Monday, December 28, 2009

There's Still Time to Donate in '09!

Dear Friends,

We at BCI hope you had a wonderful and joyous holiday, and we want to say thank you for your support all year!

If you're considering a year-end charitable gift, there is still time! And if you've already contributed, please forward this post to a friend.

There were so many BCI success stories to celebrate in 2009: Dawn's story, James's story, and Kevin's story, just to name a few. Right now, over 2,000 people are working on their recovery and trying to become the next success story. Your donation to Brandywine Counseling just might make a big difference for that person. It just might save a life.

You may donate conveniently and securely on All donations are tax-deductible. Your help makes our work possible.

Have a very Happy New Year, and thank you in advance for your generosity!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Giving Tree Video: We're Happy Cause We're Helpin' People!

Here's some video from yesterday's Giving Tree toy giveway. This is what the holidays are all about. In true BCI style, we partied, we joked, we sang, and we got emotional to see some of our favorite success stories stop by. A big, big thank you to Jenner's Pond, Jillian Grace Salon, Sedona Fitness and Spa, and BCI staff for donating these wonderful gifts!

From our BCI family to yours, have a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Giving Tree Creates Holiday Magic for BCI Clients

Today, Brandywine Counseling hosted a very special event, our first annual Giving Tree party. With the help of some generous friends, we made a little holiday magic and spread some cheer.

During the month of December, a toy drive was held to make some holiday wishes come true for our clients’ children. Several friends of BCI placed Giving Trees in their workplace, including Jenner’s Pond, Jillian Grace Salon, and Sedona Fitness and Spa. Their employees took tags from the tree and bought toys matching the age and gender of the child. We were wowed to see the mountain of gifts that came in! BCI staff also took part in the drive with our own Giving Trees at three of our locations.

Today, it was time for our elves to deliver the gifts in time for the Christmas Holiday. We hosted a “Give A Child A Gift" party at the Outreach Center, and we invited our clients to come over and choose a gift to give to their child. Refreshments were served and there was wrapping paper for parents to wrap gifts themselves.

One mom who picked up gifts for her five kids said, “It was very nice for Brandywine to do something like this.” A grandmother of two said, “This really helps. She’s gonna love the Playdoh!” Another mom who took a Lite Brite home to her daughter said, “It’s supposed to be for the kids, but it makes you feel good, too.”

You can see photos from the party here, and a video is coming shortly! Thank you to our generous donors for making our first-ever Giving Tree a success! You took time to reflect on all the “gifts” you have in your life and remembered those who could use a little help this year. You helped make this a wonderful time of year for them!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

BCI Is Open Saturday; Closed Sunday

BCI will be open today, Saturday 12/19, for medication pickup. We will be closed Sunday 12/20. Anyone who picks up medication Sunday must report today.

Stay tuned to our blog for updates on our weather-related schedule.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Last Minute Shopper? Use GoodShop and Earn a Donation for BCI.

Hey, are you doing your last-minute Christmas shopping? Here's a great way to support BCI while you shop. Buy your gifts through GoodShop, select BCI as your charity, and a percentage of your purchase goes to us!

The snow is coming this weekend... no need to go out to the mall in the storm, stay inside and shop with GoodShop!

And, don't forget to use GoodSearch, which raises a penny for BCI with every Internet search you do. You can download a convenient toolbar to use with Explorer, Firefox, or the browser of your choice.

Search the Web Free coupons at top stores
Raise money for BCI just by searching the web and shopping online!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Research BCI Before You Give, with the GuideStar Exchange

Are you thinking about a donation to charity but want to do your research first? Now, more information than ever before is available to you through the GuideStar Exchange. Find out anything you want to know about a charity, and compare one to another!

BCI knows how important this information is to you, and that's why we've become a GuideStar Exchange Valued Partner. This means we've updated our non-profit report to the fullest, including general info, financials, tax forms, programs, key policies, and key people. (Some of the information requires free registration to view.)

The GuideStar Exchange is an initiative designed to connect nonprofits with current and potential supporters. It allows us to share a wealth of up-to-date information with you to allow you to research and compare the facts of each organization. So visit BCI on GuideStar today and make an informed decision about your giving.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

James on Living With HIV/AIDS: “This Does Not Stop You.”

James was one of the first clients I met when I started at Brandywine 8 years ago. He was our first client in the NSAFE program back in 1997. In this video interview, he talks about living with HIV/AIDS and the help he’s received from NSAFE. It is a pleasure to see how well he is doing today and to bring you his story.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Lawyers In Jeans Raise Money for BCI

The law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP has donated $225 to BCI that they raised with an employee “Jeans Day” fundraiser. Thank you for this generous gift!

