Thursday, December 30, 2010

BCCS Is Closed for the New Year's Holiday

BCCS will close at 12:00 PM today, December 30, 2010, and we will be closed tomorrow, December 31, 2010, in celebration of the New Year's holiday.

We will reopen Monday, January 3.

We wish you a safe and happy holiday!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Education, Advocacy, Prevention, and Treatment

It’s hard to believe that 2010 is almost over and 2011 is just around the corner. Every year brings the promise of new beginnings, but this year ends with some big changes. 2011 will be the first full year we operate under the name Brandywine Counseling and Community Services, and we know it will be a good one.

Our new branding is designed to help you better understand who we are, what we do, and how you can utilize our services. By streamlining our services and programs into four simple and clearly defined areas of care, we have demystified our program menu.

The four areas of care at BCCS are: Education, Advocacy, Prevention, and Treatment. Every program we have now falls under one of these categories, and sometimes more than one.

Education means teaching clients the tools to recover from addiction and mental illness, and reduce their Hepatitis C (HCV) and HIV risk. We introduce life skills to new and expectant mothers, coach clients through job training exercises, and provide outreach and education to thousands of individuals each year who are not active in treatment. Education helps save lives, and each life saved touches other lives, families, and communities in the Delaware region.

Advocacy means “watching our clients’ back.” How do we do this? We do this by having case managers develop an individualized plan to prioritize our clients’ needs. We actively assist clients with:
  • Accessing eligibility for housing
  • Providing linkage to community services such as shelter, food, clothing and employment possibilities
  • Standing up for our clients’ rights with the courts, probation, or Division of Family Services
  • Helping clients navigate treatment options
BCCS ensures that our clients have all the support and guidance they need to break through the red tape that so often accompanies drug abuse and mental health issues. We have their back.

Prevention means giving people all the information and resources they need to recognize the signs of drug and alcohol abuse or mental health issues. Our scientifically-based interventions help individuals to recognize HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV) risk, learn their HIV and HCV status, and develop and manage their own reduction and prevention plan.

Treatment means addressing substance abuse and mental illness (behavioral health) directly, but also the side effects, such as family dysfunction and violence, child neglect and abuse, infant mortality, poverty, Hepatitis C (HCV) and HIV/AIDS and criminal activity. Our programs provide intervention and treatment through the use of medication, counseling, therapy and education. Appropriate aftercare referrals provide continuing support for recovery.

Please visit to learn more about the services and programs under our four areas of care, or stop by one of our locations to pick up a color-coded brochure.

Do you need a presentation for your community on one of these areas of care? The BCCS Prevention and Education Department will tailor any presentation to meet the needs of your community. We will provide accurate, useful information surrounding a broad range of topics, as they relate to substance use/abuse, and/or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Please contact us for more information.

These are exciting times for BCCS. You know where we have been. Now let’s look forward together to where we are heading!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

There's Still Time to Donate in 2010!

We at BCCS 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 message to a friend.

At BCCS, Delawareans can find their best chance at meaningful, long-term recovery. Your support makes their success possible. Here's what some of our clients say:

"There were many days that I may have needed an open ear and felt down and out, and one or more have been there."

"Without this program I wouldn't have had the advantage of bringing my child with me in my recovery."

"They helped find the true me."

You may donate conveniently and securely on BCCS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

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

Sunday, December 26, 2010

BCCS Is Closed Monday Dec. 27

BCCS will be closed Monday, December 27, except for dispensing, due to the snow storm.

We will be open for dispensing only from 7 AM to 12 Noon. All other programs are closed.

All evening dispensing consumers should report between 7 AM and 12 Noon. There will be no evening hours.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

BCCS Is Closed for the Christmas Holiday

BCCS will close at 12:00 PM today, December 23, 2010, and we will be closed tomorrow, December 24, 2010, in celebration of the Christmas holiday.

We will reopen Monday, December 27.

We wish you a wonderful and safe holiday!

The BCCS Holiday Survival Kit

This week, BCCS consumers received a special gift, "Holiday Survival Kits." The idea for the kits came from other clients in the Lancaster Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and their counselor Mark Murdock. The group created the kits and distributed them during this holiday week.

The "Survival Kits" included the following :

Toothpick - To pick out the good qualities.

Rubber Band - To remember to be flexible.

Band Aid - To heal hurt feelings.

Pencil and Eraser - To list blessings and erase mistakes.

Gum - Stick with your recovery.

