your highest potential.”

Congratulations to our 2020 graduates of the Amethyst program!

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

American Heart Month

As American Heart Month of February comes to an end, we want to share some of what we know and see every day inside and out Alvis. 

American Heart Month was established in 1963 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, and first celebrated in February 1964. President Johnson felt strongly about heart disease and believed that United States citizens needed to,  “Give heed to the nationwide problem of the heart and blood-vessel diseases, and to support the programs required to bring about its solution.” Dedicating a month to being aware of cardiovascular diseases provides us all with the opportunity to learn and practice healthier ways caring for ourselves. For more information on American Heart Month, visit this site

Our hearts need just as much, if not more, attention now compared to the time the American Heart Month was established. Roughly every one in four deaths across the U.S. were caused by heart disease in 2015. Across the nation, every 40 seconds, a person has a heart attack. Each minute, someone loses their life as a result of a heart disease-related event. These are staggering statistics and hopefully, raising awareness about the risk factors that cause heart disease can help prevent it in the future. Risk factors include smoking, obesity, diabetes, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet and physical inactivity. Some indicators of heart disease include high blood pressure and high LDL cholesterol.

What can we do? While we can’t change genetic factors that contribute to heart disease, we do have the power to fight heart disease by changing our habits.  We can turn our lives around and reduce our risk by eating a lower fat diet, committing to getting some exercise every day, quitting smoking, etc. 

Alvis is well-acquainted with turning lives around.  An individual in Alvis’ Recovery Choices program learns to treat their addiction by changing the way they think and changing their behavior. In this way, Alvis provides individuals with the tools they need to be successful in a new beginning. 

Taking better care of our bodies and making a commitment to a healthy lifestyle is good for all of us, whether we are working to overcome addiction or working to lower the risk of heart disease. Interested in learning more? We suggest a visit to www.cdc.gov  

American Heart Month, along with a Valentine’s Day celebration, inspired a motivated team of Alvis staff and clients to hold a special Door Decorating Contest in one of our residential reentry centers. Using a heart theme, participants made beautiful door decorations that reflected the stories of their lives with love and pride. You can see how caring and special it was to have such a fun event. Thank you to Deborah Finnegan, Katelyn McKinley, Lisabeth Shepard, Rebecca Neubig and all participants for making this such a nice event!

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

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

Family and Children’s Holiday Cheer Program

“It just gets bigger and bigger every year,” remarks Lori Robinson, Risk Manager of M/I Homes and coordinator of the annual Holiday Cheer Program. Lori, who started this event five years ago as a partnership with Alvis’ Family and Children’s Program, insists that it’s the best thing her organization does all year round, which funds the program through donations. “Our staff gets very energized and excited. My favorite part would have to be seeing the kids’ eyes light up with their gifts.”

The Holiday Cheer Program that Robinson leads began after she met Arlene Reitter, Alvis’ Managing Director of Development and Communications. Getting to know one another at a Community Care Day at United Way seven years ago, Robinson immediately became fascinated and encouraged by the work being done at Alvis.

Thus, the Holiday Cheer Program came into being. Every fall, Alvis arrives at M/I Homes to talk with their employees about the clients who are turning their lives around daily through our Family and Children’s Program. Volunteers from M/I Homes are assigned a family’s wish list for the holiday season. Gifts include items that families would give to each other if they had the means to do so. According to Julie Jansen, Program Manager at Alvis, the lists entail “Something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.” Gifts this year ranged from cozy blankets, to board games, scooters, books, clothes, microwaves, shampoos, and soaps.

Alvis’ Family and Children’s Program serves children and their mothers, with the end goal of bringing families together. Every first and third Saturday, caregiving clients come together for a healthy meal, while spending time with their families. Usually, this involves participating in fun activities and games, and taking lots of pictures. Other special celebrations from this past year that were coordinated with the Family and Children’s Program include Mother’s Day, Easter, the Summer Reading Program, and Thanksgiving.

“The holidays are just a special time,” highlights Priscilla Tyson, Senior Director of the Family and Children’s Program. “They provide a chance for families to reflect on how blessed they are.” In addition to these bi-weekly Saturday lunches, Tyson outlines the other components of the Family and Children’s Program: a parenting component that involves parenting classes and workshops, and a clinical component for parents and caregivers. Additional community support services are offered for all clients to complement their treatment plans; these services are also extended to foster guardians caring for children of mothers undergoing treatment. An Aftercare phase allows mothers the opportunity to continue receiving services for up to 2 years after finishing their treatment through the program.

Saturday’s festive event began with an introduction from Jansen, who took a moment to recognize three recent graduates of the program. They were awarded certificates and commended for their accomplishments in classes, weekly meetings with case managers, and parenting education.

Missy and Ryan

One graduate, Heather, encouraged other women in the room to persevere. “Keep pushing forward, learn everything you can,” she said. “This is a great program—you can learn a lot from it.” Heather’s cousin, Missy, is also currently enrolled in the Family and Children’s Program. “She’s doing well,” Heather said. “She’s getting ready to get her child back, and they’ve had time to bond and get together. These events are the best part.” Missy also attended the celebration with her son, Ryan. Another mom, Amber, returned with her child for this holiday event after completely finishing the Family and Children’s Program. In general, it’s not a rare occurrence for former graduates to return to these special celebrations—this program creates a lifelong community. Terri, another graduate, expressed how vital her family was to her treatment. “I love you guys,” she said, gesturing to them. “Thanks for giving me another chance. This program really worked. This is the right program to be in.” After graduates were recognized, families were treated to a catered holiday meal from Events by Linzy, and Santa’s Helpers (volunteers from M/I Homes) passed out gift bags, candy canes, and took pictures of families with Santa. There were also tables for cookie decorating and holiday mug creations; and a photoshoot with a green screen backdrop, created winter-wonderland themed portraits. Families had lots of fun together!

Marsha, a volunteer who has worked with the Family and Children’s Program since its inception, finds that this event, and the program overall, has led to immense change in clients, who have faced a number of challenges throughout their lives. She is particularly inspired by their resilience, as they strive to make a #180DegreeImpact to help themselves and their families. “They’ve really helped me, too, seeing how they persevere.” With a background in special education, Marsha is comfortable meeting with children at these events and giving them advice, or simply talking to them. She also loves to encourage people to smile. “It’s contagious!” she says.

Ashley, another volunteer attending her third Holiday event with the Family and Children’s Program, also works for Alvis as a Case Manager. “One of my favorite parts about Alvis is reconnecting families and their kids,” she says. “This is the incentive that they need—the ability to reconnect in a safe space.”

Connecting, sharing, and building a community are cornerstones of the Family and Children’s Program at Alvis. We’re so thankful for the donations and volunteers from M/I Homes for making all of this possible and brightening our clients’ and their families’ lives with a lot of holiday cheer!

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

International 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 Volunteer Day

International Volunteer Day / Dec 5

Today is International Volunteer Day! Mandated by the UN General Assembly, according to their website, this day fosters the chance for volunteers and organizations to promote their work for communities, NGOs, United Nations agencies, government authorities, and the private sector. It also advocates and encourages volunteerism throughout the world.

The theme of last year’s IVD was “Volunteers Build Resilient Communities.” This focus on communities, which is also apparent in the general mission of IVD, is what Alvis is all about. We strive to create safe, compassionate communities that believe in a person’s potential more than their past. Likewise, we believe in the power of clients to overcome their own obstacles, which is very challenging to do without support.

Alvis treasures its volunteers, who give time, funds, and care toward making an impact in the state of Ohio. Without our volunteers, we would not be able to touch our ever-expanding client populations. We have community volunteers, who directly interact with clients, providing kind, thoughtful interactions, and sometimes, even physical gifts, like the bags that were donated for our Mother’s Day celebration. Additionally, we have employees who go above-and-beyond their stipulated job responsibilities in order to further the positive impact that Alvis makes for its clients, from offering crafting classes, to tutoring clients for the GED Test. Many of our volunteer opportunities that are not directly at locations revolve around our special events. This might mean simply attending events and lending a helping hand, or it might mean providing food, transportation, or activities for clients to these functions.

Other service organizations, such as Columbus Gives Back, The Kiwanis Club of Columbus, and the Ronald McDonald House, seek to better the local community, and organizations like the Human Service Chamber of Franklin County provide opportunities for groups in central Ohio to come together in order to address community issues on a larger scale.

Here at Alvis, we’ve been involved in community outreach with various organizations across Columbus (including some of the above mentioned nonprofits!). Click on this post to see what kinds of outreach our interns performed across Columbus…and learn about how you can make a #180DegreeImpact on your community with Alvis here!

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

International Day of People with Disabilities

Today is International Day of People with Disabilities!

Established in 1992 by the United Nations, the International Day of People with Disabilities aims to advocate for the rights and well-being of those living with any and all disabilities. Specifically, the UN wishes to promote the rights of disabled persons in every social, political, economic and cultural sphere.

This year, the International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPD) has chosen the theme of leadership, including taking action in the 2030 Development Agenda. The UN wishes to empower persons with disabilities for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development pledges to be entirely inclusive and recognize disabilities as cross-cutting issues. The UN’s efforts to make their organization an inclusive place should be a testament to how all international organization should strive for accessibility and equality.

In line with the United Nation’s efforts to be fully inclusive, we here at Alvis believe the world should be more inclusive to the disabled workforce. All of these possible employees have the potential to add a unique perspective to your workforce with their individual talents. We appreciate and value the talent and hardwork our DD employees add to our workforce!

Each client that enters our DD sector will be given an Individual Program Plan (IPP) to assess each client’s individual developmental goals and needs. Throughout a client’s time at Alvis, data is constantly recorded and retrieved in order to adapt the IPP. Residential care is possible through Wittwer hall, where adult males can receive crisis counseling, medical monitoring, vocational training, EQUIP and many more services.

 Developmental Disability clients can also partake in our behavioral intervention programs, which aim to help those with addiction. Clients can also learn more about job readiness, obtaining work and the work environemnt. Alvis aims to make clients employable by the end of their time in the program. If clients feel they still need additional help after completion, they can opt for supported living. This way, clients can live independently with assistance from staff

To read more on the UN’s inclusion efforts → https://bit.ly/37BXcBm

Take the quiz about our DD program here → https://bit.ly/2KU0u9d

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

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays Alvis Blog post

Happy holidays, everyone! This year at Alvis, we are proud to have helped so many clients turn their lives around! We would not be able to do this without our dedicated staff, committed leadership, passionate volunteers and interns, and resilient clients.


For many, the holiday season is a time of giving, family bonding, community, and food! For others, the holidays are a time of stress, sadness, and loneliness. For some of our clients, this holiday might be hard, even as a potential source of joy, especially if they are striving to succeed in rehabilitation, self-betterment, substance abuse and mental health treatment, therapy, or other reentry programs, so they may realize their full potential as a person. We keep them in mind as they work toward their recovery.


Alvi wishes all of you a wonderful holiday, and he also thanks everyone who works to make a #180DegreeImpact on their communities. Stay warm, stay safe, and stay supportive!

