Wednesday, November 24, 2010

BCCS is Closed November 25 and 26

BCCS will be closed for Thanksgiving Thursday November 25, and Friday November 26. We wish you a wonderful holiday!

Staff Cooks and Serves Clients' Thanksgiving Lunch in Annual Tradition

Each Thanksgiving, BCCS staff expresses thanks to our clients by preparing and serving a traditional holiday meal. More than 100 guests and their children enjoyed this year's feast, which included home cooked turkey, macaroni and cheese, veal Parmesan, sweet potatoes, greens, cranberry sauce, salad, rolls, and a variety of desserts.

One guest expressed her gratitude for the Thanksgiving basket she received earlier this week. "I am so grateful, so thankful, for the baskets that you guys give out every year. I am so pleased that you all do that for us."

Visit our Thanksgiving album to see more photos from this wonderful Brandywine tradition.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

World AIDS Day Service and Candlelight Vigil

Dear Friends,

So much of what we do at BCCS is focused on preventing and alleviating suffering, and restoring health and dignity.

We know how much these things matter to you, which is why we're extending this personal invitation to you.

Please join us on Wednesday December 1st for a candlelight vigil recognizing World AIDS Day. We will remember those who are living with HIV/AIDS, and those who have lost their battle with AIDS.

As of October 31, 2010, 3,547 people are living with HIV/AIDS in Delaware. Approximately one out of every 247 people in the First State are HIV-positive. Delaware consistently ranks among the top 10 states for per-capita HIV infections and for per capita AIDS cases. As of 2006, over a half a million Americans have lost their battle with AIDS, including 1,867 Delawareans.

The Vigil will be on Wednesday, December 1, 2010, 6:00 PM, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1502 West 13th Street, Wilmington, DE 19806. Parking is available in the church’s parking lot.

The service will be interdenominational, with representatives from different faiths, and music from the Rainbow Chorale of Delaware. This event is sponsored by AIDS Delaware, BCCS, Connections Community Support Programs, and the Delaware HIV Consortium.

Thank you, and we hope to see you at the vigil.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Widener Law Students Give BCCS A Reason to Be Thankful

“BCCS has been making a significant impact on our community for over 25 years - we wanted to help their outreach this Holiday Season”

WILMINGTON, DE - Sara Alsaleh, a Widener Law student, and her classmates, members of her newly-formed Food and Drug Law Association, wanted to give back to the Wilmington community. “We wanted to make a difference, we wanted to do something for the neighborhood,” said Sara. The third year, part-time student saw a perfect opportunity through a personal contact: Sara and her classmates decided to help Brandywine Counseling & Community Services, Inc., a community organization providing holistic care to persons affected by substance abuse, mental health and HIV-related challenges.

“BCCS reaches so many people,” said Sara. “We thought it was best to support their efforts. They really make an impact.” As a service to its clients, Brandywine Counseling will give out over 200 Thanksgiving baskets to those in need on Monday, November 22. For their part, Sara and the members of the FDLA organized a raffle, open to the Widener Law community, and solicited donations from local businesses such as the Olive Garden and T.G.I. Friday’s. They were able to raise over $600. On the day the Thanksgiving baskets are handed out, the Widener Law students will assist BCCS staff in the distribution of the charitable gifts.

However, the volunteer efforts of Sara and her classmates don’t end at the pre-Thanksgiving event. Widener Law School is one of many partners in BCCS’s Giving Tree. In its second year, the Christmastime charity receives gifts from partner organization patrons and makes it available to BCCS clients who are unable to provide gifts for their children. Sara Alsaleh, in her service to Brandywine Counseling, will collect all of the donated gifts from Widener Law and bring them to BCCS in mid-December. The gifts, intended for boys and girls of different ages, will be available to BCCS clients, already in the process of recovering from an illness and starting a new life, a few days before Christmas.

For more information, please contact: Basha Silverman, Prevention Director, at 302-655-9880 x123, or Sara Alsaleh at 570-262-7156.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Donate a Toy for Our Holiday Giving Tree

The holidays are nearly here, and BCCS is planning something special for our clients who are recovering from addiction and mental illness. Last year we held our first-ever Giving Tree toy drive, which was a huge success. It allowed individuals who could not afford to buy gifts to go shopping for their kids, and wrap their own gifts, without spending money. This year, we will run the event again.

Our partners, including Bryn Mawr College and Widener University, are collecting donations of new toys during November-December. We are supplying small X-mas trees, with tags with descriptions like “Girl Age 6” or “Boy Age 3 Months” for donors to remove and buy an appropriate gift.

