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.

World Population Day. Did you know?

World Population Day was established by the UN in 1990 to spread awareness of population issues and how they impact our environment and deveWorld Population Day was established by the UN in 1990 to spread awareness of population issues and how they impact our environment and development. According to un.org, “Current estimates indicate that roughly 83 million people are being added to the world’s population every year.” That’s a lot of people! And in America, 2.3 million are currently incarcerated, 4.9 million have been formerly incarcerated, 19 million have been convicted of a felony in their lifetimes, 77 million have a criminal record, and a staggering 113 million adult Americans have an immediate family member who has been in prison or jail. That’s more than in any other country. In fact, 1 in 5 people who are incarcerated in the world are incarcerated in the U.S. (Prison Policy Initiative).  In Ohio specifically, it is estimated that one in eleven adults have a felony conviction and one in three adults have a criminal record. Does this just mean there are a lot of “bad” people to look out for? As it turns out…

Drug Offenses

One in five incarcerated people is locked up for a drug offense and 450,000 people are incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses at any given time (Prison Policy Initiative). But what is a drug offense? A drug offense is when an individual violates a law that prohibits the possession, use, distribution, or manufacture of illegal drugs (Prison Fellowship). What counts as an “illegal” drug also depends per state. In Ohio, marijuana, the most common drug, is illegal if not prescribed for medical purposes. Even just the possession of the drug can earn you jail time. In the US, there are over one million drug possession arrests each year. The average prison sentence for people convicted of federal drug offenses is more than 11 years. This is the greatest contributor to the federal prison population. In general, drug penalties at the federal and state levels tend to be disproportionate and overly harsh for the crime, causing good people to be jobless and even homeless after incarceration.

On the other side of that are drug-related offenses. These offenses come from the effect of drugs on individuals either while on the drug or from being motivated by their addiction to the drug. These people are not “bad” people. Many of them suffer from substance abuse disorders and other trauma. At Alvis, we believe the positive alternative to incarceration is to address the issue at the source with rehabilitation and addiction programming. See our Recovery Choices Program and Amethyst Program.

Mental Health

Tied strongly to drug offenses and substance abuse disorders are other mental health disorders. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Multiple national population surveys have found that about half of those who experience a mental illness during their lives will also experience a substance use disorder and vice versa.” Similar to victims of substance abuse disorder, individuals with mental health conditions of any sort are more likely to be involved with the criminal justice system than to seek medical help. In fact, NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Health, states that two million people with mental illness are booked into jails each year and the vast majority are not violent, don’t get convicted, or are serving time for minor crimes. In jail, it is hard for these individuals to receive the treatment they need, making their condition worse, and keeping them locked up for longer than others without a mental health condition. Then, once out of the criminal justice system, a criminal record makes it hard to get a job, find housing, and still leaves them untreated for their condition. Many times, this causes them to end up re-arrested, creating and endless cycle. Again, these individuals are not “bad” people. They deserve second chances, recovery, and treatment for their conditions. Besides Amethyst and Recovery Choices, Alvis also offers SHINE, CHAT, and Belmar Recovery Housing.

Bail

It is also notable to mention that 74% of people held by jails are not convicted of any crime. Additionally, people in prison or jail are disproportionally poor compared to America as a whole. Why is this? It all starts with bail. Statistically, high policed areas are low-income with people who can not afford to pay bail. To make a point about this, New Orleans professor Chris Surprenant spoke at the Institute for Humane Studies about mass incarceration and pulled up stats from the local Arlington, Virginia jail saying, “You’ve got 344 people incarcerated. 43% of these folks have not been convicted of anything…That there are any people who can get out if they can only put up that, if they only need to put up a thousand bucks, is a problem because these are people who probably don’t present any danger to the community. If you can get out for a thousand dollars, it means we don’t mind having you out in the community,” (The Institute for Humane Studies). As a result of this time spent in jail and the development of a criminal record, individuals who were already in poverty fall farther into debt and stay in poverty from inability to find a job that will hire them.

