Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gannett Foundation Grant Will Bring Furniture, Fun to Lighthouse Program

The Lighthouse Program will be able to buy new furniture and educational supplies for our day care thanks to a $2,000 grant from the Gannett Foundation.

This gift is going to add to the cheerfulness and home-like atmosphere of the day care. We’ll be able to get furniture including cribs, a rocker, a swing, changing tables, and storage units. Plus, educational materials -- like alphabet picture puzzles, an animal photo library, math match-up set, and social studies book set -- will be used to teach the children skills in language, mathematics, science, music, social studies, and dramatical play. These improvements will help make the day care a safe and pleasant place for the children to play and learn.

The Gannett Foundation is a corporate foundation sponsored by Gannett Co., Inc. They give grants to organizations in the communities in which Gannett owns a daily newspaper or television station.

Thank you very much for this wonderful gift!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Practice-Based Evidence?

In today's New York Times, Benedict Carey looks at whether evidence-based practices improve patients' success rate in treatment. Programs like BCI are increasingly accountable for showing our effectiveness, yet few have the stats to do so and there's no universal standard for success. Delaware is one of the states taking part in the Advancing Recovery project, in which we implement -- and track the results of -- techniques that science says are effective.

In 2001 the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health began giving treatment programs incentives, or bonuses, if they met certain benchmarks. The clinics could earn a bonus of up to 5 percent, for instance, if they kept a high percentage of addicts coming in at least weekly and ensured that those clients met their own goals, as measured both by clean urine tests and how well they functioned in everyday life, in school, at work, at home.

By 2006, the state’s rehabilitation programs were operating at 95 percent capacity, up from 50 percent in 2001; and 70 percent of patients were attending regular treatment sessions, up from 53 percent, according to an analysis of the policy published last summer in the journal Health Policy.

Carey suggests these Performance Based Contracts are an example of “‘Practice-Based Evidence,’ the results that programs and counselors themselves can document, based on their own work.” Why has this worked for Delaware? We focus on getting people in the door and keeping them here, because length of time in treatment is associated with successful outcomes. We’re rewarded financially when we do a good job at this, and penalized when we don’t.

But we also use many of the Evidence-Based Practices mentioned in the article, like motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy. Sometimes our results are great, and sometimes they’re not. You can read more about our work here.

This topic generates lots and lots of questions within the addictions field and the recovering community. Here’s just a few:
  • What should be the definition of success in treatment?
  • How do we provide individualized treatment within a treatment curriculum?
  • What kind of evidence are we most interested in – evidence that comes from science, or from practice?
  • And, how do we collect data to measure success in treatment without increasing costs?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

BCI Goes Nuts for Food Drive

"BCI staff are nuts!" Oh yeah, we've heard that before. Well, it's true. And we've got pictures to prove it.

All month long, our staff has been running a food drive for Delaware Does More, the statewide project to help those less fortunate weather the economic decline this winter. We’re competing as teams to take photos of ourselves with the food we collected, and the most creative will win a pizza party. Now it’s time to unveil the results.


Probation & Parole



And the winner is…Georgetown! Great job, everyone.

Want to write your own caption for these pictures? Head over to our Facebook page and go nuts!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Volunteer Spotlight: Bridget Cady, Outreach Support

Bridget Cady is a recent graduate of University of Wales, Lampeter in the UK and will be serving in the Peace Corps starting in May 2009. She spends several hours a week volunteering with Brandywine Counseling's Outreach Department. Recently she sat down for a chat about what brought her here and what she’s been doing.

What made you want to volunteer?
I’m joining the Peace Corps, and I really wanted to get as much volunteer experience as possible. I know a bit about drug rehabilitation and addicts, and stuff like that, but it was really important for me to get experience in HIV/AIDS, the outreach part of it.

Why did you choose BCI?
I live in this neighborhood, so it was really important to me to volunteer close to home. I wanted to help out in my community, so I’m volunteering at two places, and both of them are within my zip code.

What have you worked on here?
I’ve done all sorts of things. I’ve looked up research, I’ve written little pieces for proposals. I’ve worked the week before Thanksgiving giving away turkeys to people. That was probably my favorite thing. I have lots of different things to do. No day’s ever the same when I come in here, and I really like that.

What will you take away from your experience?
A greater appreciation for members of my community and some of the hardships that they’re going through, and also for the wonderful people who are trying to help them.

How does it feel to help people in need?
It feels great! I mean, of course it feels good to be able to say, “I have the time to do this, so, I’m going to.” It’s a heartening feeling.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What We're Reading: Proof

There's a new blog on the New York Times Web site called Proof: Alcohol and American Life. It's filled with thought-provoking posts on a variety of topics by people in recovery. Drunkenfreude asks whether public drunkenness has become less socially acceptable. Self-Inflicted Prophecy tells how the writer found recovery and success when he took responsibility for it, instead of just waiting for it to happen. It’s the Holidays. How About Just One? tackles a question facing many recovering alcoholics this time of year. Proof is an interesting read and the reader comments are just as fascinating. Worth checking out.

Monday, December 15, 2008

We Want Your Review!

Have you had firsthand experience with Brandywine Counseling as a client, a volunteer, or a donor? Do you have answers to the following questions?

"I've seen the results of this organization in..."
"My experience would have been better if..."
"If I ran this organization I would..."

Customer reviews are everywhere. How many times have you gone online to see the opinions of people like you before you buy something? Maybe you’ve even written some of those reviews. Now, you can review Brandywine Counseling.

You can find us on GreatNonprofits.org, a Web site for ordinary people to review charities. The reviews will also be published on the GuideStar directory of non-profits.

You’ll be asked about “The Great” as well as “Ways to Make It Better.” You can also look at Needs and Offers for volunteers or donated items. The site is easy to use, and also fun. It's just like they say: Simple, bubba.

So head on over today and tell the world how great BCI is. And if you think we could do better, tell us that too. We’re listening.

Friday, December 12, 2008

5 Questions for Luther Whiting, Director of Human Resources

5 Questions is our ongoing feature where we introduce you to the people who make Brandywine Counseling run, spotlighting a different staff member every two weeks.

Name: Luther Whiting
Job: Director of Human Resources
Time with BCI: 5 years

1. You’ve kept HR running smoothly despite being relocated to the basement of Lancaster during the renovations to the Outreach Center. Tell us about your job and what you enjoy about it.
I’m responsible for making sure all of our employees get paid on time, get benefits, have all their paperwork in place, understand our policies and procedures. I kind of take care of the employees from the human relations side of it, but also give support to management to make sure that the policies and procedures are valid, that we abide by the laws and criteria, and that we get the best benefits for our employees. So, I work both sides and have to stay in the middle.

There are people here that are really, really good people, and every day [you] see them doing something that you go, “Wow, that’s really neat!” I don’t know if I can really put that in words. I’ve enjoyed being here with Brenda. She’s been fun to be down here with. I miss my office -- but I think in any environment, any job, there are certain people that you become attached to, not so much because you’re friends of theirs, but because you have a lot of respect for what they do, and how they do it. And I have a few people that I really, really find to be just, so pleasant to me, because they really like what they do, they do it as well as they can, and they rarely, if ever, complain.

2. Why did you decide to work in the addiction treatment field?
I never thought I would. The decision was based on seeing something different in healthcare -- because that’s where I’d been -- something that was new. With my interview with Sally [Allshouse, Executive Director], I liked what she said, and I liked what little I saw at the time. I just thought it would be a nice opportunity and a nice challenge. I had pretty much said, “I’m gonna give it 5 years.” I think it’s been everything that I’ve wanted it to be. And I live in Baltimore, so to drive the hour and 20 minutes, hour and a half a day, and feel like coming to work every day, is really important to me! And maybe there have been a few times when I haven’t felt well, I didn’t feel like coming to work, but I really feel like coming to work every day!

And I know a lot more about substance abuse than I ever thought I’d know. I have a lot of respect for what the people in this company, and this company, does, and the results. I don’t know that my initial impression was that I would like it as much as I do, but I’m glad I made the decision. And from my perspective it’s worked out.