Trees have also been placed at BCCS Lancaster and Alpha, where our staff are participating in the drive. We will accept donations of new toys at either location during regular operating hours. The goal is to collect hundreds of gifts. If your business would like to join our drive as a partner, please send us an email!

On the day of the event, we will put all the gifts in one large room, organized by age and gender. Then we offer our clients (with children) an opportunity to go shopping for their kids. We provide a gift wrapping station for them to wrap the gifts with staff assistance. This is empowering to the clients because it gives them an opportunity to do it all, except spend money, for their children.

The Giving Tree is a special opportunity to help those in need this holiday season, and in a more personal way than simply donating money. We look forward to making a little holiday magic and spreading some cheer once again this year.

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Tobacco Warnings and Graphics

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has unveiled a new comprehensive tobacco control strategy that includes proposed new bolder health warnings on cigarette packages and advertisements. Once final, these health warnings on cigarettes and in cigarette advertisements will be the most significant change in more than 25 years. These actions are part of a broader strategy that will help tobacco users quit and prevent children from starting.

Read the full announcement here.

Do you think these new ads will be effective? Why or why not?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Turkey Giveaway Monday November 22

Brandywine's annual Thanksgiving turkey giveaway will take place Monday, November 22!

Every year, families in need have the opportunity to sign up to receive a basket from the Basket Brigade of Delaware, filled with turkey, stuffing, and other holiday staples. Brandywine hands out baskets to around 150 of our clients each year. We are truly thankful to be able to help those who could not otherwise host Thanksgiving for their family.

This year, we're also thankful to have the support of Widener Law students, who are raising funds and volunteering to benefit BCCS. Already, students have raised over $500 through a raffle! Many will join us to help out at the turkey giveaway. And, Widener students are also partnering with us on our holiday toy drive and Giving Tree. Thank you, Widener!

If your business or school would like to help out BCCS this holiday season, please send us an email. We would love to have your support for the toy drive. Together, we can make the holidays joyful for those who most need it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

BCCS Fetal Alcohol Campaign Wins Prestigious MarCom Award

‘Say NO to that Shot’ Billboard Wins 2010 International Awards Competition, ‘Life is Competitive” Billboard Receives Honorable Mention

Wilmington, DE – Brandywine Counseling & Community Services, Inc (BCCS) is pleased to announce its Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Campaign has been recognized with the 2010 Platinum MarCom Award, an international awards competition that recognizes outstanding creative communications achievement.

“It is a tremendous honor for our campaign to be recognized among the thousands of entries that were submitted from around the world,” said CEO Lynn Fahey, Ph.D. “The prevention of fetal alcohol syndrome is vitally important and the excellence of this campaign enhances that mission.”

BCCS’s “Say NO to that shot” billboard was the recipient of the Platinum Award, while its “Life is Competitive” billboard was the recipient of an Honorable Mention. A part of BCCS’s Prevention Initiatives, both billboards were designed to discourage alcohol abuse, though the “Say NO to that shot” outdoor advertisement specifically focused on preventing fetal alcohol syndrome, a group of physical, behavioral and learning conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy.

“This is just fabulous,” said Bridget Paverd who heads up GillespieHall, the social marketing firm responsible for the campaign. “Brandywine Counseling is an extraordinary client who is totally immersed in its mission and goals – their passion transfers onto us very easily. This honor is something we share on every level with BCCS.” GillespieHall president, Neal Hall, a Harvard trained physician, recognizes that GH’s clients trust the GH team to change behaviors. “Our campaigns are all about creating awareness and garnering real results.”

2010 MarCom Platinum Award Winner – Billboard for Brandywine Counseling & Community Services

2010 MarCom Award Winner H.M. – Billboard for Brandywine Counseling & Community Services

Brandywine Counseling & Community Services, Inc. (BCCS) is a community organization that provides holistic care to persons and their families living with addiction, mental health, and HIV-related challenges. BCCS is Delaware's most recognized provider of behavioral services with seven locations statewide. For more information, please visit

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

1212 Honored at the NAACP Annual Freedom Fund Banquet

Our friends at the 1212 Corporation have received the President's Award at the Annual Freedom Fund Award Banquet, sponsored by the NAACP.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. From the ballot box to the classroom, the thousands of dedicated workers, organizers, leaders, and members who make up the NAACP continue to fight for social justice for all Americans.

The 1212 Corporation saves lives. This local recovery club house serves as the only safe haven for recovering addicts and their families in Wilmington, Delaware area. Congratulations!

Accepting the award, from left to right, are Executive Director, Steve Burns; Vice President, Justine Harris; and Board President, Wm. James Harrison III.

