Presented By McDonald’s, I’m Lovin’ It!
The Hope Partnership Project (HPP), at its annual corporate member meeting on September 16 2021, recognized several individuals and agencies that help the HPP achieve its goals of decreasing the impact of substance use disorder in our community.
Those honored included Michael Benson of Benson-Susser Law Office for his assistance with legal filings to establish HPP as a not-for-profit corporation in Ohio. Also honored were Judge Michael Ater as government advocate of the year for his vision of and establishing the drug court in the Ross County Common Pleas court. Ater was also instrumental in securing funding for the Hope Partnership Project coordinator in 2015.
BrightView Health, a Cincinnati based substance use disorder treatment provider, was recognized as Medication Assisted Treatment Provider of the Year for their rapid deployment in Chillicothe of services for those patients with substance use disorder. They provide evidence based treatments for substance use disorder in Chillicothe. They collaborate and cooperate with Adena’s Emergency Department to offer same day or next day appointments for those who have been identified with opioid use disorder and are seeking treatment for their disease.
Integrated Services for Behavioral Health (ISBH) was recognized for being a Mental Health and Substance Abuse Advocate of the Year. This award highlighted the vision and community focus ISBH has, an example of which is a social worker embedded in the Chillicothe Police Department who helps coordinate services for citizens that law enforcement encounters that need support. Joanna Denny, a licensed independent social worker, has become part of the team with the police department assisting officers with resources they previously did not have access to.
The Recovery Advocate of the Year is Christina Arredondo, a chemical dependency counselor and peer recovery supporter supervisor. She experienced the loss of her daughter and unborn grandchild to an overdose. She turned that unspeakable pain into action by opening a women’s recovery home, founded the Ross County Outreach and Recovery Center where people can be accepted where they are in their journey, providing basic human needs and connections. She works at the Rulon Center, a men’s residential treatment program in Chillicothe and also helped to found First Capital Prevention on Main, with outreach to LGBTQ youth and any other youth that needs a connection.
Donna Collier-Stepp, also a licensed independent social worker helped to start Adena Maternity Center’s Centering Program for women with substance use disorder. This program provides buprenorphine medication assisted treatment as well as group counseling and other social supports. This program was recognized by Ohio Medicaid as a Best Practice and was used as a model for other programs.
Also recognized was Another Chance Ministries (ACM) of Zion Baptist Church, founded by Rev. Dr. J. Troy Gray in 2011 with a recovery home for men and since then has expanded to multiple recovery homes for men and women and has touched over 400 lives of those who came to ACM with no hope. Now in Ross and Highland Counties, with recovery housing for men and women and an outpatient treatment center in Greenfield, ACM continues to bring about renewal in our community. ACM has also guided over 30 people in recovery to jobs in substance use disorder treatment roles.
The MADE Program and Drug Free Clubs of America were the final agency being recognized. MADE, which stands for My Attitude Determines Everything, has impacted innumerable high schools students by setting the peer expectation of living a substance free life. Data over time has shown this program has a positive impact on preventing substance abuse in young people. MADE hosts The Buck Fifty, a 150 mile relay run through Ross County, raises money to support the programming including drug testing of students across the region. Dave Huggins, leader of this effort received the award on behalf of the organization.
HPP, a not for profit collaborative made up over 60 community partners and 150 individual members supports public events, shares promising practices, recommends policy changes, and continues to advocate for affected individuals and families by assuring partnerships and resources for SUD prevention, early intervention, treatment, and recovery in Ross County.