I’ve had my moments when it hasn’t been a fun place, we all do. This has been a fun place to work. This has been a good place to work. And I can tell you that, when I hit my 5 year point, I started thinking, 4 or 5 months before that, and said, “Y’know, do you really want to keep driving an hour and 20 minutes?” And the answer I gave myself was, “Why not? You’re having fun. You’re enjoying this.”

3. What advice do you have for someone who would like to do the job you do?
Develop thick skin. Have a tremendous amount of respect for people, and what they are capable of doing, not what they do. Like yourself. Don’t expect anyone to like you every single day. Because one day, they like you, ‘cause you’re gonna tell them yes to everything they ask you. The next day, they’re not gonna like you, because you’re gonna tell them no! But, respect the fact that those people, if they come back and ask you another question, they respect you. And I think that’s what’s important.

I think to do the job the right way, so that employees respect you, you have to subjugate yourself to the fact that you are a facilitator, and someone that is here to help people, and that your personal views, however strong they may be, need to be left at home. When you make judgments about people, and what they look like, what they sound like, all those little things that we are trained as we get older and older to do, to make decisions on whether we like somebody or not, that’s not something I believe that you can, or should, do in Human Resources.

4. Do you have any opportunity to work with BCI’s clients?
I’ve really enjoyed my contact with the clients while I’ve been in my temporary location. In one of my previous jobs, I was administrator over at a childcare center. And, I just recently had a grandbaby. And I really like to see the children in the Bridge group and how they interact with each other, and watch them grow, and how excited they can be. That’s been kind of fun for me.

A couple of their mothers are looking for jobs, so sometimes they’ll ask me, “How would you approach this type of thing?” That, I like, because it’s touching on a young person’s life in some way, that will allow them to hopefully grow up to be a valid member of society. I’ve really, really enjoyed that part of it.

Last year, a client’s grandson was going for an interview. And it was just easy for me to sit down at my computer and say, “Here’s who you contact, who’ll give you all these directions.” And when she came back, she was like, “Wow! You made it so easy for me, because the school gave us everything we wanted, how far we should stay from the hotel, so we could do this interview, it was within walking distance, it was a pretty day, we got to see Boston…” And I don’t know if those are things I’m supposed to do, but those are things I do because it’s easier for me. I’ve been dealing with educational things a long time.

5. If you had $30,000 to donate to BCI, what would you do with it?
I would take this basement, and do some extra work in it for air conditioning and heat and comfort, because I believe I have learned a lot about the person who works down here, and although it’s much, much, much better than it was, I think she probably deserves a little bit nicer area, to be honest with you. I mean, I could say, “I’d love to donate it to the childcare center.” Y’know, it’s cold now, and it’s damp, and sometimes moist. I would donate it to spruce up Brenda’s area and make it a little more livable on a regular basis.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Beach Dawgs Bring Holiday Cheer to Lighthouse

Our moms and kids at the Lighthouse Program will have gifts to look forward to this Christmas thanks to a generous donation from the Beach Dawgs. This Delaware-based Cleveland Browns Fan Club, which includes BCI’s Shay Lipshitz, decided to sponsor Lighthouse and bought all the gifts you see in the pictures. They are a great bunch and we are very thankful for their support. Thanks to club President Maureen Keenan, pictured below with Shay and friend.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Thank You Friends, For All You Do

Season's Greetings and Happy Holidays!

This holiday season, Brandywine Counseling wants to say "Thank You" to all our friends. All year long, you've given us the gift of your time and talents as volunteers, and your contributions as donors. With your help, we are helping addicted Delawareans change behaviors and attitudes. You are making a difference in the lives of so many people.

And if you haven’t given before, now is a great time! With a holiday donation, you can help us save lives, and you’ll feel wonderful too. Make a secure online donation on brandywinecounseling.org. Or, to donate by check, please complete our printable donation form and mail to the address provided. All donations to Brandywine Counseling are tax deductible.

We know it's important to you to see how your donation supports our work. That’s why you can watch us in action on the BCI Blog. This year, you saw it here first when we exchanged our 10,000th syringe, when we built our playground, and reduced our wait time. So stay right here to read our success stories, join in the conversation, and see how you can help.

From all of us at BCI, and on behalf of everyone we serve, have a very joyous holiday season. Thank you for your generosity in the past, and thank you in advance for your support in the future.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids

Brandywine Counseling's Lighthouse Program has been selected as a partner in the Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program, a national grass roots effort to deliver $1 million of free shoes to children of families in need this holiday season.

BCI will receive fifteen $15 shoe coupons redeemable toward a pair of children’s shoes at any Payless ShoeSource store.

On behalf of our families and their kids, we say a big thanks for this gift. Many of the kids arrive at Lighthouse with their mothers with very little, ill-fitting clothes. Sometimes their shoes don’t fit or look appropriate for their age group. Putting on a new pair of shoes will raise their self-esteem. Going to a real store and getting a new pair of well-fitting shoes will be a great delight to these families.

The 2008 Holiday Giving Campaign was established by Payless ShoeSource to provide new shoes to children in need throughout the United States. 630 organizations were selected from all 50 states.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Must-Reads 12/4/08

From time to time, we're going to share with you some "must-read" posts we found around the blogosphere dealing with addiction, recovery, and related issues.

Beyond Recovery? The Discovering Alcoholic looks at a prescription heroin program in Switzerland and asks, can one be so far into their addiction as to be beyond recovery?

Are You All In? As the holiday shopping season gets underway, Alix at The Second Road ponders whether consumerism is a form of addiction. Especially now that it can end in fatality.

Five Million Americans Attend Self-Help Groups, SAMHSA Estimates – And nearly half of those who did were abstinent from drugs and alcohol in the past month.

Ask a Homeless Person: What Does Poverty Mean? – The Center for Respite Care Blog puts this question to their clients.

Leaders and Role Models - Action Strategy – The Tutor/Mentor Connection looks at how athletes or local celebrities can mobilize public support for a community organization. Any famous Delawareans out there who want to help out BCI? Get in touch!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Volunteer, and Create "A Better Delaware"

Delaware's Governor-elect, Jack Markell, is calling on Delawareans to create "A Better Delaware" through thousands of hours of volunteer service. The initiative began November 24 and runs through a statewide Weekend of Service on January 24-25. The project is taking the place of the traditional inaugural ball. At the Web site BetterDelaware.org, volunteers can find opportunities throughout the state and record their hours of service.

"So many Delawareans are already contributing so much, but our nonprofits need more help," Markell said. "Nonprofit organizations and the clients they serve are especially hard hit by the current economy. It's time for Delawareans to come together and help those less fortunate by donating, time, treasure or talent. It won't be easy, but if we all work together, we can and will make a positive difference during these challenging times."

Just like Delaware Does More, this is another example of bringing about real change through the actions of many ordinary people. It's a great thing to see and hopefully it will continue well past inauguration day.

Brandywine has lots of worthwhile and fun projects and we would love to have you or your group volunteer with us. Do you want to help out Outreach like Felecia, or do some painting like Jennifer? Maybe you have a special skill to teach our clients, like Eul? Visit BetterDelaware.org to see our list of projects, or contact us if you have an idea you don’t see listed.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

BCI's Thanksgiving Photos

We've posted some pics from this year's food basket giveaway and lunchtime feast for our clients. Once again it was a great time for a great cause. Click here to view the full album.

Monday, December 1, 2008

World AIDS Day: Unite to Raise Awareness and Reduce Stigma

Today is World AIDS Day. Worldwide, an estimated 33 million people are living with HIV. In the United States, an estimated one million Americans are living with HIV. HIV is still an incurable but preventable virus that is spreading faster than we can influence it among those who have unprotected sex. People still think it won't happen to them

Brandywine Counseling’s goal today is to remind you that HIV/AIDS is still a critical issue in the U.S. and around the world, and to promote HIV testing. We are taking part in Bloggers Unite on World AIDS Day 2008, a collaboration of AIDS.gov, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and Blog Catalog.

