Dream Jobs Really Can Come True

The question that Susan says changed it all for her was when her Employment Specialist and IPS Team Lead, Erica Denmark, asked her to forget about money or any other barriers she could think of- What was her dream job?

Susan replied, “To establish Asheville’s first toy-lending library and play center.” Her sons benefited from one that she volunteered with while they were growing up in Upstate NY. She dreamed of creating a similar service for her new community in western North Carolina. Once the idea was out in the open, it just had to be realized!

Beginning in January of 2017, Susan and Erica worked together and with other team members to brainstorm and create an action plan. Susan took advantage of free business classes and workshops offered through the AB-
TECH Business Center and Mountain BizWorks. They helped her develop the concept and the right business structure for her.

Although an affordable and  accessible location has yet to reveal
itself, the mobile unit DID in April of this year. Susan discovered a mobile unit in Joplin, Missouri stocked with quality educational toys! She followed her heart by purchasing it with savings and had it delivered to Asheville by a tractor trailer. With the interior and toys in pristine condition, Susan focused on necessary mechanical repairs/upgrades while giving it a much needed exterior makeover. This included fifty-one hours of personally removing the original design using a heat gun, viewing “how to” YouTube videos, and reaching out to numerous vehicle painting/repair, RV, and signage businesses for help. With support from these local businesses, her IPS team, and sons (who created the vinyl wrap design), the Toybrary “mint julip” colored bus rolled out of the shop July 19th to the delight and amazement of all!

The Toybrary of Asheville is thrilled to announce our mobile unit will be cruising through our community encouraging us all to unplug and play!
The Toybrary’s soft community introduction and ribbon cutting was August 2018. Since then you can find her at many local festivals and events across Buncombe County.

Currently, the most difficult aspects of her dream is cataloging all the toys, growing her business. She is also continuing to increase her IT skills in order to create a digital inventory of over 300 items that will be linked to the website.

Susan says “the best outcome from this process have been regaining confidence in myself again”. While Susan still experiences difficulty accepting personal limitations due to mental and physical health conditions, she finds it immensely gratifying to see her dream of bettering her community come to fruition.

“I have my RHA support network to thank for this and I want other RHA clients to learn from my story: Play outside the box of possibilities and GO for that dream!”

For more information: www.toybraryavl.com [email protected] 828.367.4614

 

The Recovery Education Center

Expressing Emotions Through Art Helps in Recovery

At RHA Behavioral Health in High Point, NC, facilitators in the REC Center’s Creative Arts Group assisted participants with expressing emotions through art. They learned to connect their emotions and thoughts to colors, patterns, textures, and images. Some of the artwork created in the recovery class is personal and others have a theme. Most recently, participants were guided through an activity to help them process events in the area such as the devastation of hurricanes Matthew and Florence. They also discussed the aftermath of 9/11-how they were personally affected, and how their communities responded.

Darkness Turns to Light

Through art, they were given the opportunity to show what they all concluded: Darkness Turns to Light. In the panels on the left, participants chose color palettes and patterns to reflect what their storms (“Darkness”) look and feel like. They demonstrate turmoil, hate, destruction, chaos, devastation, loss, battles, hurricanes, tornados, and anything else that a storm can bring. The results of these storms can be physical, mental, financial, and emotional. They are painful.

The Light That Comes After the Darkness is Healing

In the panels on the right, participants chose color palettes and patterns to reflect what the aftermath of their storms (“Light”) looks and feels like. Specifically, they wanted to show the light that can come from darkness. These panels represent unity, peace, community, love, rebuilding, rising from the destruction, support, serenity, and gratitude. Surviving life’s storms can renew a person, a family, and a community. The light that comes after the storm is healing.

The contrasting colors and styles of design display the contrasting emotions and thoughts the participants experienced during and after recent storms, literally and metaphorically. By focusing on the light that comes after the darkness, participants have re-defined what it means to be survivors.