Second Chance Citizens

Over 600,000 people transition from prisons back into their communities every year and the unemployment rate among incarcerated people is five times higher than the unemployment rate for the rest of the US. Even greater than in the Great Depression (Prison Policy Initiative). Because so many Americans have a criminal record it is critical to provide second chance citizens with jobs. Not only will employment help these individuals gain economic stability after release, but it reduces the likelihood that they will return to the criminal justice system and promotes greater public safety, benefitting everyone in the long run. The alternative, with the rates of arrests continually climbing in the US and Ohio, more repeat offenders and no employees for hire. It’s time to break the stigma. At Alvis, we believe that everyone deserves a second chance and we offer a variety of reentry programs to help turn people’s lives around from past justice involvement including residential reentry services using the Equip Program (our studies show that 93% of those who completed the Alvis Residential Reentry program and were back in the community for at least one year did not return to the criminal justice system) and workforce development training including H.I.R.E. (Help In Reentry Employment education) and EDGE (Empower Development by Gaining Employment). To learn more about our reentry programs click here or here.

Happy World Population Day!

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

Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

According to the 2019 World Drug Report, in 2017, an estimated 271 million people across the world had used drugs in the previous year, while 35 million people were estimated to be suffering from drug use disorders. It was also estimated that, globally, there were 585,000 deaths and 42 million years of “healthy” life lost as a result of the use of drugs. For people with drug use disorders, the availability of and access to treatment services remains limited at the global level. Only one in seven people with drug use disorders will receive treatment each year…

Today, Friday, June 26, is International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, also known as World Drug Day. This global observance has been supported by individuals, organizations, and communities all over the world since the United Nations resolved it in 1987. See resolution 42/112 here. This year’s theme is “Better Knowledge for Better Care” which strives to emphasize the importance of combating misinformation and educating on the significance of the world drug issue. Why is this significant? The better we can understand this complex issue and how to treat individuals, the better we can care for them and fight against the drug epidemic as a united society. 

Unfortunately, a big misconception about drug addiction is that it is a choice. This causes many individuals, policy makers, and even some service providers to hold the belief that drug disorders are a moral failure and a crime that needs to be punished. However, according to Mountainside Treatment Center, although the initial decision to misuse a substance may be voluntary, it impairs the way the brain functions in the long-term. It is in fact a multi-factorial health issue, “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry,” (The American Society of Addiction Medicine). These disorders are very complex with factors out of the victim’s control such as genetics, mental health, and environmental factors. Not only does Alvis strongly hold this belief but it was also agreed upon by the Member States in the Outcome document of the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem.

Another myth about addiction is that a victim can quit whenever they want. But as previously mentioned, misusing substances can physically change and critically impact the parts of the brain that deal with judgment, decision-making, learning, memory, and behavior control, (National Institute on Drug Abuse). Willpower by itself is most times not sufficient enough or even safe enough to try to achieve sobriety on ones own. “A person battling a substance abuse problem needs individualized medical and/or clinical treatments, integrative therapies, and mindful practices to restore balance to their life. They also need to develop coping skills and to re-establish support from family, employers, and friends—a crucial part of success in recovery,” (Mountainside Treatment Center). In order to combat the drug issue globally, we all need to change the way we think about drug addiction. To learn more about World Drug Day on the United Nations home page click here. #FactsForSolidarity

There is hope! At Alvis, we offer two judgment free behavioral health and addiction services, one for single women and women with children called Amethyst, and one which is inclusive to both males and females called Recovery Choices. In the Amethyst program, women with and without children can receive treatment for addiction, mental health, and trauma while also receiving supportive housing, job readiness training and placement. What makes the Amethyst program special in particular? It allows women to live with their children and works to reunite and strengthen families. Amethyst takes walk-ins and women seeking help can go directly to the main treatment facility located at 455 E. Mound Street.

Similarly, in the Recovery Choices program, individuals with justice involvement can receive behavioral healthcare and addiction services. Clients can also receive transportation from halfway houses to Alvis reentry centers, where they can take job training courses, receive counseling and individualized treatment plans, and have the opportunity to attain their GED, take university classes, and participate in activities with their family. Also check out our recent post “Recovery Housing at Alvis” to see three specific recovery programs for women called SHINE (Stable Housing to Inspire, Nurture, and Empower), CHAT (Changing Habits, Attitudes and Thoughts), and Belmar.

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

Father’s Day 2020

Father’s Day Picnic 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Father’s Day from everyone at Alvis!