So here are some ways you can further the cause and elevate the voice of HIV/AIDS awareness online:

Learn the link about HIV/AIDS and drug abuse by viewing NIDA’s online Webisodes, a video series about how non-injection drug use can lead to increased risk behavior, and can change lives forever. Once you learn the link, be sure to send the link to friends and family.

Join the AIDS.gov Facing AIDS World AIDS Day Campaign. It’s simple - take a photo of yourself wearing a red ribbon and put the photo on your social networking site (such as Facebook or MySpace), blog, Twitter page, or Web site. The goal is to help eliminate stigma and recognize World AIDS Day online. They also have Web badges that you can share with your friends and colleagues and add a to your Web site or blog.

Use your wall, status, tweets or Web site to encourage HIV testing. BCI provides free and confidential rapid testing, with results given in 20 minutes. Testing is available at every Needle Exchange Site, or call 302-655-9880, ext. 21 for an appointment. Picture ID is required. If you’re outside the Wilmington, Delaware area, find an HIV testing site near you (in the U.S.) by sending a text message with your ZIP code to “KNOWIT” (566948) or visit: http://www.hivtest.org/. Encourage your friends to do the same and to promote HIV testing!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankful for "Another Year to Be Here"

Today, as we do each year, Brandywine Counseling distributed Thanksgiving food baskets for our clients and their families. The outreach staff gave out 168 baskets this year. The food was supplied by the Basket Brigade of Delaware, a volunteer organization that delivers food to families most in need, in time for Thanksgiving. They target families who may have fallen through the cracks of other support systems and are in need.

Several recipients took some time to talk with me about what it meant to get this help. One had this to say:

What does it mean to you to get a Thanksgiving basket? It’s a pleasure to get one and I’m very thankful and blessed that we could receive a turkey from BCI.
What were you planning to do for Thanksgiving if you hadn’t gotten a basket? Nothing.
Is the economic downturn affecting you? Yes it is. Financially, physically, emotionally.
Who are you spending Thanksgiving with? With my daughter, my grandkids.
What are you most thankful for this year? For getting a meal for Thanksgiving. And to be here. Another year to be here.

Another recipient had this message to share:

"I’ve been with BCI for the last 12-13 years, and I am so happy. They have helped me with everything. This turkey helps me and my family to appreciate Thanksgiving, and that’s the way I was raised. I also want to say thank you to my driver. She made it possible for all her clients to be here. She went home and got her own transportation, just to come and pick us up, so we all can have a nice Thanksgiving. And I thank God, and bless you, and may you have a blessing on your day."

Oxford House to Expand Delaware's Recovery Housing

In case you missed it, the News Journal ran an article on the planned expansion of Oxford House from 3 to 14 recovery houses in Kent and Sussex County. Included were some impressive stats on how effective the houses’ approach is:

A 2005 study by DePaul University tracked nearly 900 people in more than 200 Oxford House programs for 27 months, and found that more than 80 percent had stayed clean and sober, Malloy said.
Also, resident Jim Martin shared his inspiring success story.

"It's just an amazing gift, to wake up in the morning and be sober, and know my guys are going to help me keep sober," he said.
Oxford House is clearly making a difference. It’s good to know they will be expanding so more Delawareans in recovery can take advantage of what they offer.

Monday, November 24, 2008

5 Questions for Carla Woods-Ashley, Billing Technician

5 Questions is our ongoing feature where we introduce you to the people who make Brandywine Counseling run, spotlighting a different staff member every two weeks.

Name: Carla Woods-Ashley
Job: Billing Technician
Time with BCI: 10 years

1. Tell us what you do at BCI.
I’m a billing technician. I take the services that the Medicaid clients have performed, and I bill them to the insurance companies, so that we can get reimbursed for payment. Each day is different. During the first couple weeks of the month, the volume is really high, because we’re always billing a month behind. So by the time we get all those bills, we’re usually in the second or third week of the month. Then around the third week, it starts to slow down. Then we’re starting to get ready for the next month at the end of the month.

Sometimes the volume of it can be really large, especially when a lot of new clients are coming in, or based on different changes the insurance may make. If they change anything, that affects how we are able to bill, so that can be a little tedious. We have to be mindful of codes, and making sure it’s the right provider that’s doing the services. You have to be very mindful of details, and understanding the various aspects of the different insurance companies, because most times, no two insurances are the same as far as the way they want things billed. So you have to really be able to grasp and understand what you can bill for and what you can’t.

2. Why did you decide to work in the addiction treatment field?
My background is in psych mental health. I worked for over twenty years for a mental health MRMH facility. After working there full time for years, I was looking for a change, and I started counseling women at a drug and alcohol facility for women. And I enjoyed it, but I still wanted another change. So with the understanding of how the addiction works, I got into the billing aspect of the field.

3. You can tell a lot about a person from their office. Tell us what you have in your office.
I try to surround myself with positive thoughts, Godly thoughts that will encourage me, and surround it with my family and friends.

4. You mentioned your work can be tedious, so what makes it worthwhile?
When it gets done! At end of the day, when it’s done, and you know that, “Okay, I got through that,” that’s a good thing.

When I look at what I do, we don’t have a lot of interaction with the clients. Our contact with them is very minimal [except] on occasions when there’s a problem with their insurance, if they’ve lost it, and they in turn have to pay. I recently talked with a client. She had called me and she was really upset about it. So to be able to talk to them, to try and help them to resolve it. Or sometimes, they’ll worry about things that haven’t happened. So when I can reassure them, and let them know that you can work towards whatever it is you have to do. Showing them that no matter what’s going on with them, they can get through it. Or somebody’s just calling wanting to know where they need to go in order to get treatment, I can direct them in the right direction. That makes me feel good.

5. If you had $30,000 to donate to BCI what would you do with it?
If I had a particular area that I would want them to focus on, it would be the women and children. Because the need, especially with the children, I think is a great one. And whatever they can do in that area, in order to help the women to be more successful in their recovery, then that’s what I would want it to be focused on.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Great American Smokeout 2008

Today, the third Thursday of November, is the Great American Smokeout. This annual, nationally recognized health observance day was founded by the American Cancer Society in 1976. An estimated 15 million smokers are taking part.

Here are the rules according to quitsmoking.com:

You just quit smoking for the 24 hours of the Smokeout. The wonderful thing is that you won't be alone; you can swap advice, jokes and groans with the other "quitters," nonsmokers and the American Cancer Society volunteers who will be cheering you on. Even if you don't go on to quit permanently, you will have learned that you can quit for a day and that many others around you are taking the step, too.

And from SAMHSA, here is some information and resources to help smokers:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)offers many resources and tools such as RSS feeds, podcasts, and a public health image library. If you’d like more information on smoking and health, contact CDC at 1-800-232-4636 or tobaccoinfo@cdc.gov.

  • The National Cancer Institute (NCI has many online resources and information regarding tobacco and cancer, including clinical trials, prevention, statistics, research, literature, and more. If you have a question about cancer, call NCI at

  • Smokefree.gov offers online guides about quitting, expert help via phone or instant messenger, and print resources. Visitors can chat with an NCI smoking cessation counselor using the LiveHelp system. Call from anywhere by dialing 1-877-44U-QUIT, or dial 1-800-QUITNOW for in-state assistance.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

BCI Supports "Delaware Does More" with Food Drive

Today Brandywine Counseling begins a food drive to support Delaware Does More and help our neighbors in need get through this winter and the economic crisis. Over the next month, our staff will be collecting as much food as possible.

We're also going to compete as teams by taking photos with the food we collect. The most creative photo will win a prize, and they will all be posted here.

If you're a friend of BCI, you can take part in our drive by bringing in non-perishable food to any of our locations by December 18. Or better yet, start your own drive at your business, club, or school. With your help, we can meet this challenging goal. Here are some food drive ideas from Delaware Does More:

CANstruction: build simple or elaborate sculptures using canned goods. Encourage teams to compete with one another to boost awareness and participation.

