Friday, September 26, 2008

The Saying Goodbye to Addiction Tour at BCI

Brandywine Counseling has received a copy of HBO's "Addiction" DVD set from our friends at The Discovering Alcoholic, as part of "The Saying Goodbye to Addiction Tour." The idea is to send this excellent, award-winning documentary from program to program so that a wide audience may benefit from the information and first-person experiences.

What better way to close out Recovery Month here at BCI than to send the DVD on a mini-tour to all our different sites, and show it on a loop in our waiting area? So that is what we are doing starting Monday September 29. The package will make its way from Lancaster to Alpha, to Edgemoor, to Newark, and then to our Sussex County sites.

So be on the lookout for the “Addiction” tour when you’re at BCI in the coming week. Watch the film, take a look through the companion book, and leave your message in the logbook. If you happen to miss it, you can always catch it online.

Then after we’ve enjoyed and learned from it, join us in “saying goodbye” as we send “Addiction” on to the next deserving recipient, H.E.R.O.I.N. Hurts. This Delaware organization provides parents, family members, and friends of persons with addictions; with educational, emotional, and social support, which will enable them to advocate for health, security, education, and rehabilitation of people with substance addictions.

As TDA says, “Wouldn't it be nice if we all could say goodbye to addiction…”

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Daily Message 9/24/08

You can have doubts along the way and you can regret decisions that you have made. You can choose the wrong path and sometimes get lost. Life doesn't come with instructions. However, it does come with ten rules. The ten commandments.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Daily Message 9/23/08

If...we spent as much time on actually DOING the things, we need to we spend on THINKING about, DOING those things...they'd be DONE !

Friday, September 19, 2008

Photos from the Recovery Month Picnic and Open House

About 50 guests gathered to celebrate recovery and the opening of BCI Alpha's newest location on September 18, 2008. The weather was sunny with a nice breeze! We enjoyed a barbeque, raffle, bake-off, and educational displays. We want to thank all the individuals and businesses who donated items or cooked food. And great job to Monalee West who spearheaded the planning of this event.

Click here to view our album of photos from the picnic, as well as take a look inside our new office at the Edgemoor Community Center.

Daily Message 9/19/08

In our quest for recovery, we find and learn so many things, about ourselves and others. Love, respect, honor, many things that we thought we had lost. They were only misplaced. Found and earned once again, they should be cherished.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Daily Message 9/17/08 not prejudiced. It does not favor one social or economic level over another. Nor is one culture, religion or sex, safe from the clutches and stronghold of addiction. It knows, NO boundaries. Daily, we fight the strength of addiction... but with the strength of our recovery WE CAN WIN !!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Volunteer Spotlight: Jennifer Fletcher, Alpha Center

Jennifer Fletcher volunteered with Brandywine Counseling Alpha for several Fridays to do a project we called "Creating a Welcoming Entrance."

We know that first impressions matter when someone walks into our program for treatment, so we decided we wanted to make the atmosphere a little more attractive. Jennifer saw our ad posted online, and based on her skills in working with people and being creative, she was confident that she could do a good job at this. She was excited about the opportunity to help BCI succeed. We gave her lots of creative freedom, and she did not disappoint us!

First, she decided to spruce up our outside entrance by painting our front door and railing the Brandywine colors, dark blue and burgundy. This was a great idea, as we can now give people directions by telling them, “Follow the blue railing!” But Jennifer wasn’t done yet. She also added a splash of color to our reception area. Our staff picked out a color called “Tranquil Retreat.” It really does have a calming effect when you walk in! I think our clients would agree that it does feel more welcoming around here.

We enjoyed having Jennifer here and we thank her for the time she put in to do this work!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lighthouse Program to Open Re-Entry House

The Lighthouse Program will be opening a re-entry house on October 1, 2008, where moms and their kids will live as they prepare to complete their treatment and live independently. The house will provide an opportunity for the women to practice what they’ve learned in treatment, in the community.

A woman eligible for the re-entry house must be in the final phase of her treatment, the re-entry phase. She will be employed in the community, and may have a car. She will pay a reduced rent, so she can continue to save and meet her self-sufficiency goals. Program requirements become less restrictive, as the client will continue to provide drug screens, attend one group a week, and receive case management as needed to continue her transition to independent living with her children.

Each re-entry resident will also make a commitment to work one shift a week at The Lighthouse inpatient facility in Ellendale. She will serve as a role model and demonstrate responsibility and clean and sober living skills. After 3 months, she may submit a proposal for “Candidate Out,” and graduate the program.

