Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"My treatment here at BCI has kept me alive through some of the most painful times of my life."

As you know, we're looking for customer reviews at GreatNonprofits.org from women who found help and empowerment through BCI's services. Here's a story that was posted last week:

"My experience as a BCI client has been very positive. I have been able to utilize many of the programs they offer. I’ve been on and off the methadone clinic for years and when ever I came back they welcome me with open arms. Almost two years ago I was pregnant and in active addiction. I got back on the methadone maintenance program but my use continued. My counselor at the time helped me get into the BCI Lighthouse program, a residential treatment center for women with children. Normally they don’t take pregnant women but my counselor pressed the issue and got me in at 24 weeks pregnant. On my 3rd day there my water broke and my son was born early. BCI was there for me every step of the way. Fourteen days after he was born he became ill and I was informed that he needed to be flown to Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. BCI employees were there with me when I received the news. Once in PA my son underwent surgery and the waiting room again was full of BCI employees. Eventually my son could not fight anymore and he passed on August 30, 2008. BCI employees were at the funeral and when it was over they took me right back to the Lighthouse Program. I have nothing negative to say about BCI, I’m grateful that they have not given up on me yet. Still to this day I struggle with sobriety and BCI is still by my side."

"The Great" - my treatment here at BCI has kept me alive through some of the most painful times of my life.

"Ways to Make It Better" - If I could make any changes to this organization it would be for them to get more funding to be able to help those who cannot afford services even when they are subsidized its not enough.

Many thanks to lalbright for sharing her story. If you have your own empowering story to share, visit GreatNonprofits.org and write your review today.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Georgetown Spirit Week

From Monday, May 3rd to Friday, May 7th we had Spirit Week here at BCI Georgetown. Spirit Week served as a unifying force, bring together our multicultural and diverse client population to celebrate recovery. It also served as a client appreciation week congratulating the clients’ hard work and dedication. Each day had a dress-up theme:

Monday Crazy Hair day
Tuesday Crazy Hat day
Wednesday Wacky Tackt dress up day (Backwards or mismatched clothes)
Thursday BCI color day
Friday Pajama and BBQ Day

Clients were invited to participate in the dress-up, though only a handful did, but all shared in a good laugh when seeing their counselors dressed up. A lot of clients attended the BBQ at the end of the week. It was so much fun and we can't wait to do it again!

Also, Rachel Eaton, our intern and newly hired case manager just graduated from DTCC with her Associate's Degree in the Arts. We surprised her by decorating her office while she was gone.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Patient Notice: Methadone Fees to Increase June 13

Attention all patients:

Effective Sunday, 6/13/10, Methadone fees will be increased. If you pay daily, the fee is $6.00 per day; however, if payment is made weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, the fee is $5.00 per day (payment must be made on Monday or Friday).

Please see your counselor immediately if you need to request financial assistance.

FEE AMNESTY: Pay 1/2 of your outstanding balance by Friday, 6/11/10, and the remaining 1/2 will be forgiven.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How to Help the Homeless? Start with "Welcome."

Picture "the homeless." What comes to mind? A panhandler on the city streets, with a cardboard sign? With a weathered face, and disheveled clothing? That's what most of us picture.

Now picture the salesman you met the other day who sold you your new PDA. He was a neatly groomed professional, in a suit jacket, self-assured and confident as he made his pitch. Michael was his name. Would you believe Michael is homeless? How about Marshall, an energetic, proud father of three in an Old Navy T-shirt?

1,479 people were homeless in Delaware at last count. By definition, “homeless” includes someone living on the street or in a shelter. It also includes residents of transitional or supportive housing, like Michael, and Marshall. They are the invisible homeless. But their challenges are no less severe, and their needs no less urgent. Now, with help, they are on their way to self-sufficiency.

Michael’s drinking problem began during his fraternity days, but continued into his thirties. As part owner of a liquor store, he found himself entrenched in a daily routine. “Basically it was, go to work, come home, drink, go to sleep, get up in the morning, maybe have a drink, maybe not, go to work.” Relations with his family suffered. He embarrassed himself at their get-togethers, borrowed their money to support his drinking, and generally felt like a disappointment. Finally, at 41, his landlord had police remove him from his apartment for a continuing pattern of drunkenness. Suicidal, Michael entered the hospital at his mother’s urging, and then drug treatment at Hudson Health Services.

Marshall, at 42, had also lost a place to live and his family’s trust due to years of addiction. His drug money was coming out of the budget for rent and the children’s clothes. “I would say that I was going out to the bar just for a beer, and then I’d get a couple drinks. Then, I’d run into somebody, I’d get a snort, and I was out till 2 or 3 in the morning.” Last year, after several unsuccessful attempts at treatment, he entered the Crisis House shelter in Georgetown.
Recently, both men were referred to the Brandywine Counseling Georgetown Center for further treatment. They were stable for the moment, but they needed help to sustain it. Without a permanent place to live, or a job, self-sufficiency seemed out of reach. Or so they thought. That was before they walked in the door to BCI.