Food Day: designate days of the week for specific foods, i.e. Macaroni Monday, Tuna Tuesday, Wheaties Wednesday, Turkey Thursday, Fruity Friday.

Special Dress Day: participants "pay"with food to dress a special way.

Let’s SAC Hunger or TGIF (Take Groceries in Friday): provide brown bags for participants to take home and fill with food or encourage them to bring a brown bag lunch and donate the money they would have spent on a purchased lunch.

Bag Hunger Auction: participants collect auction items from home, "sell"admission tickets (cost of ticket = food item), hold the auction and then the proceeds benefit the Food Bank of Delaware’s hunger-relief efforts

Challenges/Competitions: contests can raise awareness and participation.
Some ideas:
Largest individual donation
Most protein
Most unusual food item
Most original design for a food barrel
Raise our weight in food

Monday, November 17, 2008

We Need Old Laptops

Brandywine Counseling is trying to collect 2-4 old used laptops to use on our needle exchange van to keep notes as we do our outreach work.

Laptops need to have an AC adapter and a USB port. The battery can be dead, and it does not need a CD drive!

If you have a laptop to donate or know someone who does, please call Basha Silverman at (302) 655-9880, ext. 22, or bring it in to the Linda DeShields Outreach Center, 2814 Lancaster Avenue. Donations are tax-deductible and would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Delaware Does More: Neighbors Helping Neighbors All Winter Long

Brandywine Counseling has joined a new community-wide initiative to meet an anticipated significant spike in demand for social services in Delaware this coming winter. Delaware Does More is a community-based strategy, jointly proposed by United Way of Delaware and The Food Bank of Delaware:

“You’ve heard the news accounts. Job losses. Foreclosures. Spiking oil prices. The global credit crisis has come home to Delaware.

When there’s no work, there’s no money. No food. No heat. No way to pay the rent, or the mortgage. For a rapidly increasing number of Delawareans, this is the new reality.

It’s the perfect storm—at the perfectly worst time of the year: Winter.

Delaware is bracing for what many expect will be a dramatic surge in demand for assistance with food, shelter, and heat this winter. Demand that is above and beyond the norm. Demand that we cannot meet with current resources.

What can we do collectively to aid our friends and neighbors—perhaps even our own family members—this winter?

The answer is Delaware Does More. An emergency food and funds drive to ask those who live and work in Delaware to give more, help more, care more. Now more than ever.”

Delaware Does More has two goals:

1. FOOD - Between November 2008 and January 2009, generate 300,000 pounds of donated food via a series of “Delaware Does More” food drives throughout the state.

2. HEAT AND SHELTER - Between November 2008 and January 2009, generate $250,000 in incremental contributions to fund utility and shelter assistance in Delaware.

This initiative asks all Delawareans to help meet these goals: Businesses, schools, faith-based groups, social and civic clubs, neighborhood associations, sports teams, and individual families. We are asked to be creative, be aggressive, and be involved.

How can you help? Here are a few ways:

1. Collect as much shelf-stable food as possible, as quickly as possible. Contact The Food Bank at (302) 292-1305 or www.fbd.org for information.

2. Help raise incremental funds toward the utilities and shelter goal (over and above what you may already have contributed to United Way or other groups) as quickly as possible. For more information, contact Monique Chadband at United Way at (302) 573-3762.

3. If you’re a business organization, educational institution, or faith-based organization, there are many ways you can help, including fund or food raising drives, email messages, or special activities like a bingo night or pancake breakfast. For more information, contact Monique Chadband at (302) 573-3762.

We at BCI think this is a great idea. We know that the people we serve are among those most in need of help, and so we strongly support Delaware Does More and look forward to being a part of this effort. In the coming days, we’ll decide how we can best support the initiative. I encourage you to help any way you can.

At this morning’s press conference, Patricia Beebe of the Food Bank recited some lines from the speech given earlier this week by President-elect Obama. I am going to follow her lead because his words truly speak to the job ahead of us:

“And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it's been done in America for 221 years -- block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

“So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.

“And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.”

5 Questions for Darlene Pezzullo, Nurse

5 Questions is our ongoing feature where we introduce you to the people who make Brandywine Counseling run, spotlighting a different staff member every two weeks.

Name: Darlene Pezzullo
Job: Nurse, Newark Center
Time with BCI: 4 years

1. How did you get started in the field of addiction treatment?
I have been a nurse for 37 years. The first few years I worked in the Medical Surgical Department of a Hospital and then a Geriatric Rehabilitation Center as a Treatment nurse. Then the next 20 years were spent as a Case Manager for USHC, AETNA and Cigna Medical Insurance Companies. I had spent so many years behind a desk working in an office, I felt that I had lost the one on one contact with clients. I missed that. Don't get me wrong, I loved nursing no matter how I could care for my patients, but I truly missed the hands-on aspect of nursing.

In 1998 my husband and I relocated to Delaware from Northern New Jersey. I landed a job at Upper Bay Services and Counseling, I worked in the Sunrise program, which was responsible for the direct care of clients being discharged from long term psychiatric facilities and reintroduced to society. This program allowed me to get directly involved with patient care again. After 3 years, the program closed down and I took a job with Northeast Treatment Center’s Kirkwood Detox. This facility offers a short term, inpatient detox program for alcohol and drugs. This was my first taste of the addiction field.

One of the part-time nurses I worked with at Detox was Ena Dryden, a full-time nurse at BCI Lancaster site. She informed me that a new facility of BCI would be opening down at the Riverfront for opiate addiction. We discussed the methadone program and what Brandywine had to offer in services to opiate dependent clients, and I was extremely interested, so I was eager to interview for the position. And, here I am 4.5 years later, happy, content, loving my job, my co-workers and the wonderful relaxed atmosphere of the Newark site.

The typical day at the clinic starts around 4:30 in the morning, getting the dispensing pumps ready with methadone, preparing the clinic for new intakes, preparing the exam room for yearly physicals. The nurses observe urines for drug screens scheduled for the clinic as well as the Drug Diversion Program. We offer Suboxone, and alternative choices for clients for opioid treatment. Our department is responsible for keeping accurate medical records on our clients. I assist Dr. Glick with his appointments of clients who see him for continued prescriptions of psychotropic medications.

I think I have a very good open relationship with my clients. I greet them in the morning with a smile, ask them how they’re feeling, and what’s going on with them in their daily lives. I remind the clients of the positive choice they have made by facing their addiction, and taking the right action to better themselves and their families. And that there is "Always Light at the End of their Tunnel."

2. What would people be surprised to know about your job?
That methadone really does work! Through education, counseling and taking methadone, we have seen clients be able to regain their life back, employment, and a happy home.

We are a staff of dedicated, compassionate nurses and counselors who come to work every single day and face our clients with a smile. We watch some succeed in the program, move on to the 30-day program, or no longer need our services. We have done our jobs! But, for the ones who fail, we are here to pick them back up with a smile, and without judgment. They’re no different than we are. Everyone has a story of how their addiction was started and OUR job is to listen and offer the best services and help we can give. I would encourage any nurse with an interest in the Drug and Alcohol field to come and look at the methadone program. These are people just like us. They have their own problems. We’re not here to solve them, we’re here to help them as much as we can, through education.

3. The Newark site had a 25% increase this year in number of clients who had stayed in opioid treatment for one year or more. What do you think is the reason for this?
Dedication of the Newark Staff! We have wonderful, caring, compassionate nurses, concerned and well-educated counselors and a clinic which offers treatment with a smile. Why wouldn't a client want to come our clinic? We care. We offer methadone, counseling, psychiatric treatment and medical care, all wrapped up in one. We are a well-rounded treatment facility. We have made our clients feel comfortable and safe. This type of caring from our staff has allowed us to be the BEST in the industry.