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

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Alvis Blog post

Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving centers on good food (lots of it!), family, friends, and gratitude. Many of our clients are motivated to go through recovery in order to reunite with their families. Still, others may not have families to go home to, but they’ve found a supportive community here at Alvis. Whatever the case, Thanksgiving encourages us to be thankful, and Alvis has an abundance of things to be thankful for.

We provide programs in five distinct areas, and we would not be able to do this without everyone that contributes to making Alvis an internationally-recognized human services agency. Our five areas include:

o Individuals who have become involved in the criminal justice system.

o Individuals with significant barriers to employment.

o Individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and behavioral challenges.

o Individuals in need of integrated behavioral healthcare treatment services.

o Families, especially children, impacted by their loved ones’ justice involvement, developmental disability and/or behavioral healthcare needs.

We thank our donors who fund us, so we are able to provide all of these programs that best serve our client base. We also thank organizations that fund these programs and other community efforts to bring about positive social change, like the ADAMH Board, which sponsored our SummerQuest camp, and the Kiwanis Club of Columbus, which sponsored our Father’s Day Celebration.

We thank our dedicated, passionate staff who work in the areas of behavioral healthcare, corrections, developmental disabilities, employment services, family and children’s services, facilities, and the offices here at Stella. These people are the backbone of all of our services and programs.

We thank all of our community partners and other nonprofits that work alongside us in our goal to create stronger, safer, supportive communities.

We thank government officials and individuals serving in the judicial system for working with us to create programs and plans allow our clients to receive care at Alvis in the first place.

We thank our Executive Management Team, the Board of Trustees, and the rest of the senior management at Alvis for leading us to expand across the state with new, pioneering programs that offer reliable, evidence-based services.

Finally, we thank our clients, who have shown us what true strength, determination, and perseverance looks like, as they turn their lives around and give back to the community with their skills, talents, and resolve to make a difference with a #180DegreeImpact.

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience providing highly effective treatment programs in Ohio. Our vision is that communities value a person’s potential

more than their past. For more information on how Alvis can help you or to learn more about how you can get involved, contact us here.

Giving Tuesday Campaign Ambassador Kit

What is the best way to reach your friends? Email? Social Media? Messenger? Text? Whatever it is, we got you covered. We are #BetterTogether. Thank you for your support! Here we go…

Email Template:

Dear Friends,

We have two days for getting deals: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On #GivingTuesday, we have a day for giving back to our community. Giving is the reason for the season, after all. Kick off the beginning of giving season with #GivingTuesday on December 3rd.

This year, I am supporting Alvis for #GivingTuesday. This organization helps to make #180degreeimpact in our community. They provide services in residential reentry, developmental disabilities supported living, workforce development, mental health & addictions treatment, and family support.

Can you help our clients #RewriteTheStory and turn lives around? Here is how you can help:

1. To donate online click here: https://alvis.kindful.com/?campaign=1045825
or text TUESDAY to 614-881-2733

2. Forward this email to your contact list

3. Share Alvis’ social media posts and use the hashtags: #RewriteTheStory along with #180degreeimpact

Social Media Post Option 1:

#GivingTuesday is just around the corner! Join me on December 3rd as I support Alvis and help people in our community. This holiday season, more than ever, we need to give our community the gift of rewriting their stories. To learn more about this award-winner non-profit, follow @180degreeimpact

Donate online at https://alvis.kindful.com/?campaign=1045825 or text TUESDAY to 614-881-2733

#GivingTuesday #RewriteTheStory #180degreeimpact

Social Media Post Option 2:

Mark your calendars! #GivingTuesday is December 3rd! Join the movement and support Alvis as they help to improve the holiday season for those recovering for addiction, handling a disability or reentering into our community. Donate online at https://alvis.kindful.com/?campaign=1045825 or text TUESDAY to 614-881-2733

Social Media Post Option 3:

The holiday season is a difficult time for those struggling to maintain their economic independence. Alvis helps those who are recovering from addiction to obtain their own economic independence and stability. Help those who need it most this holiday season by donating to Alvis this #GivingTuesday

Help those in need rewrite their story! Donate online at https://alvis.kindful.com/?campaign=1045825 or text TUESDAY to 614-881-2733

Social Media Post Option 4:

I donated to Alvis for #GivingTuesday. My donation to Alvis helps fund their mental health & addictions treatments, and family support services. We are #BetterTogether

Help those in need rewrite their story! Donate online at https://alvis.kindful.com/?campaign=1045825 or text TUESDAY to 614-881-2733

Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday at Alvis

Next week is Giving Tuesday! Giving Tuesday is a global giving movement, celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, which occurs right after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This day is also marking the beginning of the holiday season for many people, and it appropriately embraces the spirit of giving. You can follow Giving Tuesday on social media, through Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, to see the giving that others are doing across the globe through this movement to donate time, money, gifts, and voice. Stay tuned for more info about our #RewriteTheStory Campaign.

Our summer intern marketing team at Alvis donated time to serve at various nonprofits and service opportunities across the community, such as game nights at the Ronald McDonald House, landscaping at the Franklin Park Conservatory, serving meals at the Reeb Avenue Center, helping with fitness activities at Senior Health and Fitness Day at Nationwide Arena, among others. These happened in two hour increments, and in just a short time, interns were touched by the impact they could feel themselves making, and the community was made a little better. 

Visit www.givingtuesday.org to see the different ways that you can make a #180DegreeImpact in your community. There are a number of local projects that are coinciding with Giving Tuesday, including some in central Ohio!

Here at Alvis, we are honored to have donors that give time, funding, and actual gifts for our clients, and we have volunteers who also put forth effort into directly impacting lives, and helping Alvis achieve its overall goal, which is helping to turn lives around.

Want to donate cash to our Giving Tuesday campaign? please click here: https://alvis.kindful.com/?campaign=1045825 or text TUESDAY to 614-881-2733.

Whether it’s using your creative talent, a random act of kindness, or making a donation, this day encourages us all to join in the giving movement, so we can make the world a little bit better. Let’s help #RewriteTheStory

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

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.

Rewrite The Story, an Alvis Giving Tuesday Campaign

Rewrite the story an alvis giving tuesday campaign

Most Americans know someone who lost a loved one from addiction. In 2017 alone, 19.7 million American adults battled a substance use disorder (via Americanaddictioncenters.org). Addiction not only consumes and affects those that are addicted; it affects all loved ones of that individual. People see how addiction affects those around them and want to know how to help. Prompted by #GivingTuesday, one could even decide to donate in order to contribute to the halt of this epidemic. It is one thing to for people to open their wallets for a single day of change, then to view themselves as tools of lasting solutions for community change. On December 3rd, we at Alvis encourage you to not only donate, but to understand what it means to give back to those who suffer from addiction and its consequences.

Giving Tuesday allows 7,000 change-making partners to join together for a national day of giving. People are encouraged to donate money, but are also encouraged to donate time, talent, knowledge, education and resources. Short- term charity is a one-time event; when you give all of yourself to your community, you become an integral part of the community solutions.

We at Alvis make a 180 degree impact. We help those struggling with addiction recovery, developmental disabilities, or reentering their communities after incarceration. Our endeavors require enormous amounts of funding, in terms of money and also man power. Donations get the bread on the table, but volunteering passes it out. Both turn our gears, and both are essential to our mission.

When we bring together all of our collective donations, we can accomplish anything that needs doing. We have seen our successes in Brittany, who beat addiction and is getting her children back from the foster system. Another success story at Alvis is seen in William, a developmentally disabled man who made mistakes, but evolves everyday into a new man by working through Alvis. 

Success stories such as these prove that the best is definitely yet to come. We here at Alvis believe in those who push for change in themselves and their communities. And that’s why we advocate for you to donate not only your money, but your time. Your passion. Your advocacy.

Live everyday feeling as though you’re a part of a message larger than any of us. Be a part of the revolution of what it means to truly give back. Help those in need rewrite their stories.

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

Universal Children’s Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Parental Involvement Day

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

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

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


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

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

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.

Giving Tuesday is almost here!

Giving Tuesday Blog post

Giving Tuesday is almost here! Giving Tuesday is a global giving movement, celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, which occurs right after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This day is also marking the beginning of the holiday season for many people, and it appropriately embraces the spirit of giving. You can follow Giving Tuesday on social media, through Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, to see the giving that others are doing across the globe through this movement to donate time, money, gifts, and voice.

Our summer intern marketing team at Alvis donated time to serve at various nonprofits and service opportunities across the community, such as game nights at the Ronald McDonald House, landscaping at the Franklin Park Conservatory, serving food and water at the Reeb Avenue Center, and helping with fitness activities at Senior Health and Fitness Day at Nationwide Arena. These happened in two hour increments, and in just a short time, interns were touched by the impact they could feel themselves making, and the community was made a little better.

Visit http://www.givingtuesday.org to see the different ways that you can make a #180DegreeImpact in your community. There are a number of local projects that are coinciding with Giving Tuesday, including some in central Ohio!

Here at Alvis, we are honored to have donors that give time, funding, and actual gifts for our clients, and we have volunteers who also put forth effort into directly impacting lives, and helping Alvis achieve its overall goal, which is helping to turn lives around.

Whether it’s using your creative talent, a random act of kindness, or making a donation, this day encourages us all to join in the giving movement, so we can make the world a little bit better.

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

National 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.

National Make A Difference Day

The mantra “pay it forward” has been gaining attention as movements such as random acts of kindness are popping up across the nation. But today, we want to focus on one man who is working to turn his life around and make a difference for someone else. This man has spent the last 43 years of his life in prison.  

Wendell Drake’s father died when he was young and his mother, grief-stricken, was in and out of mental health institutions. Drake says that when his parents disappeared from his life, so too did all forms of discipline. He got involved in minor criminal activity, but he says he never felt totally settled in the lifestyle he was building. 

He was sent to a juvenile facility at the age of 16, where he noticed that the other guys in the facility were enjoying and embracing their lives that involved criminal activity. “That was the beginning,” he says with tears in his eyes. “That was the beginning of my destruction.”

“I was in a world of trouble,” Drake says of the next few years when he ended up serving nearly two years as a juvenile after an armed robbery where one of his co-defendants was shot in the head. He says at one point, he would have denied being there that day because he didn’t go inside. But now he recognizes “I was just as much responsible for it as any of them were.” But still, the time he spent in prison was a “badge of honor” to so many of the people in his life at that time and, when he came home, he was asked to be part of another robbery. He agreed. 

“At that point in my life,” he explains, “I probably didn’t even realize that I had an inner-self. Not to mention the string of victims that I left in my wake.”

On the day he would pull that trigger, he says he never planned to use the gun. But the owner was not willing to stand by and be robbed. The owner pulled out a pool stick and Drake panicked. Before he realized what he’d done, he pulled the trigger that would kill an innocent man. But Drake says his intentions on that day do not matter. He never meant to hurt anyone, but he did. “It does no good to the person that I shot nor does it do any good to the grieving hearts of his remaining loved ones who know that their loved one was struck down for nothing. It does them no good.”

After nearly half a century of justice system involvement, Drake says, “it was necessary.” He believes it was “preordained from the Creator for me to go through the experiences I went through in order to be the person that I am.”

