New Program: Avanzando! Enhanced Residential Rehabilitation Services Treat Women Who Have Co-Occurring Disorders

We are now accepting residents for our new Avanzando! Enhanced Residential Rehabilitation Services at 14 Chestnut Place, Ludlow, MA. Avanzando! treats women 18 and older who are experiencing co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders (SUD).

The 20-bed program provides direct linkage to mental health clinical services and SUD treatment in a single setting by the same treatment team, as well as onsite Medically Assisted Treatment, a dedicated point person to facilitate referrals, and daily oversight by a certified peer recovery coach and mental health clinical supervisors.

“Today, substance use disorder in an individual is rarely unaccompanied,” said Moana Rawlins, Gándara Center’s division director of SUD residential recovery services. “Dual diagnosis, or co-occurring mental health disorders, are increasingly common.”

At Avanzando!, bilingual peer recovery coaches who have been trained by the state’s Bureau of Substance Abuse Services are on hand to meet with recoverees who have been identified as priority by a clinical team due to a recent overdose and/or detox admission. Every recovery coach begins an immediate partnership in a coaching relationship with each participant, consults with the clinical staff (clinicians, counselors, and nurses) on the most important concerns for the recoveree—and works with her to make a realistic next-step plan for ongoing support. “This plan includes how to stay in contact, when and where the next meeting will be, and other stops to make along the way to community reengagement,” said Rawlins.

Avanzando!’s staff/clinical team have the capacity to connect with outside community supports—as well as to communicate concerns, ideas, and recommendations in a multidisciplinary setting. Participants have social skill-building opportunities as a pathway to achieving long-term recovery and well-being.

Recoverees benefit from evidence-based strategies geared specifically toward their needs, along with their strengths—and those of their families. Our treatment includes traditional and holistic therapies that will allow each recoveree to develop skills to manage their unique needs and challenges.

Post-partum care is also offered, with treatment during and after pregnancy. Motherhood suites are available for mothers and their infants.

For more information, call 413-729-4250. Avanzando!’s fax number is 579-5948.

By |April 26th, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on New Program: Avanzando! Enhanced Residential Rehabilitation Services Treat Women Who Have Co-Occurring Disorders

#GandaraAtWork Episode 9: Lianette Rivera, In-Home Behavioral Services Director

This week on #GandaraAtWork, episode 9, we sit down with Lianette Rivera, In-Home Behavioral Services Director, at our 80 Commercial St. facility in Holyoke.

Liannette joined Gándara Center about five years ago as a behavior management monitor. It was in this role that she found her calling for human behavior, understanding how and why people behave the way they do. As she continued to grow in her role, Gándara and Lianette teamed up; Lianette pursued her Master’s degree and Gándara was generously flexible, allowing her to work while she was in school and fund her licensing and exam fees.

Her job allows her to bring her outside-work passions into the workplace. Lianette is an avid reader, traveler, and practitioner of yoga. She reads for fun but her choice in books also stands as a testament to supporting positive mental health and behavior. Yoga, too, offers her a chance for meditation, reflection, and of course a good stretch, and she loves rallying the folks at 80 Commercial to join her as she teaches classes.

Related: #GandaraAtWork Episode 8: Abrah Orth, Director of Family Support and Training

 

About: In-Home Behavioral Services

Our in-home behavioral services are delivered by one or more professional and paraprofessional staff who offer a combination of medically necessary behavior management therapy and behavior management monitoring. This program is used when less intensive behavioral interventions do not reduce or eliminate a youth’s problem behavior(s) or do not increase/maintain desirable behavior(s).

Eligibility: When clinical evaluation suggests that the youth’s clinical condition, level of functioning, and intensity of need require a specific structure and positive behavioral supports to successfully support a youth in the home and community.

Holyoke
80 Commercial Street
Holyoke, MA  01040
Intake: (413) 846-0445 x483

Boston
440 McClellan Highway
East Boston, MA  02128
Intake: (857) 366-7040 x514

Brockton
142 Crescent Street
Brockton, MA  02302
Intake: (508) 232-6670 x525

New Bedford
376 Nash Road
New Bedford, MA  02746
Intake: (774) 406-4620

By |April 23rd, 2019|People|Comments Off on #GandaraAtWork Episode 9: Lianette Rivera, In-Home Behavioral Services Director

#GandaraAtWork Episode 8: Abrah Orth, Director of Family Support and Training

For #GandaraAtWork episode 8, we sat down with Director of Family Support and Training Abrah Orth at our Community Service Agency/Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CSA/CBHI) office at 80 Commercial Street in Holyoke.

Abrah joined Gándara Center almost 10 years ago. She started out as a staffer as part of our residential programs and has since worked her way up the ladder. A dedicated worker who enjoys collaborating with her fellow co-workers, Abrah credits her personal growth opportunities to the fact that her supervisors recognized her talents and how hard she worked, and provided her the support to move into leadership positions. She thoroughly enjoys giving her staff the same show of support she received throughout the years, encouraging them to come up with new ideas to see what works for any given issue.

When she’s not working, Abrah enjoys being active. Whether she’s with friends or family, you might find her running, kickboxing, or going out in the community.