4. Many of our staff express their personality in how they decorate their office – tell us what you have at your work station.
I’m a big New York Giants fan. I’m from northern New Jersey, I grew up right outside the Meadowlands. I have a NYG coffee mug and I hang up newspaper clippings of NYG game highlights, if I can get away with it! With almost every man that walks up to my dispensing window during the football season, we can talk about the teams, players and standings! And I think, they think that’s kind of neat.

I am also known to have holiday decorations in my window, beanie babies, Easter bunnies, St. Patty's pot of gold, Xmas tree, but the best of all is my four stuffed Dwarves named Grumpy, Doc, Dopey, and Sleepy. My office space isn't that big (it's a dispensing window area), but what I have definitely entertains the children while their parents are getting medicated. I like to think I put a smile on everyone's face and it makes their day brighter! "

5. If you had $30,000 to donate to BCI what would you do with it?
I would use the money for a salary for a Prenatal Counselor and/or Case Manager at the Newark site. We have had many young women deliver babies this past year, and they struggled during and after delivery with being on their own, abandoned by their husband, boyfriend, loss of housing, insecurities, mental issues, and facing their own addiction, and difficulty understanding the withdrawal process of their newborn. Our facility could use the education and expertise to help educate and direct these young women. There are many new fathers as well, who could use help with understanding the complete role of parenting. With the addition of a prenatal counselor, it would allow our team at Newark to be versatile and well rounded in all phases of care with our clients.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Women Get Free Breast Cancer Screenings at BCI

The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition was at the Brandywine Counseling Lancaster Avenue Center today providing free mammograms. Between 9:00 and 3:00, 19 female clients and staff took advantage of the service. Many of the clients would not otherwise have been screened. Some were unable to read or write.

Evelyn Handley, receptionist at BCI Alpha, coordinated today’s event. She stepped away from her desk for the day to get the women out to the van, sit with them to help fill out their paperwork, and make everybody feel comfortable. Evelyn had this to say:

“This was a great opportunity for a lot of the women. A lot of our clients here don’t have primary physicians, so [nurse practitioner] Chris Zebley and Dr. Glick were amazing today. They were the ones writing the prescriptions for them to be able to be seen today, and Brandywine Counseling and I are very appreciative of that.

“Melany and Laura [from the Breast Cancer Coalition] were very kind to me, helping me put this together. When I called back to explain about our clients and how early they come here, they were willing to come here an hour earlier, and they did. The nurses here on the vehicle, they’re so kind, they’ve been very patient, because they had no idea it was going to be this many people this fast in the morning. We had the first 12 people show up before 10:30. All of our women have been screened, and I’m appreciative of that. This has been a lot of fun.

“I’d like to thank Chris Zebley first and foremost, and Joyce Bunkley, and Dr. Glick for allowing this to happen. Also Sally Allshouse, who was all for this, and Lynn Fahey and Mark Lanyon helped as well. Also I’d like to give some credit to one of our counselors, Daniel Norvell. This was his idea, I just took on the task, and we got it done!”

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

BCI Gets Out the Vote

This year, Brandywine Counseling helped give people in recovery a voice in the election. 23 of our clients at BCI Alpha registered to vote after counselor Susan Anderson posted instructions and a sample ballot. Today is the day! Vote!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Volunteer Spotlight: Sara Bergamo, Alpha Program

Sara Bergamo is a University of Delaware student spending 400 hours interning with BCI Alpha. In the following Volunteer Spotlight, she talks about her experience in her own words:

I first heard about Brandywine Counseling from a friend I went to school with, who said that BCI was always looking for help from volunteers. I decided to do my internship at Brandywine because I would like to work in the substance abuse field in the future. I liked the clinical aspect of this work and the ability to form therapeutic relationships with clients. I thought volunteering at Brandywine would be eye-opening and a great experience.

Before starting at BCI, I had no idea what to expect. I was nervous because of the stigma that is sometimes attached to this type of work. After starting here, I learned what a great environment BCI is. Everyone who works here is nice, helpful, and very appreciative of the hard work that everyone does. The clients are honest, understanding, and receptive. Brandywine is a very caring work environment. You can really tell that the employees love the work they do and care about both their clients and one another.

While at BCI, I worked in the Alpha building with the outpatient treatment program. I helped counselors write treatment plans, discharge summaries, and progress reports. I also briefly met with clients when their primary counselors were not available, and helped run group sessions. My experience at BCI has been a great one. I’ve learned so much about how to help and reach out to clients. It has opened my eyes to the world of addiction and how difficult recovery is. Talking to people and learning about their experiences, hardships, and triumphs has proven to be incredibly rewarding.

I will take a great deal from my experience at BCI. While this started as an internship to learn about a career in drug and alcohol rehab, it became so much more. Everyone who works here has been patient with me, and has helped me learn a lot. The thing I will most take away from my time here, though, are the bonds that you form with people. Learning about clients on an individual basis has been great, and being able to ask things like, “How are the kids?” or “Did you move into your new house yet?” gives a feeling of connectedness that can’t be matched.

Getting involved has given me a sense of accomplishment and happiness. It feels great to know that I have been able to use my time to benefit both myself and others. Brandywine has truly been a great learning and growing experience, and I’m glad that I’ve gotten to work with the staff and clients here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why We Got Involved! Supporters of The Lighthouse Program Tell Why Giving Feels Great

Since the opening of The Lighthouse Program for women and children, we at Brandywine Counseling have seen a wonderful response from people in the community who want to help out the program by donating time or items. Thank you to all of you!

You’ve volunteered to teach classes for the moms, including crocheting, computers, ceramics, and Life Skills. You’ve donated toys, clothing, a huge train set, five sewing machines for the sewing class, and handmade quilts for the babies. Most impressively, you answered our call to help build a children’s playground, as we raised over $19,500 and surpassed our goal! The playground has been built and gives our kids an outlet for relaxation and releasing stress while their moms work on their recovery.

It’s time now to celebrate you, our donors. We want to share some of your stories, why you gave, and what it meant to you. Though your reasons for giving were quite diverse, you did have something in common: a feeling of personal involvement. By giving, you were also getting something back. And, there was another common thread: Shay Lipshitz, BCI’s Director of Sussex Services. It seems that wherever she goes, Shay can’t help but spread her enthusiasm for the program!

o o o

Miriam Zadek was one of the first friends Shay introduced to Lighthouse. “The Lighthouse program has a superb advocate in Shay,” Miriam says. “Her ability to engage one’s interest, both by providing information about the importance of programs such as Lighthouse, and her willingness to share her own story, can capture the imagination of anyone who has the privilege of hearing it.” Invited to visit the program for a firsthand look, Miriam willingly accepted. “I was struck by the young women[’s] engagement in achieving goals which would lead them to being productive, accomplished, self-sustaining parents and individuals.” However, she also saw a paucity of resources for children's play and learning. She saw the need to rectify this, and decided to support the playground campaign with a donation.

“My husband and I have spent happy summers and year-round visits in Rehoboth, and owned homes here since 1973. We feel, wherever we live, that we have an obligation to give. We have welcomed opportunities to assist several programs in the area, all of which aim to assist people in acquiring the skills to live more comfortable, productive lives. We are especially concerned with the need for educational resources for children. As programs provide opportunities for growth, this makes our world a better place for all. We hope, in giving, that we can encourage others to give, according to their capacity.”

o o o

Suzanne Squires became involved with Lighthouse for a different reason. For her, it was a chance to support addiction recovery, something she has personal experience with as Shay’s sponsor. “Addicted mothers have the hardest time staying with their children,” says Suzanne. “Through the Lighthouse Program, they can be with their children and learn parenting skills.” Upon visiting the program, she found it was “wonderful; very homey and clean.”

She felt she could impact the program in a positive way by donating. “I decided to donate because I thought it was a much needed program. It is a great feeling to know that by contributing, I have helped someone in a very concrete way. Every little bit helps. I think Shay and Brandywine Counseling have made a big difference in a lot of people’s lives. I applaud them!”