We are very excited about this addition! It will allow us to serve more new women as we phase successful clients out of the program, while maintaining their input and connection to The Lighthouse.

Friday, September 12, 2008

5 Questions for Marty Nagy, 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: Marty Nagy
Job: Counselor, Drug Court Diversion Program
Time with BCI: 6 years

1. Tell us about your job and what brought you to BCI.
I work in the Court of Common Pleas Drug Diversion. Basically, it’s a first offenders’ education program. So I do groups three times a week, see clients individually as needed, get them back on track, and educate them on addiction. I think if we can keep an open mind, and learn to listen to the client, and have the ability to go where they are, then we can perhaps bring them to where they can be.

I wanted to give back what I was given. I’m a recovering person, and I just owe a lot to the counselor that I had when I was in rehab. She inspired me to want to do this and make a difference. I worked in Core [BCI’s methadone program] back in the 90’s, and left, and then when I came back, the Diversion Program was available. And I’ve really been grateful that I’ve had a second chance, and have enjoyed everything. It’s just been a great place.

2. What can I expect if I come to your group?
I do three education groups a week. I think my years of experience in the field [makes the group unique.] And I do have a sense of humor that I try to bring to group, and not downplay the seriousness of addictions, but bring a little levity, so that they’re not ill at ease to learn.

We have a group on marijuana. And so, I’ll open up group by saying that the first person that was clean from marijuana developed the Weed Eater, and became famous. Just goofy little stuff like that. And they laugh, and they say, “All right, c’mon now!” And then I get on with the facts. So I try to kind of catch their attention.

3. Tell us your favorite client success story.
There was one person that was able to manage their mental health needs. They saw Gordon [Pizor, our psychologist,] and they got some help through him. Then, they were able to get on some medicine through their doctor, and they were able to stay clean. They had been smoking marijuana, kind of as an adjunct. They successfully completed our program, they got a job, they got better relationships with their children, and their marriage improved. So it was pretty successful that, all the way around, things clicked once the abuse had stopped.

4. Many of our staff decorate their office with personal items. Tell us what you have in your office.
I have some educational posters. I have a picture of a natural park. I do have a couple of handouts on marijuana and some information on other agencies. And I have three cartoons that are my favorites. One is a person standing in line between alcohol and drugs, and Krispy Kreme. And they’re choosing the doughnut line. Which is good, y’know? And the other cartoon is a bunch of deer looking at the hunters and they’re commenting on how stupid they are.

5. If you had $30,000 to donate to BCI what would you do with it?
I’d like to see it go to HIV prevention and to the outreach. I just feel very strongly that, of all the many things we do, that’s sort of at my heartstrings. And I think that’s where I would like it to go, if I could give it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Live United! United Way Kicks Off 2008 Campaign

United Way of Delaware kicked off its 2008 campaign September 4. The state's largest charitable campaign raises over $20 million a year for more than 100 member agencies including BCI.

The slogan for this year's campaign is, "Live United." As you can see in this video, the message is that we all have the power to make a difference, by giving, advocating, and volunteering.

At BCI, United Way funds support our HIV Prevention and Outreach Services. Your donation means we can continue to send our dedicated and caring staff like Dee and Claudette out on the streets every day to educate, test for HIV, and make referrals. If you believe we need to stop the spread of HIV in Wilmington, please support our work with a donation.

If your workplace has never run a United Way campaign, it’s easy to start! Contact United Way at (302) 573-3700 and they will set you up with everything you need. You can request guest speakers from BCI or other member agencies for your campaign rally.

There is no wrong way to give. Select the Community Impact Fund, and your gift will be distributed among all member agencies. Select a Strategic Focus Area, like Healthy and Independent Communities, to direct your gift toward a specific issue. You can also designate your gift to Brandywine by selecting code 165, or to another agency of your choice.

So get involved and Live United! As the video says, it’s our state, our community, let’s build it up together.

Daily Message 9/10/08

Dear God, we ask that you remind us, of the blessing, that is our recovery. Of the beauty, we now find, in every sober day. Of the joy that's in our hearts. Hear our prayer, that others join us.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Daily Message 9/9/08

It always amazes me... each time... that someone says they are asking God " to take control of their life ". Then they proceed to try and tell God, which direction " they " want to go!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Daily Message 9/8/08

Imagine...just for a moment...that you hear God's voice. That He is whispering in your ear. What would He be saying to you?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Volunteer Spotlight: Eul Lee, Lighthouse Program

Eul Lee does a weekly "Creative Expression" group with the moms at The Lighthouse Program on Wednesday afternoons. They do everything from crocheting, to painting, to making jewelry. She also teaches computer skills. In our latest volunteer spotlight, Eul tells us about her experience in her own words:

I had been looking for ways to help women in trouble, particularly female prisoners who have kids whom they could not tuck in every night. My idea was to teach them to make tuck-in blankets for their kids as a way to connect with their kids while making them and for the kids to feel their moms around them especially at night. I had no idea what [The Lighthouse Program] would be like. Then, I found the problems these women are in are much bigger than I had ever imagined.

