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!