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Carol Ann Rudolph became introduced to Lighthouse and Shay through the Seaside Jewish Community. Carol Ann met Shay through her late mother, Dorothy Shor, with whom she used to play mah jong. “Shay told me about her work, and I was totally intrigued by it, and very, very moved by the concept of this program.” After visiting the program, she became even more committed to raising money. “The facility has been done so beautifully. The quality of the work, the space for the counseling is so warm and inviting. It’s a place that’s been built with a sense of dignity and respect for the women, and for the hope they will have a better life, and I truly sense that.”

In September, Carol Ann organized a “Lunch With A Purpose” fundraiser (pictured above) in conjunction with Seaside to benefit Lighthouse. About 60 people attended, the largest turnout the luncheon had ever had. $450 was raised from a raffle including gift certificates, crafts, and art. In addition, guests pledged a number of in-kind donations to the program.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to use your energy and your time for something as purposeful as this program,” Carol Ann says. “These women are now going to be able to be productive in society, and they’re going to be healthy, mentally, physically, emotionally. Then, they will have better lives. The children will have a better quality of life, and a better chance at life in this society.”
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Florence Levy brings a one-of-a-kind perspective as a supporter of Lighthouse. An 84-year-old retired nurse, Florence gave out the first dose of methadone in Delaware in 1968, at Wilmington Hospital. That clinic turned into Brandywine Counseling in 1985. More recently, she became friends with Shay through Seaside Jewish Community.

Florence recalls what a new experience it was to open the clinic with less than ten patients. “I didn’t know a drug addict from a hole in the wall, all I knew was some guy that played a horn in New York City in a dingy bar. That was my opinion of a drug addict! I had no idea what I was dealing with. Everybody said, 'Aren’t you afraid?' Well, I wasn’t afraid of them. I went to conferences in Washington, D.C. and I was the only older white woman without torn jeans and long hair!”

Under Florence’s supervision, the clinic grew, and soon it generated success stories. “We had one young woman who was pregnant, and we started to wean her off of the methadone, and she didn’t know we were weaning her off, she just thought maybe she was getting a touch of the flu. When we gave her the last dose, she was so thrilled and so excited, she was jumping and dancing around. We had a success story! Over the years, I’ve lost track with a lot of them, but it was a rewarding assignment and it was an education for me.”

When Florence learned that Lighthouse was opening, it just made sense to become involved. “I was there for the opening day when Gov. Minner was there. I truly believe in it, and to have their children there is a great asset.” Years ago, Florence would have eagerly taken a more active role in the program, but today she feels the best way she can contribute is through the occasional donation of money and clothes. The reason is simple, and the same as it was forty years ago. “It feels wonderful to help those people.”

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We could not celebrate our donors’ stories without including Shay herself, because in addition to directing the program, and spreading the word to others, she is also a donor. Why does it come so naturally to tell others?

“I tell because I believe in what we do at Brandywine,” she says. “I tell because I know personally that treatment works. I tell because this is a deadly disease that left untreated kills more than the person. Addiction destroys families, homes, health, dreams, hope and dignity. I tell because I am loyal to a company that gave an addict like me a chance to work. I tell because to watch the faces of children who are spared the suffering that comes with active addiction is a joy unparalleled. I want people to put a face on recovery. I do not think people have seen treatment. They hear about it, but have no idea what it looks like.

“I gave because it is a way of giving back the gift I received. Recovery has given me a life that is priceless and my dollars would never even be possible without it. I give because it shows that treatment works, and I give because I am thankful.

“My donation was for the playground. Many of the children have had little fun in their short lives, and I want to hear their laughter and see the moms feel joy from the happiness of their kids. I have a wonderful life, and I am grateful to be clean and sober. I am the one who benefits from my giving. In recovery, it is my obligation to pass on what works, and giving to others works. It has for me.”

The Lighthouse Program is funded by and is part of the system of public services offered by Delaware Health and Social Services, Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. For more information about The Lighthouse Program, please call 302-424-8080.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Network of Partnerships and Technology Makes "Safety Net" Work for Delaware's Severely Ill

One year ago, Brandywine Counseling began an ambitious, multifaceted project targeting Delawareans with some of the most severe needs for substance abuse, mental health, and HIV risk reduction services. Never before in the state had all of these services been connected under one umbrella. Safety Net Services has changed that, and the results so far indicate this approach is working.

We started this program last October with a 5 year grant from CSAT, and admitted our first clients in January. Many of them enter the program through Christiana Care’s Wilmington Hospital. They come to the hospital for emergency care, OB/GYN care, or other services, but also have substance abuse and/or mental health needs which the hospital system is not equipped to treat. Through Safety Net Services, we’ve established a partnership with Christiana Care and other agencies so we can link these patients to appropriate care, whether it’s medication management; HIV outreach, education and risk reduction counseling; or substance abuse treatment.

We are reaching people who could otherwise get “lost in the cracks.” On one occasion, a woman we encountered during street outreach tested positive for HIV on our mobile van. She was ready to be linked to medical care and other services, and also was ready to enter substance abuse treatment. We got her admitted to our program that day, enrolled her in our on-site HIV medical clinic so her health could be monitored, and also connected her with our HIV case management program (NSAFE). She now has easy access to all these services under one roof, increasing the likelihood that she can adhere to medical care and be successful in treatment.

Safety Net Services owes much of its success to technology. Staff have the ability to do “mobile intakes” out in the community, which creates a path of least resistance for clients to enter treatment. We use laptops with wireless air-cards for Internet access to remotely dial into the Brandywine Counseling servers. We also depend on cell phones to keep our team in constant communication with one another, whether it be for a new referral or to contact a client who has been absent for treatment. Constant communication among our staff from various programs lets us assist each client with managing their time and responsibilities, such as keeping appointments.

In the past year, we’ve seamlessly transitioned 75 clients to co-occurring treatment, in which substance abuse and mental health disorders are treated simultaneously. Our average client is 40 years old and female. About half the population is minority. Of the 75, 42 clients had medical problems in addition to HIV that required medication management at our “one stop shop” clinic, with an average of four medical problems per participant. Most (83%) of the clients also have a mental health diagnosis, most commonly major depression. They are also seeking greater stability in regards to living situation, employment and income.

Six months after admission, we measure several indicators of recovery and stability. Our clients show good progress on all measures. None had dropped out of treatment after six months. Two-thirds reported no drug use, half reported no alcohol use, and 40% reported no alcohol or drug use.

Overall, Safety Net Services is making recovery and stability possible for many Delawareans with severe substance abuse and mental health issues. This program has allowed us to focus on some of the most needy individuals in this community, simultaneously addressing multiple critical issues. The interagency partnerships with organizations like Christiana Care, and the new technology available to us, make it possible to reach people who would otherwise have no contact with treatment providers.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Volunteer Spotlight: James Kennedy, Alpha Program

Hi, this is James Kennedy and I'm an intern with Brandywine Counseling Alpha. I first heard about BCI through a friend who is also in recovery. She recommended that I check into working here for my internship for Delaware Tech. I later heard more about it through my advisor at school, who recommended it to me to consider for my internship for my drug/alcohol counseling degree.

I decided to do my internship here for several reasons. I like the diverse and eclectic staff that offer such a wide range of skills and life experiences, from mental health to art groups, to provide a progressive approach to addiction treatment. I also like the tight knit family atmosphere among the staff. From the day of my interview and on, I felt welcomed and part of the team, and I feel it’s this attitude that makes the program so effective and beneficial to our clients.

Honestly, I didn’t know much about BCI’s program before I came in, except that it was an outpatient treatment program, but when I met with Mark Lanyon, I soon learned that it is more than just a simple outpatient program; it’s instead a resource for the clients to treat every aspect of their addiction, including their mental health problems, family problems, and even compulsive gambling issues.

In the time I’ve been here, I have been working on a wide array of projects, such as intakes and assessments, brief face to face sessions with clients, assisting with treatment plan writing and revising, discharge summaries, as well as facilitating several groups here, and at the North Wilmington site, the Plummer Correctional Facility, and the Webb Correctional Center.