Written by Marissa Salvitti, NCCPSS
Recovery Education Center Class Facilitator
High Point Walk-In and Wellness Center

The RHA Recovery Education Center (REC) offers information, treatment and empowerment to people with mental health and substance use challenges. It provides an educational environment built around five key recovery concepts: hope, personal responsibility, self management education, and self-advocacy support. 

Learn more about our Outpatient Based Services below:

Outpatient Based Services in North Carolina

Alamance County “Steps Up”

There has been a sea change in the way police interact with people experiencing mental illness.

In his four decades in law enforcement Kirk Puckett, Director of Community Relations for the Alamance County, North Carolina Sheriff’s Department, has seen a sea change in the way that police interact with people who have mental illnesses in the criminal justice system. “It used to be that police had two options, either arrest that person and take them to jail or send them to the emergency department if they didn’t violate the law,” he said. “Many times we may not even have recognized the person had a mental illness.”

“Every time that a law enforcement officer brings someone in and helps them get connected to services instead of taking them to jail, we’ve done a good thing”, says Sara Huffman, Clinical Director for RHA Health Services which is the county’s crisis service contractor.

Using funding from a JMHCP grant, Alamance County was able to expand the reach of its Stepping Up initiative to include increasing the number of Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)-trained police officers as well as providing mental health first-aid training to detention and court staff, expanding a co-responder pilot program, and establishing a 24-hour diversion center. “We’re not treating people short term, we’re treating them for the long term,” says Puckett.

Since starting the Alamance County Stepping Up, more than 200 police officers have been CIT trained and more than 300 officers have received mental health first-aid training. information sharing has increased across behavioral health and criminal justice agencies, strengthening the collaboration between law enforcement and behavioral health.

To read the entire article and view the video:

 

 

 

Project Alcopop Sticker Shock!

Teens mitigate underage alcohol sales by calling-out alcopops.

On September 22nd  at Eblen Short Stop in Fairview, NC, RHA Prevention Youth staff, Hannah Bruce and Ada Holt, planned and participated in Project Alcopop Sticker Shock! as part of the North Carolina Preventing Underage Drinking Initiative. At this event teens placed warning “stop sign” stickers on the lids and cases of alcopops. Alcopops are fruity, malt flavored alcoholic beverages, which are popular among youth. Alcopops often taste and resemble soda, juice and energy drinks, and aren’t bitter like beer or wine. Examples include Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Hard Ciders.

Because of their sweet flavor and low cost, alcopops are marketed to youth.

The warning stickers placed on the alcopops remind adults to check IDs, not sell alcohol to minors and not purchase alcohol for minors. This project gives youth the opportunity to take responsibility and hold adults responsible.

Ada and Hannah’s prevention efforts got national attention. Online news site, The Take Out, wrote an article on the event titled “NC: Teens tag North Carolina stores’ ‘alcopops’ with red warning stickers.” This article was then shared by the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association.

This article makes one thing very clear: youth are powerful and their message is being heard.

The NABCA is asking RHA youth to back down. The article states “…if [this project] turns into a statewide or national movement, [alcohol] companies might step in to politely request these kids save their stickers for their trapper keepers.” As a way to prevent negative press, alcohol companies are intimidating youth. The NACBA sees youth-led public health campaigns as a threat.

RHA Prevention youth staff are not anti-alcohol, we are anti-underage drinking. This project isn’t about drawing attention to the alcohol industry. This project is to educate adults in our community. Youth want it known that ninety percent of people before the age of 21 are drinking alcohol; furthermore, youth who start drinking before age 15 are 4x’s more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life than those who begin drinking at or after age 21.  Youth know their responsibility and are reminding adults of theirs.

This article was written by Hannah Bruce, Youth Prevention Specialist & Heather Daniels, Prevention Specialist 1

https://www.nabca.org/sites/default/files/assets/files/2018DNU/DNU_SEPT_25_018.pdf to read the original article covered by the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association.

NC Governor Roy Cooper Appoints RHA’s Jerry Wease to Commission

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Congratulations to Jerry Wease on his appointment by Governor Roy Cooper to the N.C. Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services. Jerry has been with the RHA ACT Team in Rutherford County for 4 years.  Two years ago he was promoted to Team Leader and has done an excellent job leading his staff in the service of the people they support.