Monday, November 1, 2010

5 Questions for Domenica Personti, Program Manager

5 Questions is our staff spotlight feature where we introduce you to the people who make BCCS run.

Name: Domenica Personti 
Job: Program Manager, Lancaster Center
Time with BCCS: 4 years

1. Tell us what you do at Brandywine.
I was recently promoted to Program Manager at the Lancaster site. I do a lot of trainings for the staff, supervise the Perinatal program, the NSAFE program, the Core department, as well as all the support services, Anger Management, Partial, and IOP.
This position still allows me to do front line work. I still have the opportunity to meet and talk with clients on a daily basis. I want to make sure that I am available to them. Recently, I set up a “sound-off” for clients, twice a day every Tuesday for the whole month of October. Anyone who wants to can come and sit with me, and just have a conversation about things that they like, and things that they want to change, and things that they think we are doing well. Hearing what the clients have to say is really important to me.
My biggest challenge is probably slowing myself down. I would like to just do everything, like, tomorrow! And I’m constantly working on me, to slow down and look at things realistically. It’s challenging for me to not be spontaneous, especially when you see this great vision that we have. I see Brandywine with this great vision, so it’s exciting, and sometimes it’s hard to slow yourself down and work through it.
2. Anger Management and Partial Hospitalization are some of the new programs you’ve introduced at Brandywine. Tell us about these programs and why they were introduced.
We offer Anger Management in a one day, eight hour course on Fridays and/or Saturdays. It made sense to do it here, to make it an affordable and allow the clients to “one stop shop,” like we do everything else at Brandywine. It provides easier access. They’re right here. They can take it here. It’s also open to the public. Anyone can come and take it, but originally, it made sense for our clients.
Partial Hospitalization is for our clients who are having a little bit of difficulty at our other levels of care. So when we see that they’re struggling and need a little bit more intensive treatment, we can refer them to our Partial program. That runs 7 AM to 1:30, Monday through Friday. It includes education and group therapy sessions. They get a half an hour to 45 minute lunch. So it’s kind of like school, so to speak.
3. You’ve also been very involved in addressing the educational needs of Brandywine staff. How important is ongoing training to the services our staff provides?
This is so important. Our field shifts and changes so often, that we have to be up to speed as to what new treatment modalities are out there, and what new tools we can use to treat our clients. I feel like it’s such an important tool that the staff need, as well, if we can constantly keep them fresh, even if it’s retraining in certain areas.
I want the staff to be cross trained, so that everyone can work in any aspect of treatment here at Brandywine. My vision is for all staff to be able to work in multiple areas, fill in when needed and be true team players. For example, anyone can do intake, and everyone understands and knows what NSAFE does. So if an NSAFE client doesn’t have access to a case manager right away, one of the Core counselors should be able to meet with that client, and at least occupy them and help them a little bit until their primary is available. This will improve the quality of our care, and we will treat the clients better. I think that’s all part of training.
Education is so, so, so important now. When I came into the field, you just had to have an Associates degree. That was in ’99. Now, there’s such a focus on education, as well there should be. The day I stop learning, I’m really not any good to anyone else, and I believe that. That’s why I’m still in school. I just try and push education, absolutely. You can’t really do a whole lot without that anymore.
4. Tell us your favorite client success story.
I had a client that I worked with as support for the counselor, when I was a supervisor. When I met him, [he] had just went through a pretty bad relapse, had been using for about 10 months. I met with him pretty often for a good 3 or 4 months, got him linked up with a lot of support services that he needed. He ended up going to school for ten weeks, got a skill certification, and then got a union job, and he’s now a 13 day client [with 3 years clean and twice a month pickups.] So that’s a pretty awesome success story. And I still see him pretty often and I still look and see how he’s doing, so that’s a good feeling.
5. If you had $30,000 to donate to BCCS, what would you do with it?
I would do criminal re-entry, absolutely, without a doubt. I went into this field when I was 19 years old, gaining my first experiences working at Gander Hill Prison and with AmeriCorps. We went into the prison and did a project based around vocational rehab, and how it benefits people who are at risk for substance abuse and incarceration, due to any kind of history of crime. While I was there, I was exposed to so many intelligent people who had just fallen into the wrong crowd, or used drugs at a young age, and I was amazed at the level of intelligence a lot of them had, and their current situation kind of held them back.
I would take $30,000 and I would do a criminal re-entry program, and I would help the offenders coming out of prison before they even got out. Case management services for the couple weeks before they get out, and then assist them with housing, employment, and record expungement. That’s a really big deal. I think that’s one of the biggest hindrances that our clients who have criminal history have, in getting employment. So that would be, without a doubt, what I would do with it.