I will take away from this experience a greater knowledge of how to treat addiction, how to connect with clients in a friendly yet professional manner, and a beginning knowledge of working with clients in the criminal justice system and those with mental health issues. But I will also be taking with me a better knowledge of myself and how my strengths can fit in with a team. It really is a terrific feeling to get involved and help people in need. It’s a greater high than any drug can offer.

Friday, October 24, 2008

How Might the Presidential Election Impact Needle Exchange in Delaware?

Our friends at Prevention Point Philadelphia are featured in a recent Philadelphia City Paper article, "Hope and (Ex)Change: What the Election Means for Heroin Users." The article describes how Philadelphia’s needle exchange faces limits in its funding, and consequently, on its effectiveness. Due to a federal ban on funding needle exchange, Prevention Point operates with city funding alone. This amounts to much less support than other AIDS prevention programs.

However, a new Presidential administration brings a possibility that the ban could be overturned. What would this mean for programs like Prevention Point, and for Brandywine Counseling in Delaware? What would it mean for injecting drug users?

The most obvious answer is that if federal funds became available, programs would have one more funding source to pursue. It could mean more staff, more supplies, and increased hours of operation.

Besides an increase in available dollars, there is another potential effect. Needle exchange programs would have increased freedom to partner with other community organizations. Imagine that BCI’s van could offer mobile screening or vaccines for infectious diseases besides HIV, and thus combat several dangerous public health epidemics at once. This is not possible under the ban, because the agencies that would do this work are federally funded. Although their staff would not exchange needles themselves, they are not permitted to provide ancillary services to needle exchange participants.

But perhaps the greatest impact would be on another level altogether, and that is to reduce the stigma associated with syringe exchange. Federal funding would be symbolic as a stamp of approval for the practice, from the highest level of government. It would legitimize what we do. It would substantiate the science that has proven the effectiveness of needle exchange at reducing HIV risk. The ripple effects might even extend into substance abuse treatment, lending credibility to harm reduction in general, and allowing providers to follow its principles alongside cognitive behavioral therapy.

Most likely, needle exchange isn’t the foremost issue on our minds as we head toward November 4. Even so, for heroin users here in Delaware, the ramifications are potentially far-reaching.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

2008 Director's Award and President's Award

The Brandywine Counseling Board of Directors presented their 2008 awards on October 21 to recognize members of our staff for their exemplary accomplishments.

The Director's Award was presented this year to co-recipients: Needle Exchange Program Coordinator Rochelle Booker, and Director of HIV Prevention Basha Silverman. Rochelle and Basha have stood ready to help further the mission of Brandywine Counseling in any way they can, from building new programs, to managing outreach and the Needle Exchange Program, to creating community awareness.

The President’s Award was presented to Director of Sussex County Services Shay Lipshitz. In this past year, Shay’s initiative and dedication have moved her to oversee the building of the Lighthouse Program, monitoring expenses while ensuring quality, and continuing to manage programs and secure innovative grant money.

These awards were given in recognition, not only for these employees’ years of dedicated service, but of their dedication above and beyond their job descriptions. They have truly shown Excellence in Service. David A. Oppold, President of the Board of Directors, presented the awards to the honorees, and said, “Please accept our heartfelt thanks and admiration for all that you have done in furthering the mission of BCI.”

Congratulations to Rochelle, Basha, and Shay for this well-deserved honor.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Dedication of The Linda DeShields Outreach Center

Brandywine Counseling's Outreach Center, located at 2814 Lancaster Avenue, Wilmington, has been renamed in honor of Linda DeShields, our first Director of Outreach Services. The dedication coincides with the near-completion of renovations to the facility to accommodate our outreach staff and human resources. The following proclamation was made October 21 by our Board of Directors:

Board of Directors
Brandywine Counseling, Inc.

Whereas, Brandywine Counseling, Inc., a non-profit organization, has announced a Building Dedication in establishing The Linda DeShields Outreach Center;

Whereas, Linda DeShields Outreach Center will establish a focus towards "intervention and outreach to addicts;"

Whereas, Brandywine Counseling, Inc., has a mission to intervene and provide outreach;

Whereas, All outreach and intervention in the Disease of Addiction is the key to prevention;

Whereas, Outreach and intervention begins with hope, self acceptance and forgiveness;

Whereas, Linda DeShields believed that with tolerance and compassion we embrace diversity;

Whereas, Linda DeShields believed that Together we make a difference through outreach,

Whereas, Brandywine Counseling, Inc. invites all to declare October 21, 2008 as the dedication of its outreach center, as the Linda DeShields Outreach Center and this Center will act as a model for all of us to follow, each and every day;

NOW, THEREFORE, The Board of Brandywine Counseling, Inc. hereby dedicate and proclaim October 21, 2008 as the dedication of its annex building as The Linda DeShields Outreach Center and invite all to observe and honor her memory.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have here unto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of Brandywine Counseling, Inc. to be affixed this 21 day of October 2008.

David Oppold, President

ATTEST: Lisa Sherwood, Interim Secretary

2008 Annual Report

Brandywine Counseling's 2008 Annual Report is now available for viewing. Click to see our many highlights over the past year and goals for the coming year. Here's a few examples:
  • All sites have reduced the wait time for psychiatric services by 4 to 5 weeks.

  • 412 opioid treatment patients have at least 90 days of abstinence.

  • The needle exchange has identified 7 HIV positives in less than two years.

  • The Lighthouse Program will expand its capacity from 10 to 14 women.

  • Alpha North Wilmington increased its patient census from 28 to 60 after moving to the Edgemoor Community Center.

Thank you to the staff for their excellent work this past year. And thank you to all our donors and volunteers who supported us. We look forward to another year of successes and lives saved in 2009.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Daily Message 10/15/08

You can't live "in" today, if you are still focusing on the regrets of yesterday. Examine the past, repair what you can and move into today... let God's love, lead you into the future.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Women's Health Screening Day at BCI November 6

If you are a female BCI client, you may be eligible for a free mammogram on-site, Thursday November 6.

The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition will be at the Lancaster Avenue Center with their Women's Mobile Health Screening Van from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The address is 2713 Lancaster Avenue, Wilmington, Delaware, 19805.

The American Cancer Society estimates that a woman in the United States has a 1 in 7 chance of developing invasive breast cancer during her lifetime. Approximately 3 million women in the U.S. are living with breast cancer: slightly over 2 million have been diagnosed with the disease and an estimated 1 million who do not yet know they have the disease. Mammography screening may detect the disease before symptoms occur.

Several women have already signed up for their mammogram November 6, but we have many slots still remaining. Call Laura at 1-888-672-9647 to schedule your appointment, and to learn more about free health screenings for those who qualify. Most insurances accepted.

You may also call Evelyn Handley at 472-0381 for more information.

Daily Message 10/14/08

Own the choices you make. Hold yourself, not others accountable for all that you do.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Volunteer Spotlight: Felecia Doyle, Outreach Support

My name is Felecia Doyle. I am doing my internship at BCI HIV/AIDS Outreach Program. I first learned about the program from seeing the sign on Lancaster Avenue. I started researching what programs they offered and was interested in how much the staff helps the community. Being a Delaware Tech student in the Drug and Alcohol Degree program we are required to complete 200 hours of unpaid internship. Not only am I learning from my experience here, I am helping the staff achieve their goals by offering my support.

Before I started at BCI, I figured the staff had to have a heart in working with the community that is at risk for HIV. Once I started, the staff welcomed me with open arms. Since the facility is under renovations, the staff is working out of one room. Even though the space is tight, they all work together like one family.

I am currently working on data entry for the NEP, Needle Exchange Program. This program manages the clients who are new to NEP and who have utilized NEP as repeat clients. These clients are given numbers to use as their identification. Another program I am helping with is the CSAT GPRA, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment Government Performance and Results Act. This is through SAMHSA, which funds grants to provide substance abuse and mental health services to states and communities. This program monitors clients for a year.