And who is that person? A man who has accepted his guilt, accepted his punishment, and accepted his ability to change. Drake believes that people have the ability to turn their lives around and that humans are not the sum of where they came from. “For the rest of my life I will be trying to do everything in my power to help an individual live a little bit better than what they’re living now.”

Drake’s goal is to be part of a reentry program like the one he completed at Alvis. “I would like to continue to work in reentry in a formal type of way. I would like somebody to take a look at me, look at my credentials, look at my experiences… and see if I am who I say I am.”

He sites Ohio’s overall 30% recidivism rate as being a primary concern as well as the demographic of kids who are growing up in the same situation he did. His goal to be part of reentry comes from his experience with Alvis

“I had nowhere else to go when I was on parole,” he explains. But Mr. Ross, an Alvis operations manager, told him, “we are going to give you all the opportunity in the world to succeed and see what you do with it.”

Community programs such as Touch have also reached him in life-changing ways, and Drake jokes his praise is so strong, “they will have to pay me for a commercial.”

But Drake has seen what a true support system can do for a person. “CPT, Primary Care Solutions Agency, the Nehemiah House, Refuge—organizations and groups like this, people like this, they helped me to want to do the right thing by showing that ‘I believe you can make it.’”

After seeing the difference such programs have made in the lives of others, Drake believes this is his calling. “I want to be able to make a significant influence,” he says. “What you do for somebody else can be grand if you are truly helping them move from one point to another. And that’s what I try to live by.”

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

5 Steps to Healthy Living

It’s no surprise to anyone that sitting five days a week in a nine to five job takes a toll on your health. Being pulled in a million different directions also makes it hard for a person in modern-day society to make their health a priority. Through healthy eating and incorporated exercise, read on to learn how to make healthy happen in this crazy busy life!

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  1. Pay attention to your posture Since the beginning of time, we have all been nagged by our grandmothers to sit up straight. We all subconsciously know the value of good posture. But do you know what good posture means? Well, for starters, your computer screen should be an arm’s length away from you, and the top of your monitor should be level with your forehead. Your elbows should be bent at your side at a right angle. Your hips and knees should also be at right angles when sitting. Your feet should lay fat on the floor. To read more about good posture at a desk job, click here.
  2. Move when you can Taking the stairs instead of the elevator can make you feel more awake and raise your heartrate. Standing when doing mundane tasks in your office can increase blood flow. Going to the gym during your lunch break can invigorate you for the rest of your workday. All of these activities are simple steps in adding movement to your day!
  3. Meal Prepping Every Instagram model has boasted of her super successful meal prepping journey. It may shock you to hear this, but she might have the right idea. Meal prepping can make weekday meals easier and less stressful for you and your family. If you are a person who cannot eat the same thing every night for a week, try meal prepping roasted vegetables or other healthy sides. Taking at least a little stress out of your food preparation can help you to feel more in control.
  4. Pack your lunch Everyone tells you to pack your lunch, but buying Chipotle during your lunch break is just so much easier. And often, the easier choice is the most difficult to avoid. To make improvements to your health, however, you must choose to path less traveled. After all, putting effort into things you want to change is the only way to get it accomplished. 
  5. Time manage your workouts Working out during the week seems outright impossible. We suggest, however, that you plan out your workouts in your planner! When you force yourself to carve out the time to work out, you are so much more compelled to actually follow through with it.

Although everything is easier said than done, we believe that small steps in the right direction are better than no progress at all. In terms of healthy living, it can be an entire lifestyle change. By pushing yourself to make tiny changes every day, you can start on your track to a healthy life.

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.

World Smile Day

World Smile Day Alvis Blog

Happy World Smile Day! Today is an opportunity to spread kindness, positivity, and compassion toward others through the simple act of smiling. In making the world a happier place, we can also make ourselves happier. And if you weren’t already smiling from discovering that today is World Smile Day, you may want to smile even bigger after reading this blog post for National Smile Day.

There’s two days of the year that we get to celebrate the power of the smile! However, today is probably even more of an occasion, because it unites the entire world. Alvis is committed to improving lives, and while many of our clients have gone through true struggle and hardship, our goal is to leave them with the means to make a positive impact on themselves, their families, and their community.

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

National 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.

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 Grandparents Day

National Grandparents Day Alvis Blog

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

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

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

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

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

International Day of Charity

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are Alvis


Who We Are

Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency serving over 10,000 people in 40+ locations all across the state of Ohio. Our client populations include individuals with justice involvement, significant barriers to employment, developmental disabilities, and integrated behavioral healthcare needs. We also serve families, especially children, impacted by their loved ones’ justice involvement, developmental disability or behavioral healthcare concerns.

Our tagline is 180 Degree Impact, because our aim is to help clients turn around their lives by 180 Degrees. We believe a person’s potential is more important than their past, and we envision a future when communities believe this, too.

Community Reentry

Here at Alvis, individuals with justice involvement are able to go to residential reentry centers, and are offered alcohol and drug addiction treatment, workforce development programs, family and children’s programming, mentoring, and transitional education programs. We also offer services for survivors of human trafficking. Recovery and reentry are two universal goals of our programs, along with education and employability. Every reentry location differs in terms of the services that it offers.

We offer a plethora of services for clients at each of our locations, so clients are able to receive the programming that applies to their specific concerns.

An example of one of these specific services is our POWER (Partnering Organizations for Wellness, Empowerment, and Recovery) Program. The men in this program are undergo recovery from addiction disorders, and they receive holistic, evidence-based treatment, entailing court supervision and support with medication assisted treatment (primarily Vivitrol), counseling, and behavioral therapies. Graduates of the program not only appreciate the newfound hope that they attain, but also the supportive, caring staff who help them on their journeys to recovery. Listen to their stories here.

Many of our clients are involved in multiple different programs at our locations, and sometimes one client will have concerns that require multiple levels of services. One former client, Chris, demonstrates the 180 Degree Impact that clients can make in their lives, and also their communities, as he’s taken advantage of the many different resources that we offer at our Jackson Pike location.

Integrated Behavioral Healthcare

Our Recovery Choices Program provides individualized assessment and treatment, group counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and relapse prevention and aftercare. The Amethyst program, recently acquired by Alvis in 2017, provides integrated behavioral healthcare and housing to women with children in central Ohio who struggle with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders. It is one of the few treatment programs for women in the nation that allow moms to live with their minor children, and it specifically works to reunite and strengthen families. Every woman at Amethyst is given a treatment plan, which includes individual and group therapy, counseling, medication-assisted treatment, as well as connections to outside resources, such as job training classes, education courses, legal advice, and weekly community meetings, and other efforts to help women find the path to recovery and reunification with their communities. Children, likewise, are also given proper care and learning plans (such as IEPs) to ensure that they are getting optimal services. SummerQuest is a program designed specifically for children of the moms at Amethyst, and it aims to provide children with a summer camp experience after school lets out, so their mothers can focus on treatment.

Person-Centered & Professional

One commonality across all of our programs is that staff here are dedicated, qualified professionals who truly care about clients. This is evident in the day-to-day interactions that staff, like our encouraging DSPs, provide to our clients with developmental disabilities, and our amazing leadership. Genuine happiness and love is shown between clients and staff at our various celebrations, such as the Amethyst graduation, and the Smart Cookie Awards, which is part of a celebration held in the summer for individuals involved with our Family and Children’s Program. Alvis is mission driven, and our programs are person-centered.

We are leaders. We are innovators. We care. We are Alvis.

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

Labor Day

Happy Labor Day! The first Monday in September, Labor Day, celebrates the American worker, allowing us all to recognize the significant strides, achievements, and contributions that Americans have made in their vocations. It also celebrates America itself, and the prosperity and strength that we have cultivated from our workforce.

Alvis makes an effort to show that it values its employees on a daily basis. Our talented, passionate staff, such as psychiatrists, therapists, and family case managers, work face-to-face with clients to ensure that integrated behavioral healthcare is being appropriately provided, while treating clients from an evidence-based, medically-informed perspective. Staff members in corrections and reentry centers provide clients with resources throughout the day. Specifically, staff also help with developing job training skills, teaching classes, and providing compassionate support to help clients in their efforts to turn their lives around, one step at a time. Our staff, such as home managers and DSPs, who work with clients that have developmental disabilities (DD), offer resources and individualized support to DD clients. Finally, at Stella, branches from accounting and finances, to HR and communications, through their distinctive functions, prove that helping others change their lives can be done in an variety of different ways.

When celebrating Independence Day, we also noted the strides that our nation has made in promoting reentry services, and ways that our nation needs to continue progressing in order to better achieve a system that values a person more than his or her past. We observe Labor Day specifically through a vocational lens, allowing us to look at what and how Alvis is making an impact in our community and overall nation. 79% of clients who complete an Alvis residential reentry program do not return to prison, and we are more affordable to the taxpayer than places of incarceration. These are two facts that we are proud of, but we are most proud of the individuals, whose stories, strength, and desire to contribute to their community touch us on a daily basis.

We hope that this Labor Day serves as a means to reinvigorate and recharge employees and workers across America, so that we may all contribute to bettering our country!

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

National Recovery Month

National Recovery Month Alvis Blog

Today marks the beginning of National Recovery Month! Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), this month is designed to spread awareness and understanding of mental health, substance use, and co-occurring behavioral health disorders, as well as people living and recovering from these disorders.

SAMHSA is an agency within the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS), that advocates for advancements in behavioral health for the nation and improvements in lives of those living with mental and substance use disorders, and their families

Alvis, especially as of late, has been moving toward a behavioral healthcare model, offering billing through Medicaid and in-house psychiatry services providing medication and diagnoses. In-house services allow for better communication and higher quality service to clients from professionals who know the population of Alvis well. The current behavioral healthcare services at Alvis allow clients to receive optimal treatment in an empathetic, understanding environment.

We also have two programs primarily focusing behavioral health: Recovery Choices and the Amethyst program. Recovery Choices serves clients with past justice system involvement, as they receive transportation from halfway houses to reentry centers, where they take job training courses, receive counseling and individualized treatment plans, and have the opportunity to attain their GED, take university classes, and participate in activities with their family. The Amethyst program also offers many of the services that Recovery Choices provides, but it specifically serves women and their children, allowing them to live together on-site as they receive person-centered, trauma-informed care in a supportive setting, using evidence-based procedures.

NAADAC perhaps puts it best, when they claim that the main purpose of National Recovery Month is to celebrate “gains” that individuals with mental health or substance use disorders have made. We take this month to celebrate both small and large wins that our clients and former clients have made in taking ahold of their life and turning it around, 180 degrees for the better!

Addiction is an illness, and many times, addiction and behavioral health are co-occurring, which means that they are linked to the development of one another. Alvis has been a leader, not only in Ohio, but the entire nation, in addressing the very real pervasiveness of addiction and behavioral health disorders, as well as the need to provide resources to individuals and families affected by addiction and behavioral health disorders.

We celebrate those who have found the strength to ask for help and begin the process of changing their life for the better, as well as those (including thousands of our former clients!) who have done so.

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

National 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.