Wease is a NAMI member and has earned certification as a LPC, LCAS, CSI, and NCC. After graduating at the top of his class from Gardner-Webb University with his MA/Ed.S in Mental Health Counseling, Jerry has provided clinical services and advocacy in many roles across the state from enhanced treatment services, clinical supervision, community advocacy, and teaching at the university level.

Jerry has worked with adolescents and adults with mental health and substance use disorders and primarily endorses a cognitive behavioral approach. Jerry believes that recovery is possible for individuals, families, and communities.

In his spare time Jerry enjoys volunteering, singing, animals, and sitting on the porch with a good book and a cup of coffee.

Thanks for your service not only to our community, but also to our state.

RHA‘s Julie Huneycutt appointed to Senate Opioid Council

Sen. Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson) announced the N.C. Senate appointment of Julie Huneycutt, a Hendersonville resident, to the state’s Task Force on Sentencing Reforms for Opioid Drug Convictions.

Huneycutt will work with the attorney general, secretary of Health and Human Services, secretary of Public Safety, chief deputy secretary of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice, director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, and executive director of the N.C. Sentencing and Advisory Commission to study the modification of current statute and how to recognize those convicted of opiate related crimes who would be able to successfully reintegrate into society.

“It is no surprise to those who know the work she has done in our community that Julie was selected to serve on this task force,” Edwards said. “The opioid drug epidemic effects everyone and every area of our state. Julie has been fighting for education and prevention for years. Her appointment to this task force strengthens the voice of our district in Raleigh and ensures that those best qualified are fighting to understand this epidemic.

“Julie will no doubt be very influential in this role, and each member of this task force will see her passion for this subject. I am grateful that Julie is willing to serve our area in such an important capacity to help make a difference and I was delighted to able to recommend her for this position.”

Huneycutt has been advocating against opioid and prescription drug abuse for many years. She attended N.C. State University, earning her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Reading Education. She also attended classes at Duke University, receiving her Prevention Coordinator Certification.

In 2014, Huneycutt became the director of HopeRx, Henderson County’s coalition to address prescription drug abuse and prevention. She also co-founded Anna’s Hope, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of prescription drug abuse.
She is an appointee to the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council and speaks regionally on issues surrounding prescription drug abuse. The Task Force on Sentencing Reform for Opioid Drug Convictions was created this year in House Bill 464. This task force will utilize those with extensive backgrounds and experience dealing with the opioid epidemic to better understand addicts and those convicted of related crimes.

Julie Huneycutt, who has been with RHA since 2015, says “We are confident that our footprint of prevention in Henderson County is contributing to awareness about this epidemic and is creating a platform to reduce the misuse of prescription, over the counter, and other illicit drugs through diversion and safe medication events, as well as public forums, and education in our schools. Our coalition continues to build a very strong partnership and is in full collaboration with local law enforcement, City and County Government, the Department of Public Health, City and County Schools, both area Hospitals, non-profit community clinics, EMS and Fire Departments as well as faith-based organizations, those with lived experience and community members.”

visit us online at www.hope-rx.org or on our Facebook page, HopeRx, Henderson County.

Lindsay Carver Stockman of RHA Honored as Advocate of the Year by CADCA

Lindsay Carver Stockman, CSAPC has been chosen to receive an Advocate of the Year award during Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s (CADCA) 28th Annual National Leadership Forum.

The CADCA honors leaders who have consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure legislative victories for the substance abuse prevention field. Lindsay is employed by RHA Prevention Resource Center as The Buncombe County Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator and Coordinator for The Partnership for Substance Free Youth in Buncombe County. She is a great asset to the RHA Health Services family and we are very proud of her many accomplishments.

The award will be presented on Thursday, February 8, 2018 during the
National Leadership Awards Luncheon at the Gaylord National Hotel in
National Harbor, MD. CADCA Public Policy Associate, Nikki Semenza, says
“We cannot express how thankful we are for your help to garner support
for all of the areas of interest to CADCA and the substance abuse
prevention field. You are always willing to go the extra mile and your
efforts have made a tremendous impact on our field.”