Skadden Associate Jennifer Karpe, a BCI Board member, organized this event. On December 4, employees donated $5 each to wear jeans to work. It looks like they got great participation!

The Wilmington office of Skadden, Arps handles corporate transactions, litigations, and reorganizations and restructurings for Fortune 500 companies and corporate clients. The firm places a high value on community service:

In addition to actual pro bono legal work, our lawyers have been active in a wide variety of charitable endeavors, working with, sitting on boards of, and even running, many types of civic, community, cultural, governmental, educational and medical organizations, a number of which seek to improve the lives of the less fortunate.

So we say a big “Yeh!” to Skadden for their commitment to giving back and for doing it in a fun way. It makes a big difference.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Beds Available Now at Moms and Kids’ Residential Program

The Lighthouse residential program is actively seeking referrals to fill available beds. New management would like you to know we have several vacancies for women who have children and need substance abuse and mental health treatment in a modified therapeutic community. Admission criteria are:

1. Women with up to two children under age 8
2. Mother must have custody or DFS reunification plan (or working towards) in place
3. With/without insurance
4. Authorization by the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health’s (DSAMH’s) enrollment and eligibility unit

Please call 302-424-8080 or email Natascha Hughes at nhughes[at]bcidel[dot]org if you have a referral. Also, please feel free to forward this message or post it at your facility.

Thank you so much for your assistance,
Brandywine Counseling Staff

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Your Donations In Action!

What do a roller derby team, a yoga organization, a Cleveland Browns fan club, and a retirement plan consultant have in common?

They all made donations to Brandywine Counseling in the past year. The Wilmington City Ruff Rollers helped us test 56 people for HIV. The Greater Wilmington Yoga Association helped us plan therapeutic activities to our clients. The Beach Dawgs helped brighten the holidays for recovering moms and their kids. And IPA Northeast helped us replace outdated computers with new ones. We are so proud to have such an eclectic group of donors!

These organizations may be very different, but they have one thing in common – they believe addicted people deserve help to recover. And they know that by supporting BCI’s work, they can help make sure that help is there. They took action, and they got something back: the joy of knowing they made a difference!

You can feel that joy for yourself. All you need is a desire to help. Contact BCI today to find an opportunity that fits your own personal vision. We will work together with you to turn it into meaningful action.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Marijuana No Big Deal? It Was For Him.

“It’s just weed!”

“It’s no big deal! It’s not like it’s crack or heroin.”

“It makes you all spacey, makes you laugh [cos it’s fun lol]! Go for it!”

Every day, thousands of teens pick up their first marijuana joint, because this is what they hear. They’re just looking for a good time. They’re curious. They think it won’t do any long term harm. Mike was one of those kids. He heard those things, too. But for him, marijuana became a very big deal. In fact, it became a trap that took ten years to get out of.

Mike started smoking weed at 16. For years, he used it just to relax, and no harm came of it. That soon changed. His grades started to suffer in college, and he dropped out. He drifted from job to job. He began selling drugs, was arrested for heroin possession, and did one year in jail. He continued to smoke pot with his friends and to deal with stress in his life. All the while, life’s opportunities were passing him by, but he was okay with that. He didn’t think much of it.

Things may have continued in a downward direction, had his probation officer not intervened in 2008. After a marijuana-positive drug screen, Mike was referred to treatment at Brandywine Counseling Alpha. His was one of 1613 admissions that year funded by the State of Delaware where marijuana was the primary drug of choice. He’d never tried to quit before, but he was open to the idea. It turned out to be much harder than he expected.

Mike’s counselor, Sara DeHoyos, worked with him to address his triggers for marijuana use. He tried other strategies to cope with stress. “I did other things like write music and play basketball,” he recalls. “I would let go of things I couldn’t control.” Sometimes, it worked, but sometimes it didn’t. He had to deal with the arrest and incarceration of his girlfriend, and a cutback in his hours at his job. When it became too much, it was just easier to pick up weed again. Marijuana was in his circle of friends, his mindset, and his thought processes.

Sara tried different exercises with Mike to increase his motivation to quit. They role-played, with him as the counselor and her as the client. He wrote a goodbye letter to marijuana. They talked about marijuana’s health effects: impairing the brain’s ability to form memories, exposing the lungs to more cancer-causing tar than a cigarette, and slowing coordination. Still, Mike struggled to stop using.