Alvis Spotlight: Chris Mullen

Alvis employee spotlight on Chris Mullen Alvis blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons Alvis Blog Post

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

The following paragraph consists of information from the United Nations:

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

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

Alvis stands with survivors and current victims of human trafficking. A percentage of our clients are survivors of human trafficking, and we house some of them in our CHAT House, which is specifically designated to provide reentry services for women who have been caught in the system of human trafficking. There are also a portion of human trafficking survivors enrolled in our Amethyst program. Many of these women are graduates of the CATCH Court, which is a creation of Judge Paul Herbert that focuses on rehabilitation and reentry services for women trafficking survivors.

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

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

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

National Parent’s Day

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Alvis Wellness 180 Club

Alvis Wellness 180 Club Foundations of Fitness blog post

Alvis’ Wellness 180 Club

Two weeks ago, Alvis had an exciting kickoff event for its new Wellness 180 Club, which sponsors events that encourage general healthiness and wellbeing, such as wellness lunches and upcoming challenges. For example, July’s challenge is a hydration challenge—employees are encouraged to drink 64 oz of water (8 cups) daily for the entirety of the month! The club is designed to encourage wellness amidst the daily demands of life and work, eligible for both full and part-time employees.

Events typically happen monthly. The kickoff event for the Wellness 180 Club occurred on June 14th, and centered on stretches that can be done in the workplace to combat common aches and pains that can come from prolonged deskbound time, such as stiff backs and joints. There was also a drawing, and two winners received free year-long memberships to Planet Fitness.

The Wellness 180 Club is made possible through the Alvis insurance provider, Anthem. For a more holistic viewpoint of our insurance and various benefits (there are many) to employees, click here.

We look forward to the next Wellness 180 Club Event: a lunch and learn on August 22nd, which includes a professionally guided group exercise class focused on safe and proper forms of fundamental fitness exercises.

Alvis genuinely cares about our employees’ physical and mental wellbeing, as we simultaneously prioritize the wellbeing of our clients.

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 Insurance Awareness Day

National Insurance Awareness Day

Happy National Insurance Awareness Day! The largest group of uninsured people are young, working-aged adults under 35 years of age, which has grown since 2016. According to a 2017 report done by the United States Census Bureau, 8.8% of Americans lack health insurance coverage (28.5 million) and private health coverage is more prevalent amongst Americans (67.2%) than government-provided coverage. 56% of Americans are covered with employer-based health insurance.

Alvis offers private, employer-based health insurance, and on June 28th, we’d like to highlight the many perks and benefits that we provide employees through our insurance package.

Most benefits are available for full-time employees at Alvis, and their legal spouse, domestic partner, dependent children up to age 26, and unmarried children lacking means of self-support due to physical and mental disabilities.

Medical insurance consists of 3 possible plans. One of these plans includes an H.S.A. account, in which Alvis contributes $20 per pay to help with out-of-pocket expenses. Dental insurance and vision insurance each offer 2 different plans. Each of these benefits is at shared cost between Alvis and employees. Basic group life insurance, basic accidental death and dismemberment, and long-term disability insurance is covered completely by Alvis. Short-term disability coverage, in addition to accident, critical illness, and hospital indemnity coverage is employee-paid. A 401(k) profit sharing plan, provided by Ameritas, includes a combination of employee and employer contributions that go directly to the employee for retirement. Alvis contributes 3% into the plan each pay period.

Allstate and Anthem are providers for Alvis’ insurance benefits. Anthem, in particular, offers lots of discounts, in regards to vision and hearing, fitness and health, family and home, and medicine and treatment.

In addition to the listed benefits, however, Alvis offers so much more. Through Anthem, counseling, legal advice, financial planning, and identity theft victim recovery services are among the items offered to employees, who are given access to an on-call, 24/7 Resource Advisor, who links employees to support, advice, and contact with licensed professionals. Also covered by Anthem is LiveHealth Online, which offers a similar 24/7 resource that allows for Alvis employees to speak to a licensed doctor, who can diagnose non-emergent conditions and prescribe medication (i.e., pink eye or bronchitis).

Health and wellness programs are also offered online through Anthem, which include resources allowing for future moms to get advice from registered nurses, smartphone apps tracking benefits and wellness, and video visits with nurses and physicians.

Alvis itself has a Wellness 180 Club. The Wellness 180 Club sponsors events that encourage general healthiness and wellbeing, such as wellness lunches and upcoming challenges. The club is designed to encourage wellness amidst the daily demands of life and work, eligible for both full and part-time employees.

This is just an overview (a truly broad overview) of the offerings within the Alvis insurance package. Other perks related to Alvis employment include COESRA discounts on movie tickets, shopping, theme parks, hotels, and similar items, as well as a Verizon discount, free training classes and CEU hours, a management development program, brown bag lunches, and the #OneAlvis newsletter detailing upcoming events and opportunities for discounts and benefits available to Alvis employees. Alvis also offers vacation and paid sick time.

As we strive to help clients make their own lives better, we put that same commitment into our community of employees 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.

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.

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.

National Mental Health Awareness Month Fast Facts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alvis 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.

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month Spotlight


Trip to NY City to see the Yankees

Since March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, we wanted to enter spring with a celebration of those in this community both within Alvis and across the nation. This month of awareness first began in 1987 with President Ronald Reagan; in the ‘70s and ‘80s, our country went through a deinstitutionalization movement that promoted great social change, prompting Americans to provide those with developmental disabilities with the resources for success. Today, over 5 million Americans are estimated to have a developmental disability and this term, as defined by the DD Act, refers to a “severe, chronic disability that occurs before an individual is 22 that is likely to continue indefinitely, and results in substantial functional limitations in three or more areas of major life activity” (NACDD). These areas include self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, and economic self-sufficiency. These conditions typically require the individual to live with assistance, and we commend those who are a part of this community for seeking out the support they need to succeed. 

Though there may be some stigma still surrounding those in the DD community, we at Alvis feel that it is time to blow this stigma out of the water. Through a variety of programs and resources, those in this community are now more equipped than ever to lead healthy lifestyles. Living with developmental disabilities is never a one-size-fits-all experience. Conditions that qualify as a DD can include autism, muscular dystrophy, learning disorders, attention deficit disorder, and many more. You can learn more about these conditions here

This week, we were fortunate to speak with our Managing Director of Developmental Disability services, Sandra Allen. Sandy has been with Alvis for ten years and has used her background in mental health and disability services to work with clients in the Columbus DD community. Through our supported living services to our intermediate care facilities to our Behavior Support Unit, we here at Alvis are committed to improving the lives of those through behavior-based programs so they can become integrated with the community. Our intermediate care facility currently serves 15 individuals and is aimed at equipping clients with the skills and resources to live in the community in a less restrictive environment. This program is based on skill building and has a cognitive focus. Being able to change the thought processes of our clients is the first step to them being able to live a more free, positive lifestyle. From therapy to finance management to medication regulations, our Alvis professionals are there every step of the way. Our supported living program currently serves 44 individuals, and it gives those who are a part of the DD community the ability to live on their own while receiving guidance from our qualified team of DD professionals. We have a couple of individuals in these programs pursuing a college degree, while some are working to receive a GED.  

#DDAwareness19

Though these programs, we have seen our clients hit huge milestones; whether they are riding the bus alone, holding a steady job, or becoming involved in romantic relationships, we are so thankful that we could be a part of their journey to success. In the future, Sandy would love to have volunteers become involved with these programs to help Alvis clients expand their skillsets and add to their activity options. If you or anyone you know might be interested in volunteering to help our DD clients, please contact our Intern and Volunteer Manager at Margaret.Seguin@alvis180.org! 

To be a successful DD professional, Sandy says that those in the field should be dedicated to caring about their clients and be invested in their success. Since this is not the most “cookie cutter” situation, she says that you have to be empathetic to their struggles and be willing to learn how we can make it better for them and the community. The end goal of all DD professionals is to help their clients create a life that they truly want to live and will have fun living. It is extremely important that they invest in their future and that we find out what motivates them. Through a multitude of events like the Harmony Project, Special Olympics, Bingo Night, bible study, and excursions all over the country; our DD professionals are sure to help our clients celebrate their successes, no matter how big or small. They see our clients as family. As Sandy said, “We need to work ourselves out of the job, we want to serve others that need us and celebrate those that don’t  need us anymore”. We thank those like Sandy in this field for all that they do, and celebrate those in the DD community for their commitment to their mission towards a better life.  

The Harmony Project

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

Black History Month: Fast Facts

Here at Alvis, we like to celebrate diversity in all aspects and walks of life. Each February, we recognize African American excellence in honor of Black History Month. Americans have now been commemorating black history for almost 100 years, beginning with “Negro History Week” in 1926. Negro History Week was created by Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard-educated historian who hoped to raise awareness about the contributions of African Americans to society during a time of great prejudice. Woodson was the child of former slaves and his strong will allowed him to overcome adversity. He left Kentucky coal mines at age 20 to enroll in high school. He completed the high school curriculum in just two years and continued in school until he received his Ivy League Ph.D. Throughout his course of study, he became increasingly aware of the lack of African American experiences being detailed in history books. For the most part, the black community was ignored by historians and when African American history was included, it tended to reflect period society’s racially intolerant view that African Americans were somehow inherently inferior. 

To combat this, Woodson ambitiously established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) in 1915 and made it his responsibility to write African Americans into his country’s history. The following year, he founded the Journal of Negro History. The publication came to be widely respected across the nation. 

Though he was finding great success in his quest to educate and inform, Woodson wanted to continue making leaps for the African American community. In 1926, he and his organization announced Negro History Week. It was first celebrated in the second week of February which encompassed both Abraham Lincoln’s and Frederick Douglass’s birthdays. The creation of the event was received so positively by the public that it began igniting social change all over the country. Black history clubs were formed, educators began demanding changes in curricula, and progressive whites publicly supported ASNLH’s efforts. They also encouraged their more conservative counterparts to do the same.

Over the following 20 years, Negro History Week became a widely celebrated event and was a touchstone for substantial progress in race relations in American culture. By the time of Woodson’s death in 1950, mayors across the nation were declaring their support for Negro History Week.  

The 1960s brought the Black Awakening, which was pivotal in highlighting the importance of black history to all Americans, regardless of color during the transformative Civil Rights movement. Finally, in 1976, 50 years after the first “Negro History Week,” President Gerald Ford extended the celebration to span the full month of February.  The President encouraged Americans to “Seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” By this time, the vast majority of Americans understood the importance of black history and how integral it has been in the creation and telling of America’s true story.  The ASNLH, now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, has stayed true to its mission to educate the public about African American history 365 days a year.

For more famous factoids about rich history of African Americans in the United States, check out this article from History.com! Be sure to stay tuned all month long as we celebrate different examples of African American excellence in our Alvis community and across the nation. Up next week: a spotlight profile of Keith Stevens, Chair, Alvis Board of Trustees!

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.

