Recent News

Emergency Certification

Touchstones long time Counselor Eddie Eien recently received his CERT Certification. CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) are first responders who provide fire and medical services after a major disaster, as police and fire fighters may not be able to meet all the demand for these services. Factors such as number of victims, communication failures and road blockages will prevent people from accessing emergency services they have come to expect at a moment's notice through 911. People will have to rely on each other for help in order to meet their immediate life-saving and life-sustaining needs. The Community Emergency Response Team concept was developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department in 1985. The Whittier Narrows earthquake in 1987 underscored the area-wide threat of a major disaster in California. Further, it confirmed the need for training civilians to meet their immediate needs. As a result, the LAFD created the Disaster Preparedness Division with the purpose of training citizens and private and government employees. SMRS is pleased to add Eddie to our list of staff certified in this important skill.

Through a Child’s Eyes: Understanding Addiction and Recovery

It was a great honor to welcome Mr. Jerry Moe to the recent All-Staff meeting at the Brea Community Center. Jerry is the National Director of Children’s Programs at the Betty Ford Center at Rancho Mirage, California.  An Advisory Board Member of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA), he is also an author, lecturer, and trainer on issues for children and families hurt by addiction.  Jerry’s sincere love and dedication for the young individuals he serves poured out into his lecture and flowed through his presentation, allowing SMRS staff to gain a greater insight and knowledge into the hearts and lives of those also affected by the disease of addiction…the children of alcoholics and addicts.  To learn more about working with children affected by addiction, call 877.507.6242.

Women's Empowerment

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!!!

Educational Conference

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.

Another Birthday!

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."