Staff member Denise Valdivia (center left) recently completed her first “Women’s Empowerment Group” with the women from Stepping Stones. Everyone truly felt proud and expressed feelings of accomplishment.
River Community Covina events
River Community Covina Participant, Sara presented staff and peers with a wonderful presentation “Alcoholics Anonymous in Ireland”. In 1943, after immigrating to the U.S., Conor F., from Roscommon in the west of Ireland, and a tavern owner, joined A.A. in Philadelphia. This led to the formation of the first A.A. group in Europe in Dublin in November 1946. When Conor returned to Ireland on vacation, he was three years sober and determined to set up an AA group in Dublin before his return to America in January 1947. It was known as the First Dublin Group or The Country Shop Group, the name of the restaurant where he and his wife had met.
“We do recover”…. Ashley recently took her 1 year of sobriety. Ashley did everything she had intended to do….get sober, work her steps, spend time with her sponsor, meet with her counselor, and a lot of 12 step meetings. Ashley shared this very special moment with staff and her peers and received her one year sobriety medallion. We are so very proud of you Ashley!!, “Keep Coming Back”.
Ban on Alcohol Ads
After more than three and a half years of vigilant advocacy, The Coalition To Ban Alcohol Ads On Public Property, finally stood victorious. On Tuesday, January 20th, the Los Angeles City Council voted 12-0 to ban alcohol advertisements on most city-owned property. United Coalition East Prevention Project (UCEPP) has been an integral part of this Coalition. Councilmembers Paul Koretz and Jose Huizar were co-sponsors of the Ordinance.
Both representatives cited the documented connection between youth exposure to alcohol ads and underage drinking as reasons for pushing through this legislation. Our Coalition was able to convince the Councilmembers that the more ads kids see, the more likely they are to drink, and to drink to excess. The work of UCEPP staff, Pueblo y Salud, Alcohol Justice, Boyle Heights Stakeholders Association, Korean Youth Community Center (KYCC), Women Against Gun Violence and The Coalition To Ban Billboard Blight (to protect the children of LA from “city-authorized” alcohol ads) was a great example of community organizing and persistence. People and groups from across the city and LA County joined with us over the years. Kitty Dukakis, former First Lady of Massachusetts, testified at one hearing, while television actors John Whittaker and Kirkwood Smith were strong consistent Coalition members and supporters.
Also, it was a GREAT WAY to celebrate KevinMichael Key's 65th Birthday!!!
Social Model Recovery Systems recently co-hosted an educational conference with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation at two different locations - Huntington Beach and Berkeley. The title of this year’s conference was “Treatment Approaches for Clients with Sexual Concerns”. The focus of the training and subsequent group discussion looked at how to treat the sexual concerns that clients and participants may have, using an approach that is fixed on shame reduction and sex-positive empowerment. Buster Ross (center left) is the director of the LGBTQ Integrative Treatment Program at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and, although he is an LGBTQ expert, he delivers work that is equally relevant to heterosexual people seeking recovery.
Touchstones residents and staff attended the 12 Step meeting to watch Zac take his one year sober chip. Zac's mom was very tearful and said “Thank you Touchstones for saving my son's life. Every Wednesday night I told him he was worth the journey - and he was - and is today Sober!!!" Zac shared "Being sober really changed my life. I would never have become sober without the help of all the amazing staff at Touchstones. I live a much better life and I am truly grateful for my experience at Touchstones."
Martin Luther King Day Panel
In January, residents of Touchstones as well as Stepping Stones attended discussion panels at Pitzer college commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. day. The Touchstones-attended panel focused on civil rights, social and environmental justice, as well as juvenile justice issues. They enjoyed the discussion and afterwards spoke with the panelists at length about how they can contribute to these areas in their own lives. The kids also enjoyed touring the campus and viewing the beautiful murals that make the Claremont Colleges so unique. Several of the kids also tried their skills at tight rope walking! The less daring hung out in the campus hammocks, and admired the organic orchard. One resident stated “I love this college! It feels like I’m home”. Hopefully with exposure to this type of academic setting, someday he will too. The Stepping Stones residents attended a panel discussion: Martin Luther King Jr. Finding Common Ground in the Struggle for Human Rights. The residents loved being on a college campus and were excited to be a part of such an important event.
Mariposa staff members Carolina Rocha and Vivian Escamilla recently became certified Domestic Violence Advocates. We all celebrated with a completion ceremony dinner with all our peers including our instructor Ms. Bernita Walker from Project Peacemakers. Program Director Melanie Arellano supported both counselors in completion of the training.