Blog post written by Marketing & PR Intern, Paige McKirahan


Mentoring Month Spotlight: The Whats and Whens of Having a Mentor


Whether you are a young student looking for guidance or an established adult in search of the same, using a mentor can provide inspiration and a safe space for you to grow without judgement. Though mentors can be used in a variety of different settings, their central function is essentially the same: to guide you to becoming your best self through a strong partnership. If this sounds like something you may need, you may be wondering where to find a mentor. These guides can be found in anyone you identify with in relation to your current struggles, from hardships in the office to battles with addiction. It is extremely important for these advising minds to cultivate positive relationships with their mentee, and for them to be friendly, knowledgeable, and committed to their success. According to Mentor.com, young, at-risk adults who have had mentors are 55% more likely to enroll in college and 78% more likely to be regular volunteers. Of those with mentors, 90% were interested in also becoming a mentor and 130% are more likely to hold leadership positions. Having more than one mentor can be beneficial to provide guidance in multiple facets of life; and this mentorship can be crucial to one’s personal improvements.

Now that we know a little bit about mentorship and its general importance, let’s examine what exactly these mentors do. In short, they generously lend their knowledge, wisdom, insight, and counsel to those experiencing challenges that the mentor is familiar with. The invaluable skills and lessons they teach can greatly alter the journeys of those they are helping, and they generally are able to see areas in their mentee’s lives where there is room for some sort of improvement. They function to offer helpful encouragement, keep the spark, and push for confidence from their mentees. They also commonly create reasonable boundaries and goals for their mentees as they have typically been in their shoes at one point or another. They have the experience to ensure that the mistakes made in the past will not be made again, shifting the mentee’s focus on how to prioritize and formulate strategies surrounding their growth. This can facilitate positive personal advancement, giving the mentor and mentee both a chance to celebrate their achievements.

So, when do people use mentors? Whenever they need outside direction! You may have already had someone like this in your life without even realizing their impact, whether it be a family member, teacher, or professional colleague. Many people use mentors when they are confronted with an unfamiliar situation that seems impossible to navigate on their own. Business people in new positions, students needing academic guidance, those in recovery needing a pillar of strength, and many others find solace in knowing that mentors are available to them when they feel the challenges they are facing are insurmountable. Stars from Oprah Winfrey to Clint Eastwood have even spoken fondly of their times with mentors, and claim that encouragement from these sources early in their lives contributed immensely to their long-term success. If you’re interested in becoming a mentor, you have many options regardless of your age, lifestyle, or profession.

After speaking to Harry Cox, who has experience in the mentoring community, it is evident why the practice is so important to both these guiding hands and those they are advising. He works with three separate mentorship companies, including working with first generation college students as well as working with his nonprofit benefitting the elderly. He ultimately helps thousands of people annually through mentorship opportunities. He meets with people daily and with groups of up to 16 individuals for him to support. Getting his mentees to open up “their can of worms,” be comfortable, and be willing to work with him is crucial to their growth. He is so dedicated to their success that offers his resources to his mentees as often as necessary. He himself was brought through Alvis following release from incarceration and credits a mentor from an Alvis program as being crucial in helping him to completely change his life. His mentor told him that you need to be able to separate your wants from your needs and he challenged him to find 90 organizations in 90 days to support those needs. Since then, Harry has used these resources to obtain his Master’s Degree and various other certifications. He credits his mentor with his great success today.

With those seeking peer mentorship following to incarceration, it is important for their mentors to be aware of the trauma associated with this experience.  In order to reach self-actualization, he says, “Mentors need to help them become resilient.” Mentors should look at their personal experiences and how they directly relate to their mentees, showing how they can overcome barriers based upon the way they personally worked through them. To Harry, mentorship is putting away personal vices in order to help a person ultimately get where they intend to go. It is about individuals and dedication to fulfilling their needs. Harry also feels that mentors can be any age because wisdom and knowledge knows no bounds.  He believes a person can learn just as much from a 15-year-old as they could from an 80-year-old.

No one should feel ashamed about seeking outside help through mentors or through other types of supportive programming.  At Alvis, we encourage everyone at any stage of life to care for their personal, mental, and professional health in the most efficient way that their lifestyle permits. We celebrate mentors for all that they do, and praise those aware enough of their own struggles for reaching out and utilizing this great resource.

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

Human Trafficking Awareness: Things to Know

Dana Jackson, CHAT Clinical Program Manager

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The First Step Act

A bipartisan solution to the opioid epidemic

When a parent sees their child take their first steps, it is milestone that fills them with pride and joy. Those first steps lead to many other firsts throughout the child’s life. But infants are not the only ones who take momentous first steps. In a continuing effort to tackle the opioid crisis, the United States is taking its first steps toward new approaches to address this deadly epidemic and acknowledge that addiction is a disease that cannot be cured by locking a person up. 

The First Step Act is new federal legislation designed to help people who are involved in the justice system to obtain treatment for their addiction rather than simply imprisoning them. Signed into law by President Trump in December 2018, the First Step Act is a truly bipartisan piece of legislation with widespread support. It passed the Senate with a vote of 87-12 and the House approved the Senate’s version of the bill with a 358-36 vote. It provides incentives and programs so federal inmates receive treatment and tools to address their addiction. Addiction deserves the care, treatment and attention provided to other diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. Addiction is deadly. Ohio alone loses an average of 38 people daily to opioid overdoses.

But why should someone who has never been involved with the criminal justice system or opioids be concerned with these kinds of first steps? The long and short of it is that this could be closer to home than you think. Of the 321 million people living in the U.S. in 2015, an estimated two million  – one in every 160 people – were addicted to opioids. The possibility that you personally know someone in the throes of addiction is high. It could be your neighbor, coworker, friend or even a family member. Watching your child take their first steps into toddlerhood can be stressful as a parent. Similarly, if you personally know someone who has battled addiction and justice involvement, then you understand its devastating toll.

Beyond personal connections and its potential to save lives, the First Step Act is also expected to reduce the risk that someone in the justice system due to addiction will return to prison. That will result in significant savings to taxpayers who will no longer have to bear the $33,274 average cost per inmate per year. This adds up to millions of dollars in savings each year.

Decades of experience have shown that our nation cannot arrest our way out of the opioid epidemic. Today, the federal government is taking critical first steps to ensuring that the individuals in our justice system who need treatment for addiction are able to receive it. In doing so, they look to the positive experiences from programs like Alvis’ Recovery Choices. When combined with accountability and programs to address justice involvement, such as Alvis’ Reentry Programs, there is a proven track record of reducing the likelihood that a person will relapse into addiction and return to the justice system.

Everyone has a story. Some people just need to be given the opportunity and tools to take their first steps to change their story and begin their journey to full and productive lives. For more stories about lives changed by Alvis, please click here.

This blog post was primarily written by Douglas Lamont, Alvis Communications Intern, January 2019.

Addiction catches up to Jamie

December 18, 2018

Addiction catches up to Jamie

Growing up in an unstable home, Jamie developed an addiction to drugs as a way to cope with her pain. Her addiction caught up with her when she was pulled over with drugs in her car. 

“It was the first time I’d been in trouble. First felony,” says Jamie.  Her 5 year old daughter was also in the car when she got stopped, resulting in her daughter’s immediate placement into foster care.  Jamie was left feeling helpless and hopeless.  

It became a turning point for her and it was the beginning of Alvis’ 180 degree impact on Jamie’s life.  Because when she went to court, the judge said that Jamie could go to the Alvis program and complete treatment as an alternative to going to prison.

Jamie arrived at Alvis in July of 2018.  Over the next four months, she participated in treatment services, trauma counseling, workforce development programming and more.  Along with her two older daughters who were living with other family members, Jamie also completed the Family and Children’s Program.  This is a specialized treatment program that helps to reconnect, rebuild and strengthen families torn apart by addiction and justice involvement. 

The stable living environment that Alvis provided her and the counseling and support she received from staff turned out to be the change Jamie needed.  “I completed all programming in four months,” said Jamie.  Alvis also helped to connect her to sober housing that is close to her family in Wooster, so that when she was discharged from Alvis, she still had support for her new way of life.

Jamie’s story isn’t complete yet, but because of Alvis and her commitment to sober living, the odds for success are in her favor. She is working to regain custody of her youngest daughter, has secured employment, and has a whole new outlook on life.

Alvis was able to help Jamie change her story thanks to the investment of others in our programs and services.  You can join them and help to change one more story before the end of the year.  Please consider donating to Alvis today and giving one more person the tools they need to turn their life around by 180 degrees.

Rachel turns her life around

October 10, 2018

Thanks to Amethyst, an Alvis recovery program, Rachel has been clean and sober for more than 3 years.

Rachel turns her life around

When you look at Rachel today, she looks like a typical adult student at Columbus State who’s juggling parenting, employment and classes.  What you can’t see is the trauma she’s worked through in order to be where she’s at in her life today.

Growing up, Rachel witnessed physical abuse, parental drug use, and much more that anyone so young should have seen.  At 15, she went into foster care. By the time she started her senior year in high school, she was old enough to leave the foster care system and was able to begin living with a generous woman from her church. School had become a bright spot and a source of accomplishment. Rachel lettered in four varsity sports.

But the emotional pain that had been with her throughout her young life was crippling.  She met someone who introduced her to hallucinogenic mushrooms and she believed that it helped her to cope – for a time. Within five years, Rachel was doing heroin as well as smoking pot and drinking. Because she was unable to hold a job, she relied on theft and other nonviolent criminal activity to pay for her habits.  

As a result of her justice involvement, Rachel ended up in drug court. She went in and out of treatment a few times and was able to put together a few months of sobriety here and there. But the treatment she had just wasn’t enough to help Rachel work through the trauma of her childhood. When she was hurting, she returned to old friends, bad habits, and places that led to relapses. Finally, when she ended up in a shelter in June 2015, Rachel hit her bottom and felt ready to go to the Amethyst program.

When Rachel arrived to the Amethyst program, she began an intensive treatment program. This includes classes, trauma counselors, group therapy and other therapeutic activities designed to address behavioral healthcare needs, such as substance abuse and trauma. The dedicated and caring staff finally broke through Rachel’s carefully constructed defenses.  One day, she just screamed all of her pain and frustration out while sitting in her car in a parking lot. It was the beginning of Rachel’s new life.

Today, Rachel is in the “Community” phase of the Amethyst program. In this phase, clients are furthering their education, working, parenting, and learning to be productive members of their community.  Rachel is living with her daughters in Amethyst’s recovery housing, and applies what she’s learned in the many sessions of parenting classes. Her children are in counseling and programming at Amethyst which is designed to help them heal from their own trauma.  They also participate in a range of prevention programming to reduce the risk that they will become addicted in the future.

Today, thanks to Amethyst, an Alvis recovery program, Rachel and her daughters are a family again. Rachel has over three years of continuous sobriety. She is also taking classes to learn to become a trauma counselor and wants to help others heal, just as she was helped to heal.  Best of all, Rachel and her children have a bright future because she committed to being a part of the Amethyst program’s community of recovery rather than just attending a treatment program.

The Basics are a BIG Deal


Give to Alvis’ Back To School Backpack Drive

The Basics are a BIG Deal

Education or Incarceration. Which would you choose?

CLICK HERE TO GIVE TODAY!

Education is the single most effective weapon against incarceration. Sadly, as the new school year approaches, as many as 700 children of Alvis clients face a tremendous obstacle to their education. They lack basic tools to achieve their full potential.