I had initially tried to teach them how to crochet. Some already knew how to crochet and some didn't. Even very novice ones picked up crochet very quickly, generally much quicker than others I had taught before. I found they are very creative and resourceful. They enjoy small projects they can finish in an hour or two and show off, such as painting a picture frame, making earrings, etc.

I also tried to work with them on computer skills. They all enjoyed Mavis Beacon program (a very good software to help improve typing skills) very much. Most of the women seem to have some knowledge in MS Word and some other MS software, but not in depth.

I saw the real improvements in most women as weeks go by. I see smiles on most women there. Sometimes I hear them sing. Some would encourage others and try to get the newly joined ones involved in activities. Some decided to leave the program, which is a very heart breaking experience for me. I wish I could see them again somewhere some time.

While they have to live with the consequences of their choices - losing kids and family, sometimes their freedom, and precious years of their lives - it is good that there are programs such as BCI if they are willing to get help.

I am not sure whether I can take much credit for helping them, but I do hope they acquire the skills they need to cope with the lifetime recovery and learn the importance of their soberness in their kids' lives.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

You Can Make a Difference Today. Here's How.

The BCI Blog is participating for the first time in the Non-Profit Blog Exchange Virtual Event. Each participant writes about another participant's blog, and they write about yours. The result is that everyone gets new readers and attention for the work they do.

The blog I was asked to write about is the Tutor/Mentor Connection. This Chicago organization seeks to connect people from around the world with information and networks that help support the growth of comprehensive, volunteer based tutor/mentor programs. As it turns out, I was a volunteer mentor myself a number of years ago. In fact, the satisfaction I got from mentoring what was led me to my present career in the non-profit field.

There are many things I like about this blog, but what most impressed me was that there is a call to action in nearly every post. This one immediately grabbed my attention by asking, “Did you get up this morning inspired to do something special?” and then going on to tell me, “There is something you can do EVERYDAY that can help make this a better world.”

T/MC, like BCI, serves a low-income, underprivileged population. Daniel Bassill, who writes their blog, knows that to bring about real change for these people, he must convince others of the urgency of taking action. It is not enough that people simply think mentoring is important; he wants them to volunteer, donate, and spread the word to others.

The question is, what makes someone take that step from being a supporter to being involved? What makes them step outside their comfort zone? Daniel believes peer-to-peer networking is the key. If you hear about a good cause from a trusted friend, aren’t you more likely to pay attention, than if you just see it on a Web site, or read it in a newsletter? And once you’re paying attention, you’re probably more likely to volunteer or donate to that cause.

As a blogger for BCI, I think of myself as starting a conversation with a virtual megaphone. I can inform you and inspire you, but then it’s up to you to continue that conversation. Maybe you email your friends what James Harrison said about the needle exchange. Maybe you become a fan of our Facebook Page, so your friends will ask you, “Brandywine Counseling? What’s that?” Old-fashioned conversation works too: “Hey, did you know The Lighthouse needs school supplies?

Networking matters in so many settings. Just look at how our clients decide to enter treatment for their drug addiction. We do not advertise our services. Our biggest recruiting tool is word of mouth, from our indigenous outreach workers who walk the streets. When a person is contemplating whether to enter treatment, that is a huge step outside their comfort zone. They can best be persuaded to take that leap by a messenger they identify with and trust.

So I would recommend the Tutor-Mentor Connection blog to anyone who believes in the power of peer to peer networking. And I challenge you to think about how you could make a difference, today, using your own personal network. How will you continue the conversation?

Daily Message 9/3/08

We often wear many hats, during the course of a day. We change them according to who and what we need to be, at a given moment. We may start out as the "Mom" or "Dad and end it as the "plumber" or "cab driver". Somehow, we get it done...or we don't. After all, there are only 24 hours in a day. The last hat of the day however, should be the one that keeps us true to ourselves and to our God, as we close our eyes and thank him for our day.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Daily Message 9/2/08

You don't have to be an deliver a great message. You can make a difference in someones life, just by having the right words at the right time.