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

Men’s Health

Not only is June Men’s Health Month, but today starts Men’s Health Week, which conveniently leads up to Father’s Day.

Health Facts from the Men’s Health Network:

On average, American men live sicker and die younger than American

women.

In 1920, women lived, on average, one year longer than men. Now, men, on average, die almost five years earlier than women.

Women are 100% more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men.

Cause and RatesMenWomen
Heart Disease210.9131.8
Cancer192.9138.1
Injuries54.727.3
Stroke36.935.6
Suicide20.75.8
HIV/AIDS3.01.1

Depression in men is more likely to be undiagnosed contributing to the fact that men are 4 x as likely to commit suicide.

  • Among ages 15 to 19, boys were 3.1 x as likely as girls to commit suicide.
  • Among ages 20 to 24, males were 4.6 x as likely to commit suicide as females.
  • The suicide rate for persons age 65 and above: men 31.5 – women 5.

Life can be busy and hectic and sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves, but these statistics show why it is critical to keep regularly scheduled checkups and start or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Prevention is important in the early stages. Now is the time to visit with and encourage the men you love to find low cost and free screenings near them, attend health clinics, or start the health program recommended by their physician. It is not too late! Learn more about Men’s Health Week and find resources at menshealthmonth.org

It can also be hard to ask for help…

What Alvis has to offer:

One of Alvis’ behavioral health services is a cognitive-behavioral treatment program called Recovery Choices with skills practice sessions that give individuals the tools they need to improve their decision-making skills, enhance coping abilities and build healthier drug- and alcohol-free lives. The program is certified by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Professional staff are appropriately licensed as well as experienced in providing treatment services designed to address the complex substance abuse treatment needs of individuals with criminal justice involvement. Ours is a comprehensive program that begins with a thorough assessment, continues with in-depth substance abuse treatment services and the development of a personal relapse prevention plan. Aftercare is a critical part of this program, offering follow-up support and opportunities to put the concepts discussed during the program to practical use in each client’s life. Alvis turns lives around!

Show Your Support!

Also in June, on Friday the 19th, is wear blue day for men’s health. Wear blue to raise awareness for education about men’s need to seek regular checkups, or testicular cancer education, prostate cancer education, or other health issues that affect men including cardiovascular disease, skin cancer, lung cancer, diabetes, gout, depression, addiction, and more.

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

#MensHealthWeek

Little Things

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

The Big Give

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

Volunteering

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

Here are a few things that volunteers are already doing…

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

Practicing mock interviews and providing feedback.

Teaching how to set goals.

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

Tutoring math.

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

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

More things you could do…

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

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

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

Volunteer at Bingo Night

Be a guide for DD clients on walks.

Donate items like art supplies, photo frames or books.

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

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

The Big Give 2020

The Columbus Foundation’s Big Give event is back!

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

What is The Big Give?

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

How to Participate

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

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

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

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

Mental Health Essential Heroes

“Mental Health is Essential Health!”

What Alvis Has to Offer…

Alvis offers two behavioral health service programs: Amethyst and Recovery Choices.

Amethyst is our program for women with and without children seeking addiction, mental health, and trauma-related treatment, family services, supportive housing, and job readiness and placement. What makes the Amethyst program distinct from other treatment programs for women is the fact that it allows women to live with their children, and it specifically works to reunite and strengthen families. Amethyst takes walk-ins, and women are able to go directly to the main treatment facility located at 455 E. Mound Street if they are seeking assistance.

Recovery Choices was created to provide behavioral healthcare services to individuals with justice involvement. Clients receive transportation from halfway houses to reentry centers, where they take job training courses, receive counseling and individualized treatment plans, and have the opportunity to attain their GED, take university classes, and participate in activities with their family. Behavioral health treatment services include:

· Individualized assessment and treatment

· Group counseling

· Cognitive-behavioral therapy

· Medication-assisted treatment (through a partnership with CompDrug)

· Relapse prevention and aftercare

Women in Alvis’ residential reentry programs and in treatment at Recovery Choices may eventually transition to Amethyst to support their long-term recovery.

Thank you, essential mental health and recovery heroes, for your outstanding 24/7 service and support!

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

National Foster Care Month

May is National Foster Care Month!

Some Statistics…

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

How Alvis Can Help…

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

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

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

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