Mint - To remind you that you are worth a mint.

Candy Hugs - Everyone needs a hug sometimes.

Tea Bag - To remind you to relax daily.

What a creative idea! You are never far from little reminders that will keep you focused on your recovery, and allow you to not only survive, but enjoy this holiday season. If you have a friend or loved one in recovery, why not show them you care with the thoughtful gift of a Holiday Survival Kit?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The 2nd Annual BCCS Giving Tree

BCCS hosted our 2nd Annual Giving Tree Monday December 20, 2010, bringing gifts and holiday cheer to families in need. All BCCS clients with children were invited to the Outreach Center to choose a gift for their child and wrap it. Holiday music, food, and an impromptu sing-along led by Brandywine’s own Rochelle Booker made for a very festive atmosphere!

Parents and grandparents lined up starting at 9 AM for a chance to choose from a roomful of toys for all ages. Many were in the process of starting a new life, free of drug addiction or mental illness. One guest expressed his gratitude to simply enjoy the holiday with his son, stay home, and “just do the best I can.”

The Giving Tree would not have been possible without our generous donors. We especially wish to thank our partners, Widener University School of Law, and Bryn Mawr College, who held toy drives on campus. Students took tags from the Giving Tree and bought toys matching the age and gender of the child. In addition to collecting toys, Widener Law held a raffle under the leadership of student Sara Alsaleh, which raised an amazing $662!

We are so grateful to all of you for your generosity and support of our clients at the holidays. You made it a wonderful day of gift-giving. At BCCS, we work to give Delawareans the best chance at meaningful, long-term recovery. Your support helps them to overcome mental illness and substance abuse, to restore themselves, and to give back to a society that gave to them.

You can see all the holiday magic of the Giving Tree in our photo album and in the video below.

In the words of a grandmother of two, “I wish everybody in the universe a blessed and safe holiday!” Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from BCCS!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Shop and Support BCCS

Haven't finished your holiday shopping yet? Here's a great way to support BCCS while you shop. Buy your gifts through GoodShop, select BCCS as your charity, and a percentage of your purchase supports behavioral health services that give Delawareans a chance at meaningful, long term recovery.

GoodShop partners include Amazon, Best Buy, iTunes, the Apple Store, Macy's, and many more.

And, don't forget to use GoodSearch, which raises a penny for BCCS with every Internet search you do.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

One Week Left In Giving Tree Toy Drive!

Our Giving Tree toy drive is in full swing! We're partnering with Widener University, Bryn Mawr College, and others to give our clients the opportunity to shop and wrap gifts for their kids. Already, Widener Law students have raised over $600 in support of the drive - thank you!

If you would like to donate a toy for our Giving Tree, please bring in your donation by Wednesday December 15. The Giving Tree event will take place Monday December 20 at the Outreach Center at 2814 Lancaster Avenue. All BCCS clients with children are invited to come shop and wrap their gift.

We are seeking new unwrapped toys for all ages.

Thank you for helping us brighten the holidays for our clients and their families!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Recharged and Recovery-Bound

Robert (right) and Counselor Josh Ellow

Piles of paper sat in disarray on Robert’s living room table, filled with calculations, sketches, and half-finished designs. It was a quarter past noon, and he was just waking up. How long had it been since the ideas stopped coming? Since he’d had full time work? Since this once-successful machinist and aspiring inventor found himself sitting at home, sleeping into the afternoon?

Life seemed to have come to a halt, as if the gears had stopped turning. At age 49, Robert’s drinking had cost him his job, his family’s trust, and his driver’s license. He’d served prison time for a felony charge. He was feeling depressed, helpless, and isolated in his house.

“I was left to probably the most dangerous space that I ever was in, the space between my ears,” he recalls. “A victim of my own thoughts.” But with help from some dedicated counselors and a supportive community of his peers, Robert found a way to get those gears turning again.

A probation officer was the first to point him in the right direction. She knew that for Robert to find work again, he first needed to treat his depression and quit drinking. She referred him to Alpha, one of the Treatment programs at Brandywine Counseling & Community Services.

Brandywine staff immediately went to work to stabilize Robert’s mental health and sobriety. He began talk therapy with counselor Daniel Norvell, worked on homework assignments, and gained an understanding of the stressors that led him to drink. He also saw Brad Why, the psychiatric nurse practitioner.