Lindsay attended The University of North Carolina-Asheville and graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health and Wellness Promotion and from the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) Academy in 2012. She was awarded one of the Top 40 Under 40 Young Professionals in Asheville in 2012. Lindsay was elected to the North Carolina Prevention Providers Association in 2013, which is a state board that acts as a liaison between Prevention Providers and the NC State Prevention Department. In 2014 she was elected to the Executive Committee and continues to serve as a Western Region Representative for Prevention in 2014

Lindsay is married to husband Michael and lives in Hickory NC with their dog Bailey.

For more information about CADCA, visit www.cadca.org

The Opioid Crisis: One community fights back.

The opioid epidemic facing our country, state, and local neighborhoods is proving to be an extraordinary opponent, but the community stakeholders in New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington are rising to the call and fighting back.

RHA has had the opportunity over the past several months to participate in a multitude of initiatives to combat this health crisis and we are honored to work alongside a host of others dedicated to serving. Projects such as the LEAD project, the Quick Response Team pilot, medication drop off sites, and community forums are designed to make a difference in the lives of those affected by opiate misuse.

Whether it is first responders, city or county officials, educators, or behavioral health providers, everyone comes to the table as an equal partner possessing knowledge, expertise, and compassion with a common goal of making a difference.

Leaders in this effort include professionals and citizens who have looked past artificial boundaries and are banding together around several strategies aimed at creating a healthier, more informed community. SEAHEC is leading the charge with increasing awareness and educating the public through pulling people from all layers of community groups.

This story is all about the team work we have experienced and the solutions we have produced as a group. I personally have been humbled by everyone’s willingness to come to the table asking the question “How can I help? How can I serve?”  -Kathy Smith, Ph.D. Chief Operating Officer, RHA Health Services, Behavioral Health

Opioid Task Force
L-R Front Travis Robinson, Molly Daughtry, Deb Vuocolo, Kathy Smith, Olivia Herdon, Tony McEwen; Back Kenny House, Antonio Roper, Mitch Cunningham (Robert Childs not pictured)

Read the entire article

Drug Take Back Scheduled Saturday April 29th from 10am to 2pm in Asheville NC

The Partnership for Substance Free Youth of Buncombe County and RHA Prevention Resource Centers are sponsoring a Drug Take Back event on Saturday April 29th from 10am to 2pm at various locations in Asheville, NC. You can turn in your unused or expired medications for safe disposal. Did you know that most abused prescription drugs come from family and friends? You could be a drug dealer and not even know it! Read the Got Drugs? Take Back Flyer or download below for detailed instructions and join us on April 29th at our event.

Click here for a downloadable PDF of the Got Drugs? Take Back flyer 

The following locations will be participating:

Walgreens 1124 Patton Ave, Asheville
Walgreens 1835 Hendersonville Road, Asheville
Walgreens 91 S. Tunnel Road, Asheville
Walgreens 841 Merrimon Avenue, Asheville
Walgreens 578 New Leicester Highway, Asheville
SONA 805 Fairview Rd, Asheville

 The Partnership for Substance Free Youth in Buncombe County is a coalition of K-12 schools, private businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies in Buncombe County and the greater Asheville area that is committed to keeping children away from alcohol and drugs.

RHA Prevention Resource Centers, formally known as Addiction Recovery and Prevention (ARP), has a long-standing tradition and expertise in providing drug use prevention services for youth, families, and communities across Western North Carolina (WNC). We believe decreasing risk and building protective factors in our youth and families is an integral part of tackling addiction.

For more information:

Phone: 828-348-2641
Email: [email protected]
RHA Prevention Resource Centers
84 Coxe Avenue, Ste 1-C Asheville, NC 28801

24-Hour Access and Crisis Telephone Contacts
828-586-5501 or 1-800-849-6127
Mobile Crisis Management
1-800-573-1006
Youth Suicide Hotline
1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)