“I was greeted warmly,” Michael recalls. “You don’t know anybody. They don’t know you. They don’t owe you anything, but they immediately go to work for you.” The diverse team of counselors and case managers began by creating a welcoming environment, crucial in earning the trust of a clientele that has often lost all hope. Basic needs were met first. Concerns were listened to, and responded to. Extra time and assistance was given wherever they could. It wasn’t long before Michael started to see real results.

His transitional housing was not working out; in fact, it was putting his recovery at risk. He needed another place fast. Counselor Kelle Paynter found him one. Vocational Counselor Tammy Williams helped him find temporary work, gave him referrals to social services, and drove him places he needed to go. “They did all the leg work. They gave me the options and helped me choose which ones to follow up on.” Soon, his new job-seeking skills helped him land his sales job. On his first day of work, Michael stopped by to visit in his suit and tie, beaming with pride.

Marshall’s first impression was positive as well. “My counselor, Rachel [Eaton], gave me a lot of hope. She devoted all her time to getting me a roof over my head. When a lot of places turned me down or didn’t have room, she kept calling and calling and calling, and she got me in. When people show you how they really care, it just really makes you want to do better.” Now staying in recovery housing, Marshall is also working with Kelle on finding a part time job and wants to go to school for computer engineering.

Both men benefited from newly expanded services at BCI Georgetown, thanks to a new 5 year federal CSAT homeless grant. The program aims to admit 120 people a year, and help 75% become drug free, 60% find improved housing, and 50% improve their employment status within 6 months. In addition, there’s a new vocational training program, funded by a First State Community Action grant.

The biggest change for Michael and Marshall is in their outlook. “I’m more focused, very confident, very proud of how far I’ve come in just three months time,” says Michael. “There are times still when I feel like I’m almost juggling beach balls, but these folks are always here to keep me focused. The joy that I feel, these guys share it. It’s like a shared enthusiasm. That’s probably the single best thing I can say about this place and the people.” With over 90 days clean, he hopes to soon have a career, a place to call his own, and a long-lasting personal relationship.

Likewise, with 7 months clean, Marshall no longer has to spend his energy looking for shelters, or drugs, and can instead focus on his health. “I’m a below the knee amputee, so I have to do certain things to take care of myself. If I was doing drugs and alcohol, I would neglect that, ” he says. “The alcohol and drugs puts you in a spin, like you don’t care. [Recovery] makes you want to push more. It makes me want to work, makes me want to be productive in society. It feels wonderful, it really does.”

Most of all, Marshall looks forward to setting things right with his family. “Someday I want to raise my children. I’ve got this dream to get a house, and I always tell my children that one day they’re gonna have their own room. I just want to be the best dad I can be, take them places, buy them clothes, take them to amusement parks, and just do the quality time. I realized that you can’t buy children love, just quality time. That’s all they really want. So that’s really what I want to give them.”

Family is foremost in Michael’s mind as well. “When I told my parents I was doing this interview, my mother said, ‘All they need to do is call me!’ So, call my mom if you want! I’m very proud of myself. I’m not the kind of person that talks about myself at all or seeks help. This time I put my pride aside and did all that, and things are working out for me, so I’m very proud.”

The question is often debated, “How can we help the homeless?” Giving a hand-out? Donating to charity? Can one person even make a difference? For Marshall and Michael, the services they received at BCI got them back on their feet. But more importantly, the welcoming environment restored their hope and their positive thinking. A warm greeting, a sympathetic ear, a shared enthusiasm. Just our being there, more than what we give, sometimes makes all the difference.

BCI Georgetown services are funded by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA/CSAT; and the Community Services Block Grant through the Recovery Act. To learn more, please call Kris Hutchison at 302-856-4700.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

National Women's Health Week Starts May 9

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health invites you to celebrate the 11th Annual National Women's Health Week. This nationwide celebration urges women to make their own health their top priority. The theme of the event is "It's Your Time," as it reminds women that even though they are often caregivers for children, spouses, and parents, they must not forget to take time to focus on their own health.

Some important steps you can take include:

  • Getting at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity, or a combination of both each week
  • Eating a nutritious diet
  • Visiting a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings
  • Avoiding risky behaviors, such as smoking and not wearing a seatbelt
  • Paying attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Is BCI Great at Serving and Empowering Women? Tell Us Why!

Do you love and support BCI's work on behalf of women? Tell us why, before May 31, and help us shine in the 2010 Women's Empowerment Campaign.

Guidestar and GreatNonprofits.org want to know what you think are the best organizations serving and empowering women. If BCI gets at least 10 positive reviews (4 or 5 stars) on GreatNonprofits and GuideStar by May 31, we will make the list.

You can help by writing your review here! If you're a client, family member, volunteer, or have had firsthand experience with us in any way, we want to hear from you. Your first-person story will share with the public how we help the community, and help us reach new audiences.