“I enjoy when I get to see Dr. Brad, ‘cause he’s so upbeat. The doctor staff here is very good, very professional.” Concerned about Robert’s drowsiness, Brad recommended a change in his medications. It made a huge difference. Robert found he could wake up early. He could now enjoy breakfast with his girlfriend before she set out for work at 6 AM. “I can get up, make a cup of coffee, sit there for half an hour, and clear my head, and I’m good to go!”

But the real difference-maker was group counseling. In particular, one group led by counselor Josh Ellow, called Recovery Bound. Held on Saturday mornings, the group runs for two hours, and is one of Brandywine’s most popular offerings.

Robert talks with Josh Ellow after group.
“I really like it,” Robert says of the Saturday group. “Man, [Josh] does one hell of a job. He’s so full of excitement, and so full of energy, he just brings the place alive. By the end of the week, I feel worn down, but I look forward to going there and getting my batteries recharged.”

Out of the energy of the Recovery Bound group has grown a strong peer support network. Robert quickly made friends and felt a sense of belonging. One week after missing group with an illness, he returned to hear, “We really missed you.” He began trading phone numbers and making social plans with fellow group members.

He meets one friend for lunch once a week. “He’s unemployed too. We ride the bus into Newark, have some lunch, hang out. We walk around Newark a little bit, and then sashay on back home on the bus!” Another buddy introduced Robert to Narcotics Anonymous meetings, and they began attending several a week. All this socializing serves an important purpose, which Robert is well aware of.

“Saturday Recovery Bound gets me out of the house. And if I get out once a week with a buddy, go get a sandwich at lunch, I’m out again! Then, I’m not isolating myself anymore. I’m not sitting around the house, feeling sorry for myself, thinking about drinking.”

The Recovery Bound group was building up Robert’s social circle, and elevating his mood. He even began to take on a leadership role in group discussions. “I participate in that class now all the time. If nobody’ll raise their hand to talk about something, I’ll try and get the ball rolling, so people don’t feel so shy about stepping up and speaking. They all look at me for that. Now, we’ve got probably 8 or 10 people participating all the time, which is great.”

And his success in treatment was carrying over to the rest of his life. The search for work continued to discourage him, but he no longer dealt with it by drinking. “Yesterday, I had a really rough day. I was walking all over, just feeling beat up by the end of the day. I could’ve used a drink, but I didn’t. Around 9:30 last night, I was out like a light.”

“It’s great getting up and looking in the mirror in the morning, and your eyes are white, they’re not bloodshot. You don’t have to worry about buying gum to cover your breath, or any of the thousands of things I used to do. It really feels great.”

Today Robert has 8 months sober. He’s on his way to rebuilding relations with his children. He also has a new relationship, often spending family time with his girlfriend and her daughter. They cheer on the kids at their sporting events, watch movies, and share holidays. At Oktoberfest, they won a goldfish. “He’s sitting on top of my little space heater. We call him ‘Flush.’ We didn’t expect him to live, but he’s carrying on, probably 3 weeks now!”

Likewise, his acceptance into the family is carrying Robert along. “It’s a second chance. It’s comforting. I want to continue on this path. My life’s changed for the better. Every day is a new beginning for me. It’s great to be sober. Every day is a beautiful day for me now.”

As he continues his search for work, many other activities are keeping that space between his ears occupied. He plans to get involved with his church and the 1212 recovery clubhouse. He hopes to travel to the Grand Canyon and Maui. And, he’s working on his inventions again. A number of his ideas have generated interest, and are being researched for possible patents.

“Even though I’m not working, I try not to let it get me down. I stay with my meetings, stay with Brandywine. To me, being at Brandywine feels like I’m walking hand in hand. I feel like somebody’s got my hand. They’ve got my back. Somebody’s gonna fight for me, help me see the right way to do things, and I really appreciate that.”

It’s all thanks to the feeling of community among staff and peers at Brandywine. The Alpha program graduated 385 clients this year with some or all of their goals completed. Robert is well on his way to joining them.

“You’re not treated as a number. You’re treated like a person. You’ve got a clean slate when you walk in here. You’re treated with respect, dignity, common courtesy. It just makes you feel like a real human being. Every time I come here, I see two or three people from Saturday group. It’s really a friendly atmosphere, it keeps me going.”

The pieces of his life fit into place again, and the energy is flowing. And if he should ever lose that energy again, Robert knows he can come to Brandywine for a recharge. That is the power of community.

The Alpha Program at Brandywine Counseling & Community Services 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 or visit