“Writing the goodbye letter would’ve helped if I was 100% sure about quitting,” Mike admits. “I did it to please my counselor instead of helping myself.” He wasn’t attending his required groups either. He had few options left: Transfer to a new counselor? Go to an inpatient program? Move to Florida to live with his father? None of those options was attractive.

One day, trying to make up his mind what to do, Mike asked his counselor a question. He asked her to make him a list. “Where will I end up if I keep using?” he asked. “What would happen?” Sara wrote down a long list and handed to him. Mike read it over. At the bottom, the last item caught his attention. It said, “Michael will be another statistic.”

That sentence hit him hard, and made him think. “Being ‘another statistic’ made me realize how serious addiction is, and that I’m not exempt from what it leads to. I didn’t want to be labeled in a negative way, and wanted people to remember me for something special before I’m gone.”

Around the same time, his probation officer violated him for continued drug use, and recommended a higher level of care. Mike’s mother suggested the same thing. Mike agreed with them. In May 2009, he agreed to enter inpatient treatment at Gateway Foundation for 4 ½ months. “I went to Gateway because I knew I couldn’t do this on my own, and I needed more intense treatment.”

He realized that drug use had caused him to settle for less in his life. He saw the opportunities he was missing out on. More intense and structured treatment was something he needed, and he even looked forward to it. “It was one of the best decisions of my life,” he says today. “I’m glad I went because I found out a lot about myself.”

Mike’s stay at Gateway was difficult, but it worked. He was finally able to quit marijuana. After his successful discharge from Gateway in October, he returned to Alpha for aftercare. He now has five months clean and continues to work with Sara on coping with anxiety and resisting peer pressure from friends to smoke weed. He knows staying clean will be a challenge, but he’s committed to his recovery, and also to sharing his story to help others.

“I wish people knew that marijuana can cause cancer and it ruins your brain cells,” he says. “It also takes away your determination to do more in life. Marijuana gets downplayed a lot because it’s not as harmful as other drugs, but it’s still a drug. People [who continue to use marijuana] will become content with life and may develop a non-caring attitude. They also are vulnerable to other drug use and severe health problems.”

The State of Delaware is working to reduce marijuana use from 16% to 12% among 8th graders, and from 28% to 21% among 11th graders, as part of the Healthy Delaware 2010 Plan. The goal is to prevent today’s kids from going down the road that Mike did. Because just like them, Mike never expected that picking up weed at 16 would someday land him in a drug treatment program.

He’s grateful to have found the help he needed at Brandywine and Gateway. It enabled him to avoid more jail time and is helping him rebuild his life. He looks forward to finishing his business degree, and continuing to pursue his music. “I feel motivated to do good things and take control of my life,” he says. “I think I can help a lot of people if I stay on the right track.”

BCI Alpha 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, please call 302-472-0381.

Monday, December 7, 2009

"Philanthropy in the First State": A Report on Delaware's Social Safety Net

Today, the Delaware Philanthropy Forum presented a report titled "Philanthropy in the First State: Delaware's Nonprofits, Individual Donors, and Grantmaking Organizations." It's a look at what comprises the social safety net in our state and how we compare to the rest of the nation.

The Delaware Philanthropy Forum is a group of donor leaders from Delaware’s corporate, private foundation and federated business and nonprofit communities. The primary objective of the Forum is to support Delaware's nonprofit sector.

Here are some of the report's findings:
  • Delaware's nonprofits are, as a group, financially fragile. More than 35% of Delaware nonprofits operated in the red each year from 2002-2007.
  • Delaware is home to 390 private independent foundations, which awarded $333 million in grants in 2007; however, only $60 million of these dollars went to support Delaware-based organizations, and the majority of this came from only 8 foundations.
  • Delawareans give to charity at a higher rate than the national average; however, the amount we give is 9% lower than average.
  • Corporate giving may provide less support than imagined. Documented corporate giving from Delaware-based entities comprised less than 2% of the state's organized philanthropy in 2007.

These are very interesting stats at a time when more and more people need services and non-profits are having to do more with less. You can find a copy of the full report here for more details on these findings.

Tom McLellan on Who's Winning the War on Drugs

Tom McLellan, Deputy Director of the White House drug czar's office, is interviewed in this article from The New Republic. He discusses a wide range of topics, including needle exchange, medical marijuana, and prescription drug abuse. We found it very interesting. It's long, so you might want to read it over coffee.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Magic Group

“Do Not Disturb. Magic Group in Session.”

There’s no such sign outside the door at the end of the second floor hallway, but if there were, that’s what it might say. It’s an exclusive club, invitation only. They meet here three days a week, from 9 AM to noon. And there’s a positive energy in the air; so much so, that walking in on a session feels like you’re interrupting something very important. Some have taken to calling it the Magic Group.