You can help remove this obstacle by providing a child with a new backpack full of school supplies. These basic tools are the fundamental first step to improving their chances for success.

A donation of $30, $60, or $150 is all it takes to choose education and change a life.

Education is the most effective weapon against incarceration. Give to the Alvis Back To School Backpack Drive

You can break the cycle. Studies have proven that when kids have school supplies of their own, classroom behavior and grades improve, self-esteem strengthens and kids develop better attitudes toward school and learning. Transforming not just their own lives but changing the pattern in their families and communities.  

Your donation will give children a chance to start the school year better prepared. Thank you in advance for giving them the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Tracy Kirby: An Alvis Success Story

May 21, 2018

“Change is possible” is the message Tracy Kirby lives by every day.

Tracy Kirby: An Alvis Success Story

Tracy was told that change is possible, but he didn’t believe it until he had been sentenced to prison, served nine years, and found his faith again. Then, he emerged a new man.  Growing up in the multicultural streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in a single parent house hold, Tracy found ways in which he could be a kid despite his environment.  “Kids forget to be kids” and holding onto those memories of just being a kid is an important value that to this day he instills in his own family. 

Tracy’s grandparents were major influences in his life and helped shape him into the man he is.   Both were heavily involved in church. His grandfather was a minister and his grandmother was a Sunday school teacher.  They taught him how to appreciate everything he had and to respect his elders. The “old school principles” eventually came back to him after witnessing the death of a fellow inmate.  “You don’t want to be like this,” filled Tracy’s thoughts.  Then, he began looking deeper into reasons that led to his incarceration.  He had always resented his absent father but ultimately came to the realization that, “He didn’t put me in prison, I put me in here.  Everyone is struggling and trying to get it right.”  For Tracy, like many others, the process of reentry into the community began by addressing the underlying internal issues. As thoughts and behaviors change, external changes will follow.  While incarcerated, Tracy completed 30 different programs. In doing so, he was able to reduce his sentence by two years. More importantly, he learned new ways of doing things and new skills for living.   

Tracy came to Alvis on July 3, 2010 and said, “It was the happiest day of my life.  Alvis gave me my life back.”  He learned how to be accountable for his actions, he practiced humility, and he took to heart the importance of time management.  The support he received from the staff and from his case manager, Joy Greer, was particularly inspirational and helped Tracy to believe, “Change is possible.”  He also came to believe that in order to get to the top, you have to start at the bottom and work your way up.  After Tracy’s first week at Alvis, he began working as a dishwasher at Bob Evans.  Tracy has found that being honest about his past has been a big factor in his employment success.  “Having a felony doesn’t limit your opportunities, if you have the right attitude.”  With the help of his case manager, Tracy also became one of the first Alvis clients to get married while still in treatment. 

Today, Tracy works as a chef at Coopers Hawk and is a motivational speaker for others who are struggling with addiction and reentry.   Tracy credits his success to his recommitment to God and everyone who supported him.  He is especially grateful to his wife Angela; his four children, Michael, Destiny, Kelly and Ashanti; and his grandchildren, Dariana and Kaveion.  “Them giving me love, allowed me to love back,” said Tracy.  “They have played a huge role in my recovery and new life.” 

Tracy Kirby is a living testament to the fact that by changing internally, external changes will follow. Reentry can be difficult, but it is not a road anyone has to travel alone. For Tracy, Alvis and its caring staff provided the tools and support he needed to begin doing the work to turn his life around.

Molly Rapp, Communications Intern, is the primary author of this article.

In Celebration of Reentry Week: How Alvis is helping individuals overcome their past justice involvement

April 25, 2018

Effective reentry is essential for safer, thriving communities

In Celebration of Reentry Week: How Alvis is helping individuals overcome their past justice involvement

In the United States, roughly 1.7 million people are currently in state and federal prisons.  Millions more are on probation, on parole, or are cycling through local jail systems. More than 95% of all the individuals in jail or prison will return to the community.  Life after prison is an enormous challenge:  justice involvement impacts the likelihood of being hired, being able to get housing, and much more. Reentry programs (or lack thereof) make the difference between a person successfully transitioning back to the community as a law-abiding citizen or committing a new crime and reenters the justice system.

Effective reentry programs, like Alvis, use evidence-informed practices to provide support and to work with individuals and get to the root of why they became involved in the justice system. In a majority of cases, justice involved individuals need treatment services to turn their lives around. More than 80% of justice-involved individuals have substance abuse treatment needs and about 40% have mental health treatment needs.

Therefore, Alvis provides a range of treatment programs. Based on each client’s assessed needs, we create a program plan designed to address individualized needs and help that individual to turn his/her life around.  Research has shown that by changing the way our clients think, how they address problems, and to have healthy relationships, our clients will be able to lead more successful lives.

Effective reentry programs are essential in building safer, thriving communities. Each time a person returns to prison, the result is devastating – and not just for that person.  It costs our society an estimated $118,000.**  In addition, each person with justice involvement has a family and lives in a community that will be affected by the loss of  that person’s contributions to their family and community.  

Children are some of the most invisible victims of a parent’s justice involvement.   “Losing a parent to justice involvement is different and more difficult for children than it is to lose a parent to divorce or even death,” says Denise Robinson, Alvis President and CEO.  “People are empathetic when a child’s parents are going through a divorce. School counselors will reach out to a child whose parent passed away. A child whose parent is justice involved has the same emotional shock as a child who has been separated from a parent for other reasons, but they are also ashamed and isolated.” 

So in addition to the programming Alvis provides for individuals, we also have a Family and Children’s Program.  This program helps reconnect families through educational parenting and coping classes to help rebuild the relationship between the parent and the children.

The people Alvis serves are some of the most vulnerable and misunderstood citizens among us.  Our clients cannot will away or punish away their addiction or their disability any more than a person can will away heart disease.  But with the right tools, they can change the direction of their lives toward a bright future. 

Alvis is proud to have a range of evidence-informed and data-driven reentry programs which address individual, family and community challenges.  Most importantly, our programs are effective: Three years after completing our residential program, 79% of our clients were successful in staying out of the criminal justice system.  This compares to a national success rate of just 56%. 

Circumstances bring people to Alvis. It is our mission and purpose to make a 180 degree impact on their lives, so they leave Alvis with the knowledge and tools they need to create a successful future for themselves, their families and our entire community. 

Notes:

**An Illinois study determined that victimization, system, and economic costs average $118,746 per instance of recidivism.  The full report is available at: http://www.icjia.state.il.us/spac/pdf/Illinois_Results_First_1015.pdf

Rev. Foster, whose picture accompanies this article,was profiled in an earlier Alvis Blog.  Click here to read it.

Gloria Iannucci, Sr. Director, Communications, and Molly Rapp, Communications Intern, are the authors of this blog post.

Shannon’s Alvis story

Shannon, a self-described soccer mom, was just trying to be the perfect mother.

Editor’s note: This story first appeared on “Life at Alvis” in March 2018, shortly after Shannon completed the Alvis program. Now, over a year later, Shannon continues to live in recovery and her life, while still not perfect, is full and fulfilling for her and her family.

Shannon's Alvis story

Shannon and Phillip have been together since high school.  In the 16 years they’ve been together, they’ve had three children, ages 14, 13 and 10.  Shannon is a self-described soccer mom who was trying to be perfect for her children, each of whom is involved in multiple sports and other activities.  She and Phillip worked full time, but most of the childcare and transportation of the kids to their activities fell to Shannon.

It became harder and harder to keep up with everything, so Shannon started taking Ritalin and Adderall to give her extra energy.  In 2014, her best friend was diagnosed with cancer and passed away shortly thereafter.  In 2016, her mother died after a brief and intense illness. In response to these losses, Shannon began using the Percocet she had been prescribed for back pain to numb her emotional pain so she could keep going and “be there” for her children. 

Shannon never used anything other than prescription pills, so she said she didn’t feel like an addict. But things spiraled out of control and in the fall of 2016, she was arrested and charged with having unlawful prescriptions in her car.  She was sentenced to 14 days in jail and three years of probation.  While on probation, she was unable to leave the pills alone.  Shannon’s addiction had convinced her it wasn’t that bad and she was a better mother with pills.  She said one set of pills gave her the energy she needed to work and take her kids to up to four different activities a night and the other set helped Shannon to keep her emotional pain at bay and prevent her kids from seeing her grief and sadness.

While on supervision, Shannon tested positive for drugs and as a result, she went to prison.  Shannon says that day will be etched in her mind forever as the day she “was ripped out of my kids’ lives.” She also felt certain that it was the end of her relationship with Phillip.

Instead, that day became a turning point.  Phillip didn’t leave. He stepped in and became a single father. He and Shannon worked together to ensure their children didn’t suffer as a result of her absence. Shannon actively participated in programs in prison to address her addiction and the pressures she put on herself to be a perfect mother.

After prison, Shannon transitioned to Alvis, participated in a transitional treatment program that consists of substance abuse treatment, cognitive behavioral treatment, parenting education, workforce development and other services that have been proven to reduce the risk that Shannon will return to the justice system.  Shannon, Phillip and their children also completed the Alvis Family and Children’s program.  This is a specialized program designed to help families heal from the trauma that results from having a parent in the justice system.

“I know my kids were impacted by my behavior,” says Shannon.  “Before, I was there but not there. Sometimes I couldn’t remember conversations and I would nod off. I was late to some of their events because I was getting pills.”  As a result of her time at Alvis, Shannon came to realize that even though her kids didn’t show it, they were hurt and needed their own time and counseling to heal.  Alvis made sure her children got the help they needed, too.

Shannon is grateful for her new perspective.  “I put so much pressure on myself to be perfect. I wrapped my whole life around my kids,” she says. “I hated asking for help back then.  But today I know Phillip is my partner and I don’t have to do everything on my own.”

The time Shannon spent in the justice system was the longest time she had ever been away from her kids. She is determined never be separated from them like that ever again. She took the things she learned at Alvis with her.  “I know I have a lot of making up to do,” says Shannon. “But I also need to make a life for myself so the kids aren’t my whole world. That’s healthy for all of us.”

Thanks to Alvis, Shannon and her family have a bright future ahead of them. It won’t be perfect – but today, Shannon knows that’s okay.

Your support of the Alvis Family and Children’s Program makes stories like Shannon’s have a happy ending.  Thank you.

Gloria Iannucci, Sr. Director, Communications, is the author of this blog post.

Why Alvis matters to me

January 22, 2018

“After a great experience, we wanted to keep volunteering with Alvis.”

Why Alvis matters to me

Lori Robinson-Terry, Insurance/Risk Manager at M/I Homes, has been a volunteer at Alvis for about five years.  She first came to know the agency when, as a new employee at M/I Homes, she was part of a group planning to participate in United Way of Central Ohio’s “Community Care Day,” (now called the Columbus Volunteer Challenge).  Lori and her group came across a project at Alvis to help paint the interior of one of our supported living homes for individuals with developmental disabilities (DD). None of them had heard of Alvis before but the project sounded interesting and like a good group project.