I have learned a lot with the needle exchange program. I believe that this is a great program to help the community. The outreach workers go out into the community to promote the program, give out safe sex kits, bleach kits and let clients know about the rapid free HIV testing.

What I would take away with me from the experience is to have had the pleasure of meeting such great people who work at the HIV Outreach. All of the staff have hearts of gold and give so much to the community. I like to help people and bring smiles to their faces. If more people would open up their hearts it would make such a big difference.

Friday, October 10, 2008

5 Questions for Tanyel Johnson, Counselor

5 Questions is our ongoing feature where we introduce you to the people who make Brandywine Counseling run, spotlighting a different staff member every two weeks.

Name: Tanyel Johnson
Job: Counselor, Alpha Drug Free Program
Time with BCI: 4 years

1. Tell us what you do at BCI.
I provide encouragement for clients who are coming through the disease of addiction, who are addressing their issues - for whatever the reason, whether they were coerced or if they are self-referred here. I offer feedback for clients, pointing out discrepancies about things that they say. I provide referrals for clients who are in need of other resources than what I can provide here at Brandywine, like clothes closet referrals, mental health referrals.

I also listen. That’s a big part of my job. Listening, and hearing things that clients are saying without saying. Watching for body language, watching for any problems with the ability to communicate, because a lot of our clients are not capable of articulating specific needs. Showing genuine congruence. I think because I am in recovery, I can feel the pain that a lot of people go through. Because the disease of addiction, it doesn’t discriminate. It tears families apart. It destroys people’s very soul.

2. What can I expect if I come to your group?
I run the Women’s Education Group, which is held on Tuesdays at 10. And I gotta put a plug in for Brandywine! They worked with me, because I go to school now, and so they adjusted the schedule of the group. So now it runs Tuesdays at 10:00. And then I run the Relapse Prevention Group Tuesday night at 5:30 to 7.

For my Women’s Group, I provide salads. We do a mix-up, because I know a lot of our clients are strained when it comes to nutritional issues. So, trying to make sure that a little filling happens on Tuesday at 10:00, that’s a big difference. It started because I was trying to breathe life into the Women’s Group, trying to increase my population. When you mention food, folks show up. And it just works. I am open to my women bringing their toddlers, their young folks to the group, because babysitting is an issue for women. And a lot of times, they bring their children in and they eat, and that’s always a win-win. [And] my population did increase. So, it worked.

I also have a small clothes closet in my office that is available for my ladies, when they express, “Y’know, I need a shirt.” “Well, c’mon. Let’s go in my office and look and see.”

3. Why did you decide to work in addiction treatment?
It was an assignment by my Creator. Actually I’ve been preparing for this role all my life. So when it came to pass that I needed to make the change in my life, I evaluated what I had, and how I could continue my life on a positive note, and drug addiction counseling was it. I realized I needed to go back to school as a part of this, because just wanting to do it wasn’t enough. I needed to improve academically, how to write a sentence, how to speak. It took me going back to school. I did that. I got my Associates degree.

And as I journeyed, I realized more and more that this was something I really wanted to do. Especially with women, knowing all of the issues that I personally went through as I began my journey of sobriety. I was faced with things like, how do you get a job when you have a police record? And when you have been marked “unsuitable” for so many years, how do you build self esteem?

So my own journey needed to play itself out in other people’s lives, not to change anyone, but to show that it can be done. You can do it if you work hard, if you open up and let the information in, and know that it’s not about you anyway, it’s about helping another person. And watching families be destroyed made me closer to this issue. So that’s why I stay and why I do it. I feel it.

4. Tell us your favorite client success story.
A female came to me as a referral from Gateway Foundation. She had already done six months [of residential treatment], and we were her aftercare, and we were tying her into the next piece, which was housing. She needed to get a support system, and she needed to get a place to live. She named everything that she wanted when she walked in our door, and piece by piece, she accomplished each one of them.

She now is in a place of her own, she has a new renovated apartment, she now is chairing her home NA group. She is employed full time on her job. She is going to community college. I’m a big advocate for going back. When my clients come in, one of the first things I suggest is community college, and this client followed up with it.

So, all of the things that she came in this door saying that she wanted to do, she’s done each one of them. She was successfully discharged recently, and has been asked to speak at various places on what recovery has done for her. I think that was a big success story.

5. You can tell a lot about a person from their office. Tell us what you have in your office.
As you see over here: “Live, laugh, and love.” “Dream, believe, and discover,” are my philosophies. I also say, “How do you change? By being honest, open-minded, and willingness.” And I put these on the wall so that my clients, when they come in and do a survey, they’ll get a feel of who I am.

Then over on this side, are my accomplishments, because these are the degrees that I’ve afforded myself, because of hard work, because of some sacrifices that I had to make, and I like to put this on display. When I got my CADC [Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor], it was Lynn Fahey and Mark Lanyon and Luther [Whiting] who prepped me for my orals. And I had failed my orals. It was simple enough, but I kept stumbling through it. So when they took charge, giving me a mock audience, and the feedback that actually pushed me where I needed to go, I think that was my shining moment. When I finally passed the orals and became CADC, I had proven to my colleagues, my peers, that I was qualified to become a drug and alcohol counselor.

Then, the center of my life is my Heavenly Father. And of course I believe in recovery and sobriety, which is posted there. And “New Life.” It’s about nature. If we pay more attention to how nature replenishes itself, then I think we would get a feel of what we need to do for each other. It’s important to remember, to continue to encourage, assist, detach, and stay healthy. So that’s why my office looks like it looks.

"To Have Their Kids With Them - It's A Motivator."

Denise Kitson, Lighthouse Program Director, is interviewed in the latest issue of the Coastal Point newspaper. She provides an inside look at this one-of-a-kind program in Delaware, including our therapeutic philosophy and how the residents spend their days. I encourage you to check it out!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Photos From the 3rd Annual Sober Softball Tournament

On Friday, September 19, 2008 Brandywine Counseling sponsored our third annual Sober Softball Tournament in honor of Recovery Month. Treatment staff, clients, friends, and family gathered at Sports At the Beach in Georgetown and competed in teams of nine. It was a day of games, food, friends, and sober fun.

The tournament was a great success and a lot of fun!!! We had about eighty players and fans turn out for the event. Thresholds, Aquila, Hudson Health, Fellowship, The Lighthouse, and Brandywine Counseling all played hard. The championship game came down to Aquila and Hudson Health. Hudson pulled ahead to take the lead and won the whole tournament!! Thank you to every one who came out and cheered, played, cooked, and supported our third annual softball tournament. See you all next year!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Brandywine Counseling Job Fair: October 22

BCI will hold our first ever Job Fair on Wednesday October 22, from 1 PM to 5 PM at the Lancaster Avenue Center.

Available positions are for full-time Counselors, Case Managers, and Clinical Supervisors. All positions require AA and CADC or Bachelors or Masters degree with CADC preferred.

Meet our staff, take a tour of our facilities, and enjoy light refreshments.

The address is 2713 Lancaster Avenue, Wilmington, Delaware, 19805. For more information call (302) 656-2348, ext. 108.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Ten Thousand Needles Off Delaware's Streets Through Exchange

Delaware's needle exchange program passed another huge milestone recently when we exchanged our 10,000th syringe. What an accomplishment for a program now entering its twentieth month of operation. Six months ago, our total was at 3,500.

Every syringe has been exchanged for a clean one, meaning ten thousand dirty ones are no longer on the streets of Wilmington. Because it's a one-for-one exchange, there is incentive for participants to bring every clean one back after it’s been used. So although we’ve given out ten thousand syringes, they are being returned. The effect is not needle litter, but the opposite.

Here’s some more impressive numbers:
  • We’ve enrolled a total of 353 participants.
  • A total of 1697 exchanges have taken place.
  • 132 participants were referred by another needle exchange participant.
  • 17 participants have entered drug treatment.
  • Since November 2007, 621 rapid HIV tests have been done on our van. 7 positives have been identified.