Whatever they call it, the group of 17 people at the Brandywine Counseling Lancaster Center is hard at work on their recovery. Sean, 28, who’s been attending for four weeks, describes what goes on. “It is at times really good, because we get a lot of people in here that are eager. We’ve got a good mix of people, different cultures, different people at different stages. [Some are just] starting to learn about their addiction; other people have been through programs like this before, and those people are willing to help other people.”

Sean is part of the IOP, or Intensive Outpatient Program. Run by counselor Janine Rinderle, the IOP consists of 3 hours of group counseling, 3 days a week, as well as individual counseling. It’s a higher level of care designed to help participants set and work toward their goals for recovery.

Brandywine introduced the service in 2009 at Lancaster and two other locations, realizing that traditional monthly counseling wasn’t enough for some patients. Unable to remain abstinent, they were at risk of discharge from the methadone program, which often leads to relapse. This was despite having consistent attendance and making a good effort in treatment. Patients who fit this profile and meet other medical criteria and agency requirements, are now recruited by staff for the IOP.

Sean was one of those on the verge of discharge. Traditional treatment had worked for him at first, but only for so long. “I just hit a crossroads after awhile, a couple months in. Once I got clean, I guess I needed something a little more than once a month. My counselor approached me to say they might recommend me for the IOP. I didn’t get too much information before I got in, because it was a new program.”

It was a similar situation for “Charles,” 38, who has been in the IOP for two months. “Recovery is hard for me. I was clean for five years straight. One day I relapsed, and since that time, I’ve been trying to pick myself up again. I thought I could do it by myself, but you can’t. When you’re an addict, you need help. You need the support.”

Joining the IOP is a big commitment. Participants not only have to be willing to do the work, they have to make time for the three hour sessions. “When I heard about the IOP, I was a little skeptical,” says Sean. “Coming here, it’s gonna cut into my time.” But his commitment brought unexpected benefits. “I’m a little more active. I wake up [and] get my day started a little earlier. And you meet more people here.” He’d never socialized much with other people on the clinic, but that has started to change.

Charles also came in with doubts. “In the beginning, I was a little nervous talking [in group], like everybody. But it’s coming along. I’m glad I’m in here. In group, we all get along. In the beginning, everybody was quiet, but we all give feedback now. I’ve got people to help me, and that’s what I like. Now I’ve got my support.”

Janine uses a wide variety of activities to help keep group members engaged, including psychoeducational components, art therapy, and goal setting. At times, she lets group members dictate where the topic goes. She has them practice relaxation techniques, and teaches skills to reduce anxiety. This is particularly useful in slowing down a craving when it occurs.

“Far too often, a craving occurs and is immediately acted upon,” she explains. “But if clients give themselves the chance to work through some of the thoughts associated with the craving, they may avoid following through with the urge to use.”

The most important technique she tries to use in group is a client-centered approach. “I want to create an environment where group members feel ownership of the group, where they feel safe and not judged. Giving members unconditional positive regard allows them to try new behaviors and ways of thinking within the context of the group. The group is a time where they can really work on things with the help and support of myself, but also the other group members who have been through similar trials and struggles.”

Charles has been able to take what he’s learned and make changes in his life. “The therapy she’s giving us, it’s good, believe me! I’m using the tools right now with this person in my life, a drug dealer. I’ve changed my ways with my behavior. All the feedback I’ve taken, it’s working for me.”

Sean has also gained insight from the group. “Being in a group helped a lot, seeing everyone else struggling, it wasn’t just me. I think it’s the more time in here, the more time we spend with the people, and the counselor. Three days a week and three hours long, that’s what’s really helping us.”

“The biggest progress I see in clients is a change in their motivation,” says Janine. “Many of them enter the IOP angry, frustrated, and hesitant; however, after a few weeks, I begin to see big changes in how they relate to one another, how much they open up in group, and the newfound motivation to become engaged and to take more of a proactive role in their recovery.

“I think the magic is that group members have become very close with one another. They meet three days a week and while some were hesitant at first to open up, it wasn't long before they were all sharing personal experiences. The closeness that has formed between them is, I think, what helps them feel supported and understood.”

The first seven members of IOP are about to successfully complete the program, many of them long-time drug users who have provided their first ever negative drug screen. There is a waiting list to get in. Many clients hear about the program by word of mouth, or when they see fellow clients like Sean sticking with treatment and doing better. “I think people are starting to hear more about it,” he says. “It’s starting to get a little buzz out there, as more people learn about it.”