After meeting some Alvis clients and hearing about the agency’s work to turn lives around, Lori and other members of the M/I team decided they wanted to do more with Alvis. During that same year, M/I  was looking for a new “Holiday Cheer” recipient and decided to sponsor the holiday events for all of Alvis’ clients in our DD Services Division.  Working with individual gift lists that included such items a CD player alongside of less traditional items like an unabridged dictionary, the group purchased gifts, helped to fill stockings and volunteered at the party.

In January, a group of DD clients came to M/I to personally thank all of the staff who had contributed to such a great holiday. The client’s energy and enthusiasm was contagious and from that day on, M/I was hooked on helping Alvis clients and began looking for additional ways to become involved.

As the new head of the Employee Activity Committee at M/I Homes, Lori wanted to make the Holiday Cheer program an even bigger event. Lori also was looking for opportunities that provided a personal connection to the people in the program. “Alvis isn’t a big name,” said Lori.  “It’s not an agency that you see on billboard and know is getting a lot of stuff, so for us, it provides a more desirable experience to work with a nonprofit that we can touch and feel.”

In 2014, Alvis began a new program to help parents and children rebuild relationships that have been broken apart by addiction and justice involvement.  Lori and the rest of the M/I team wanted to get in on the ground floor of working with this new program, so they decided to make the Alvis Family and Children’s Program the annual beneficiary of their Holiday Cheer program. Each year, M/I’s involvement in the Family and Children’s Program has grown. For Holiday Cheer, Alvis families are sponsored by one of M/I’s departments. This helps to build the personal connection between one department and one family.  Kids are asked to make a list of one need, one book and one want and mothers also make a list of needs.

In 2017, 52 kids and their families in the Alvis Family and Children’s program were overwhelmed with gifts that surpassed their lists and even their dreams. But the Holiday Cheer program is more than just gifts – it also provides hope and a second chance to become a family again. Each year, M/I volunteers also came to the party to celebrate with families and bring a professional photographer so families will have a happy holiday memory keepsake.

M/I staff get a lot out of the experience, too. “I can still remember a little girl who met Santa for the first time.  I will always remember her smile, her excitement, and the hugs for bringing Santa,” said Emily Smith, formerly with M/I and now the Communications Manager for Pelatonia.  “At that moment I knew we were truly doing something to better the lives of others and helping them to make memories with their moms.”

“Every year gets better and better and the kids are so appreciative.  The joy that comes from seeing the look on a child’s face when she gets what she had hoped for can’t be beat,” said Lori.  “The personal connection and the fact that Alvis works with people that have kind of been run over by society keep me volunteering at Alvis.  I share the story of working with the families at Alvis with my family and friends – I love sharing this experience and I could look at the pictures of the kids at the holiday party for hours.”

“Volunteer work is important to everyone,” continued Lori.  “There’s just too much hate and anger around us these days and I think volunteering is a great way to feel better.”  In addition to her volunteer work at Alvis, Lori is also President of the PTA at her daughter’s school. “Parents should be involved in their child’s life and making their community better,” said Lori.  “Children learn by watching what their parents do.”  Lori also brings her daughter with her to volunteer at Alvis so she can see people who have different circumstances and be part of reaching out with a helping hand.

Giving back to those in need, seeing appreciation radiate through their body, and coming to know that all of us are more alike than different is an incredible experience.  It allows people from all walks of life to come together and help to turn lives around. Pelotonia Communications Manager Emily Smith summed it up, saying, “I think we all have times in our lives where we do things we regret, and for these women [at Alvis] to acknowledge that and work to better themselves – I think that speaks volumes.” 

At Alvis, we’re so grateful to people like Lori Robinson-Terry and to companies like M/I Homes, who regularly demonstrate their commitment to turning lives around – by 180 degrees.

For more information about volunteering at Alvis, please contact Margaret “Molly” Seguin by phone at 614.252.8402 or by email here: Margaret.Seguin@alvis180.org.

Alvis clients providing service to the community

December 14, 2017

“Be the Change you wish to see in the world.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

Alvis clients providing service to the community

A community is a population of people who not only support one another, but who take the time to provide services that benefit their environment and everyone living in it. Each person’s home is part of the larger community. For clients living at Alvis, doing community service is part of their transition from justice involvement to becoming a vital part of their home community. Service to the community also provides tangible examples of the steps our clients are taking to change for the better and help to make their community a better place.

So far in 2017, Alvis clients have contributed more than 33,000 hours of community service in Columbus, Chillicothe, Dayton, Lima and Toledo, Ohio.  Our clients participate in a range of community service projects which include: sorting, organizing and wrapping toys for holiday drives; serving meals at shelters; helping as needed at senior centers; picking up litter; stocking food pantries; caring for rescued animals; and even making hats and gloves for babies and children.

“Community service creates a sense of purpose,” says Melanie Hartley, Alvis Regional Director, “It demonstrates just how committed our clients are to making a positive impact in their community.” Knowing that they made a difference in someone else’s life can enhance a client’s motivation to continue making positive changes. 

“When I do service, it makes me feel better and it makes me feel like a part of things,” said Tom P., an Alvis client. “I especially liked helping to wrap gifts for a toy drive this year.  I was in prison last year at this time and being a part of this reminds me how much better it is for me now.”

Hartley also notes that staying busy in and of itself can be helpful for some clients in their drive to keep moving forward.  “Community service can play a huge part in a client’s evolution.  Some of the clients who have come to us with the biggest challenges can be the best volunteers, because they can see the positive difference they are making and it gives their confidence a boost.”

The Alvis program provides clients with the tools to successfully return to the community. As they do community service, the clients are demonstrating that they are capable of changing their lifestyles.  Giving back to the community is a great way for clients to become more involved in their community in a positive way and it demonstrates that they are turning their lives around.

Molly Rapp, Communications Intern, is the primary author of this blog post

Celebrating Success: The Amethyst Graduating Class of 2017

October 27, 2017

A new beginning with a different ending.

Celebrating Success: The Amethyst Graduating Class of 2017

“Nothing is impossible.  The word itself says I’m possible!” Audrey Hepburn

 These inspiring words resonate well with 13 ladies at Amethyst who recently celebrated the completion of all five phases of treatment with a formal graduation on October 20, 2017.  For some, it took longer than others, but all of them came to understand their worth as a result of the Amethyst program, and it kept them pushing forward.

The Amethyst program was established in 1984 and became a part of Alvis in May 2017. Amethyst is a community designed to support a lifetime of recovery through treatment and long term supportive housing for women and their children.  The community that has been built over the last thirty years has been a beacon of hope for women struggling with addiction.  Amethyst shows how important it is to have people who stand behind you when you think you might fall.  Women in the program get to experience the importance of holding onto hope and learning to accept the changes that are going to come in everyone’s life. 

Amethyst makes it clear that everyone in recovery should celebrate how far they’ve come and how strong they have remained.  Positivity and determination can go a long way in supporting recovery from addiction. Beyond that, each client also has the support of their community to ensure they will make it. This support creates the resilience to survive and thrive.  “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,” is an African proverb that captures the essence of the program.

Addiction is a disease that cannot be fought alone and Amethyst has built a community of women who respect, support and love one another. Amethyst helps women with substance abuse problems see that they can be happy and deserve a second chance. The 13 women who graduated shared how far they’ve come with current Amethyst clients and how their lives have changed for the better.  The inspiring thing about all of these women is that they never gave up and never stopped fully believing that recovery is worth it. They kept going, no matter how difficult, and became survivors.  In the process, they encouraged current Amethyst clients to stand up and be recognized for all their positive potential and hard work.

In today’s society, we hear a lot about the tragedy of the opiate epidemic, but it is very rare to hear about the successes of people in recovery. If success stories were more common in today’s media, it could help someone who is struggling with substance abuse gather courage to change their life.  Fortunately, there were a lot of success stories to celebrate at the Amethyst Graduation, which will lead to even more success.  It’s because of the Amethyst community that these women are able to see the way out of their previous lives and enter into a lifetime of recovery. Having a group of strong, positive and hopeful women to encourage other women only makes the Amethyst community even stronger.   These women are survivors.  What they thought impossible when they arrived at Amethyst proved to be possible.  By “suiting up and showing up,” they have encouraged other women to keep moving forward toward their own lifetimes of recovery.  

Molly Rapp, Communications Intern, is the primary author of this blog post.

Thanks to you, Alvis clients are changing their lives for the better!

September 29, 2017

Your gift to Alvis is making a BIG IMPACT on our clients.

Thanks to you, Alvis clients are changing their lives for the better!

Your donations empower the STORY OF RECOVERY, like this one:

Devony struggled with addiction for years and is now on her journey to recovery. She and her son are in recovery housing at Amethyst, an Alvis recovery program.  She’s also in college and studying to become a nurse – so she can help others. Stories like this inspire us all to be a part of the change, making the story of recovery IMPACTFUL.

Your donations empower the STORY OF STRONGER FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES, like these: 

Robert is currently at an Alvis residential reeentry program.  As a father of three, he is determined not be separated from his children again. By participating in the BIG GIVE, donations like yours will go to substance abuse treatment, employment skills training, GED assistance, and parenting classes. With your help, we can provide fathers like Robert with the treatment services he needs to be able to truly be a present, prominent, and positive figure in the lives of his three children.

Clyde is a great example of someone who is working hard to ensure his potential is far more meaningful than his past. Clyde is not going to allow the time he spent incarcerated to define his future. Right now, Clyde is working three different jobs at some of Columbus’ finest restaurants. While in Alvis’ Career Pathways Workforce Development Program, Clyde has earned two different employment skills credentials and is now pursuing additional certifications that will increase his value to potential employers. That’s good for Clyde – and it’s good for the employers who will be hiring an individual with a demonstrated drive to succeed.

Daewyne came to Alvis in August 2016 with a criminal record and no expectations. By the time he graduated from the Alvis program in October 2016, he had a job at Jiffy Lube, had earned skills certifications, and was enrolled at Columbus State Community College. He also had outstanding recommendations that reflected his commitment to a new way of life. With the tools and programming offered at Alvis, such as case management, job readiness, resume writing workshops, job placement and retention services, our clients have the ability to turn their lives around 180 degrees. Donations help to fund workforce development programs that lead to living wage jobs that support families and communities.

Kastaisja Harper, Special Events Coordinator, is the primary author of this blog post.

Back to School

July 18, 2017

Carolline, a mom, and Charlie, a child, share their perspectives

Back to School

August is approaching quickly and the back to school shopping has officially began. The cardboard bins of colorful notebooks, sparkling pencils, and graphic binders that every child “needs” are in the middle of the isles, blocking the way to the groceries. Children begin to get excited to go back to their friends, classroom projects, and their favorite swing on the playground. Every household has their own traditions when it comes to preparing for school. These unique rituals are fun for most parents and their children, but some, like Caroline and Charlie, are approaching Back to School with worry and fear. 

Caroline

Caroline is a mother of 4 children between the ages 3-13. She loves her kids very much and wants nothing but the best for them when it’s time to go back to school.

Caroline is currently a client in the Alvis residential reentry program and is steadily on track to rebuilding her life. As Caroline talks about sending her kids back to school, she is very excited for her kids, but it’s also overwhelming for her. She has one starting preschool and one starting high school. Caroline said just hearing the words “Back to School” stresses her out.