Or they hear it from Charles, who would be back on the street right now if not for the program. They hear how the IOP turned his frustration into motivation. “I brought myself in here. If I’m doing it without missing days, that means I care. I want change. I take it one day at a time.

“The thing is good! I like it!”

Now that is magic.

Brandywine Counseling services are 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, please call 302-656-2348.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What If You Could Save A Life With Just A Dollar?

Season's Greetings!

Brandywine Counseling would like to say thank you for your past support. You've helped so many people embrace sobriety and overcome their behavioral health challenges.

This holiday season, as you consider the many charitable requests you receive, ask yourself this question. What if you could save a life with just a dollar? For a recovering person, it just might make a big difference.

Here's what Brandywine Counseling can do with even the smallest gift:
  • $1 will buy 14 condoms or 12 sterile syringes to protect someone from HIV.
  • $5 will buy a hot meal for someone who comes to us hungry.
  • $10 will buy a bus pass for someone without a car to get to treatment and search for a job.

So believe me when I say a few dollars can indeed save a life! Of course, if you can afford to give more, your gift will go even further.
  • $50 will give someone 50 minutes of face to face time with a counselor.
  • $100 will assist ten people in obtaining an evaluation for treatment.
  • $500 will keep our equipment and facilities up to date so we can provide the best possible service.
You may donate conveniently and securely on Brandywine Counseling saves lives every day, and your donation makes it possible. On behalf of the Board of Directors, the staff and those we serve, I wish you all the joys of the holiday season, and thank you in advance for your generosity.


David A. Oppold, President
Board of Directors

P.S. - Watch your donation in action by visiting for our latest updates, photos, and success stories! Subscribe to our e-newsletter, and join the conversation on our blog.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

World AIDS Day Calendar of Events

Today is World AIDS Day. The following is a list of events taking place today in Delaware, courtesy of the Division of Public Health.

New Castle County

AIDS Delaware
Westminster Church,1502 W. 13th St, Wilmington, DE 19801
7:30 p.m.
Interfaith Service and Candlelight Vigil - a moment of remembrance with the calling of names of those who have died from HIV/AIDS.

Beautiful Gate Outreach Center
Bethel A.M.E. Church Annex, 604 N. Walnut Street, Wilmington, DE 19801
9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Encouraging HIV testing, outreach, free food and giveaways available.

Resurrection Center
3301 N. Market Street, Wilmington, De 19802
7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Prayer and Healing Service for Families and Friends Affected by HIV/AIDS.

Latin American Community Center (LACC)
Los Jardines, 100 West 5th Street, Wilmington, DE 19805(event location)
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
The Latin American Community Center HIV Prevention Program will host a movie night event where participants will view a film dealing with the impact and stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS within the Latino community and use this film as a topic for discussion with participants to raise awareness and promote the importance of HIV/AIDS prevention education.Refreshments will be provided.

Kent County

Kent/Sussex Counseling Services
John Wesley A. M. E. Church, 217 West Division Street, Dover DE 19904
6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Candlelight ceremony and reading of names along with speakers from the community. Light refreshments.

Faith, Hope & Love Christian Fellowship
218 N. Rehoboth Blvd. Milford, DE 19963
6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
An Evening of Remembrance service, community awareness and information.

Sussex County

CAMP Rehoboth
Art Reception: 37 Baltimore Ave, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
4:30 – 6 p.m.Line-up for the walk 6:15 p.m.Starts at 7 p.m. Kick-off will be with an art exhibit featuring exhibits by HIV+ artist.

Candlelight Walk: Rehoboth Beach Bandstand, Rehoboth Beach
The Candlelight Walk of Hope and Remembrance will step-off at 6:30 p.m.

The Service of Remembrance: All Saints Parish, 18 Olive Street, Rehoboth Beach
After the Candlelight Walk, All Saints Episcopal will host a Remembrance service with the reading of the names of community members who have died of AIDS. A light supper in the All Saints parish house will conclude the evening.

Kent/ Sussex Counseling Services
Christ United Methodist Church, 510 S. Central Ave.Laurel, DE 19956
6– 7:30 p.m.
Candlelight ceremony and reading of names along with speakers from the community. Light refreshments.

Lared Health Center
The Georgetown Circle, Georgetown, DE 19947
12Noon- 5 p.m.
Free confidential HIV Counseling & Testing will be offered on the mobile test van.

5 – 7 p.m.
Program of remembrance & hope followed by a candlelight walk. Light refreshments.