In past years, Caroline would have started school shopping back in June in order to cut down on the stress on her time and her budget. She always started with buying school clothes for her children. As time gets closer and sales start, she begins shopping for school supplies. The extra time makes it easier to spread out the cost and reduce the stress.

Caroline wants her kids to feel comfortable and welcome in school so they can earn a great education and feel loved at the same time. That’s what every child deserves!   But since she’s at Alvis, she can’t do her back to school shopping all summer like she was able to do before.  It’s making her anxious she feels like she’s going to let her kids down this year.

Caroline was asked, “What if you could provide your children with a backpack full of all the items they need for back to school. How would that make you feel?” Her eyes lit up and she said it would truly be a blessing and make her and her children feel fortunate. It would also lift the weight off her shoulders to know that they had everything they needed to start the school year with confidence.   

Charlie

Charlie is sitting in the kitchen talking to his grandma about school starting soon. He was entering the second grade and was pretty nervous. He didn’t know what to expect this year but was really hoping for the best.

Charlie is smart. He always tried hard in school and looked forward to being rewarded for doing something well. Last year, when his mom went to prison, Charlie had to go through a lot of changes. He had to move in with his grandma and started going to a different school.  He didn’t have all the school supplies he needed, either. He remembered feeling nervous, confused, shameful, and unprepared on the first day of school last year. This year, his grandma brought home a red notebook, a 12-pack of #2 pencils, and a box of crayons. Knowing money was tight, Charlie resolved to make the best of it and put everything into his fraying backpack. He was thankful for his grandma and what she was able to get for him, but he also remembered feeling small when he saw what all the other kids had in their new backpacks on the first day of school last year. It just never seemed fair.

The night before school, Charlie went to bed extra early and tried to get to sleep while wondering what would be on the menu for lunch.  Now, it’s 8:30am and Charlie is getting on the bus to go to school, hoping that this year will be better.

As summer starts coming to a close, most parents begin preparing children for the new school year. They buy new pants, new shoes, maybe a new lunchbox or backpack and, of course, the laundry list of school supplies.  For other parents and caregivers, however, “Back to school” preparations can be agonizing.

Some, like Charlie’s grandma, are unable to provide the basic school necessities for their children.  Charlie is like a lot of kids who have a parent in an Alvis program.  Alvis is home to a population that faces the “Back to School” fear each year. These previously incarcerated parents are working to improve their lives and the lives of their children, as well. But kids like Charlie can still experience feelings of embarrassment, confusion, shame, and worthlessness, which can lead to negative behavioral changes and poor academic performance. These children don’t deserve to start the school year with an unfair disadvantage.

Addressing the problem is the first step to fixing it. The second step is taking action. There are multiple ways to take action against the destructive cycle and provide children with a good start to a new school year. One easy action you can take is to donate to the Alvis Back to School drive.  

Last year, Alvis held a backpack drive and accepted donations of backpacks and school supplies. Thanks to our amazing community, hundreds of children attended their first days of school adorned with colorful new backpacks that were filled with school supplies.

This year, we have raised our goal to prepare 700 children of Alvis clients with the tools they need to be successful students. A donation of just $30 dollars provides two children with backpacks. But truly, any donation – of money, school supplies, and/or time to come to Alvis and fill the backpacks – is greatly appreciated.  

Each child and each parent face different challenges as they start the school year. There are some easy ways, however, to help. With something as fundamental as school supplies for their education, each child we work with at Alvis can start the school year on the right foot, prepared to grow to their full potential. That is the Alvis 180 degree impact.

Click here to learn more about helping the Alvis Backpack drive.

Brandon Muetzel, Donor Relations Coordinator, is the primary author of this blog post.

You didn’t do the crime, but you’re still paying for the time

March 12, 2017

Would you be shocked to see this bill in your mailbox? Would you be even more shocked if you knew you’ve been helping to pay for it?

You didn’t do the crime, but you’re still paying for the time

The bill pictured above is the estimate of ONE person’s time in prison. This amount takes into account room and board, security, health care, operations, administration and other services. This is completely covered by taxpayer dollars, to the tune of more than $25,000 a year, per inmate (Vera Institute of Justice, Price of Prisons in Ohio, 2012). That’s like sending one of your children to a public university and paying tuition and rent for a year. Add on a court room, price of lawyers, and the average taxable income loss, and the price tag begins to equal a sizeable down payment on a new home. These “hidden” bills don’t just affect one person. They’re paid for by every tax-paying citizen in our nation. Even worse, these are only the short-term costs.

The long-term costs of imprisonment are even more expensive. Even after completing a sentence in prison, the transition back into the community is not an easy one. After release from prison, many people convicted of crimes have no place to live, no means of transportation and no money. They may have not have access to a change of clothing, a shower or even food. They may not have a family support system to help them start over, and if they do, many families don’t have the financial means to support anything beyond their most basic necessities.  Having been out of work while serving time in prison takes a significant toll on both the offender and his or her family, as well as the community. Finding a job with a criminal record is exceedingly difficult, and can become an impossible task, given the barriers that are created when an applicant is lawfully required to disclose felony convictions on job applications. According to studies by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), this requirement alone reduces the chances of a person being hired by as much as 50%.  

The result is like a risky game of dominos. One piece falls and the others fall soon after. No employment means no income and no income means relying on governmental and community funding. The cumulative related expenses are paid by taxpayers in the form of social services and public assistance, but the emotional toll is paid by the families and neighborhoods that are powerless stop the cycle.

These factors need to make us all deeply reconsider how our society handles low-level, non-violent crimes, and the people who commit them. The reality is that community corrections programs, like those offered by Alvis, are both cost efficient and have been proven to be more effective in preventing a person’s return to the criminal justice system when compared to a prison sentence.

The per-person cost for treatment at a community corrections facility, like Alvis, is around $6,000 per year. That’s a $19,000 difference from the cost of sentencing the same offender to prison for a year. That’s a significant savings that captures only a small portion of the overall savings opportunity that comes with community corrections programs.

Community corrections programs also offer intangible forms of return on investment. The reality is that individuals who spend time in our state’s correctional system are our neighbors, our family, our friends and our community members who have made mistakes. Many suffer from addiction and/or mental health issues. Community correction programs understand the factors that often drive criminal behavior, and they offer a safe, stable environment where individuals can address the issues that led to their crime, so they can work on creating a new path forward.

Clients in Alvis residential reentry programs live in a dorm-like environment while participating in evidence-based programming. Our trained professionals provide cognitive behavioral treatment and substance abuse treatment.  Being at Alvis means our clients have the opportunity to stay connected with their family and with the community. Alvis offers programming that reconnects and rebuilds healthy relationships between parents and children, preparing them for moving forward together, after Alvis. Our reentry services team works with a plethora of companies that hire our clients during their stay in our program – providing invaluable job experience.  We mentor and coach clients on how to address the “convicted of a felony” box with potential employers. We offer job training and certification programs to increase employability and to widen career opportunities for clients after leaving the program. 

Why does this matter? Because we not only prepare clients for a successful transition back into the community, but while clients are involved in our programs, they earn more than $2.5 million in taxable wages and pay over $100,000 in child support, restitution, fines and court cost each year. These milestones help clients continue to be productive members of our community during their stay with us. That doesn’t happen in prison.

Community corrections programs have also proven successful in reducing recidivism, which saves taxpayer dollars.  Each instance of recidivism costs taxpayers, on average, over $40,000, which includes costs for the arrest, trial, court proceedings, incarceration and supervision. Adding in the costs of future victimization and indirect costs takes the total to nearly $120,000 per incident of recidivism (Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council, 2015).

Ohio’s recidivism rate is only about 28%, compared to the national average rate of recidivism of almost 50%.  Many believe this dramatic difference is the direct result of Ohio’s commitment to evidence-based programming. As Director Gary Mohr, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC), notes, “We know treatment in the community is twice as effective and one-third of the cost as comparable treatment in prison. The relationships with our community partners are critical as we work further to reduce Ohio’s already low recidivism rate.”

A felony is expensive. And not just for the person who committed the crime – it’s expensive to all of us.  Knowing the facts, what would you choose? To pay less for programs that are about twice as effective; or pay far more for a program that is much less effective?  At Alvis, we believe in paying less and getting better results. That’s the impact of turning lives around – by 180 degrees. 

Mariah Haitz, Communications Intern, is the primary author of this blog post.

Rev. Josephus Foster – An Alvis Success Story

February 8, 2017

In 1971, Alvis helped Josephus Foster turn his life around. He has never turned back.

Rev. Josephus Foster - An Alvis Success Story

“You can’t tell how a person is going to turn out just by looking at them. You must be willing to risk something, to give something to help that person grow.”

In 1971, when a young Josephus Foster first came to Alvis, he had just completed a nine-year prison sentence for armed robbery and burglary, served at the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus. (The penitentiary operated from 1834 to 1984 and was demolished in 1998.)  Open for less than five years at that point, Alvis consisted of just one house on Bryden Road that only served men. This “halfway house” provided a place to stay and meals as well as guidance from staff that would help each client successfully transition back into the community. Nine months later, Josephus completed the program and left equipped with new skills and behaviors that helped him turn his life around.

At Alvis, we like to call that 180 degree impact. And if you’re wondering what 180 degree impact really looks like, look no farther than Rev. Josephus Foster’s story.

“When I grew up, I got wrapped up and caught up in a life of crime and deviant behavior,” said Rev. Josephus Foster. This lifestyle earned him two prison terms. When he came to Alvis, he was not only ready, but hungry for a change. “At Alvis, I began a new life experience. I went to school, went to groups on employment, self-esteem, budgeting, dress for success – I never missed a group.”

With the help of Alvis, Josephus forged a new path, one full of determination and restored confidence.  He successfully secured a job at TICO (a program for juvenile offenders), working as a youth leader.  He also met Clara and they were married in 1973.  He attended school and started working toward his long term goal of helping others. Eventually, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from The Ohio State University, and a Master’s Degree in Divinity from Mt. Vernon Nazarene College. – earning the title of “Reverend.” Years passed with one impactful accomplishment after another. Rev. Foster and Clara also raised 10 children.

Today, Rev. Foster serves as the Executive Director of the Fountain of Hope, an intercity program which he founded in 1981. The organization offers drug prevention and counseling programs, and seeks to help young people improve their self-esteem.  At Fountain of Hope, “Rev. Joe” (as the kids call him) provides the same kind of life changing services to others that he had received when Alvis helped him to create his own second chance all those years ago.

Rev. Foster also served as member of the Alvis Board of Trustees from 2002 to 2008, and was selected by the Board of Trustees in 2008 to receive the Founders’ Award – Alvis’ highest honor.  Rev. Foster also continues to give back to the community by loyally serving on the Board of Trustees for Mt. Vernon Nazarene College.

Rev. Foster attributes his success to two factors: his desire to change and Alvis, which provided the tools he needed to turn his life around.  Whenever he speaks about his experiences, he always reinforces that every life is worthy of a second chance. And whenever we take a chance and helping a fellow member of our community grow – we also take a chance at creating a true, 180 degree impact.

Gloria Iannucci, Sr. Director, Communications & PR, is the primary author of this blog post.