About the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI) – Specialized Community Service Agency (S-CSA)

Gándara is the only Specialized Hispanic Community Service Agency in the state. The CSA division provides flexible, family-driven, wraparound services for children and teens experiencing serious emotional disturbances and their families. A qualified bilingual care-planning team works with the family unit in the home as best to support the child while respecting the family’s values, beliefs and socio-economic status.

Services re aavailable in:

Holyoke
80 Commercial Street
Holyoke, MA  01040
Intake: (413) 322-7380 Ext. 440

Fitchburg
100 Franklin Road
Fitchburg, MA  01420
Intake: (978) 503-7520 Ext. 296

Boston
440 McClellan Highway
East Boston, MA  02128
Intake: (857) 366-7040 Ext. 514

Brockton
142 Crescent Street
Brockton, MA  02302
Intake: (508) 232-6670 Ext. 525

Taunton/New Bedford/Fall River
376 Nash Road
New Bedford, MA  02780
Intake: (774) 406-4620

 

Related: Interested in a mental health job at Gándara Center? Visit our website to learn about our open positions and about our mission as a nonprofit. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or comments about our vacant jobs.

By |April 12th, 2019|People|Comments Off on #GandaraAtWork Episode 8: Abrah Orth, Director of Family Support and Training

Read our April Newsletter Online!

Check out Gándara Center’s April Newsletter online. You can read about our Hope for Holyoke Recovery Center members and staff saving the life of an overdose victim with Narcan; the May 9 retirement party for our Executive Director Henry Julio East-Trou, and our 5th Annual Frozen Yogurt 5K in Northampton on August 25.

View some of our #GándaraAtWork videos: we want to introduce you to our staff, and in these short clips, you’ll meet employees from our facilities statewide to get a sense of who they are, what they do, and why they do it.

Speaking of our dedicated employees, you can also read about some noteworthy anniversaries of agency staff for the month of April—and read a profile of Lea Rojas Otero, an exceptional counselor at our Outpatient Clinic in Brockton.

Read the newsletter at https://mailchi.mp/gandaracenter.org/april-news.

By |April 10th, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Read our April Newsletter Online!

Problem Gambling Prevention: the Ambassador Project

The Ambassador Project is a problem gambling prevention program funded through the Massachusetts Department of Health’s Office of Problem Gambling Services. The programming involves a peer support model that trains men of color who are in recovery to have gambling prevention conversations with other men of color with a history of substance abuse. The goal is for them to lead conversations about problem gambling prevention in their communities.

This pioneering approach to gambling education is taking place in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Substance Addiction Services (BSAS)-funded peer recovery support centers that include Gándara’s PIER Recovery Center of Cape Cod (508- 827-6150), our Stairway to Recovery center in Brockton (774- 257-5660), and our Hope for Holyoke recovery center (413-561-1020). The Ambassadors provide outreach to organizations and institutions to establish collaborative partnerships in order to access peers at high risk of developing problem gambling and facilitate groups and individual conversations with them.

Research has shown that men are at a significantly higher risk than the general population for gambling, as are people of color and people with a history of substance use. The Ambassador Project is a community centered and culturally responsive effort to educate about the connection between gambling and other behavioral health-related disorders.

Participatory peer-to-peer prevention efforts with populations at risk have shown to be a powerful, effective, and sustainable—especially at Gándara’s recovery support centers. Massachusetts’ statewide implementation of the Ambassador Project is emerging as a promising strategy for problem gambling prevention and has the potential to emerge as an effective strategy nationally.

More information: https://www.mass.gov/orgs/office-of-problem-gambling-services.

By |April 10th, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Problem Gambling Prevention: the Ambassador Project

Hope for Holyoke Recovery Center Members and Staff Respond to an Overdose and Save a Life with Narcan

L-R: Sheri, John (holding a package of Narcan), Marcos, and James

L-R: Sheri, John (holding a package of Narcan), Marcos, and James

Screeching tires broke the silence on a quiet Saturday morning. A frantic man burst through the door. “Do you guys have Narcan?” he asked. “Somebody’s OD’ing right now! Right now! Right now!”

John Martinez, the volunteer coordinator for our Hope for Holyoke (HFH) peer recovery support center, knew there were two Narcan packages in a front desk drawer. And James Maloney, HFH’s peer resource specialist, had another two in his desk. HFH member Marcos Sepulveda sprinted across the street, and there was the victim, slumped over in a car seat.

The man, in his late 20s, had no pulse. “He was turning purple,” said John. Marcos opened a Narcan package and everyone sprang into action.

John called 911 from his cell phone. James also called 911 from the Hope for Holyoke land line “so we could make sure that it was the Holyoke Police Department that responded,” he said.

Marcos administered the Narcan. “There was saliva coming out of his mouth,” he said. “I started giving him CPR, and checked his pulse. It was real slow.” He performed more chest compressions. “His friend started smacking him,” said Marcos. “He was saying, ‘Come on, get up! Please!’ I said, ‘Don’t hit him. We got it.’”

Sheri Borsotti, an HFH member, as well as a peer leader and the center’s social media coordinator, calmed the driver down. “It’s going to be OK,” she said.

After two more doses of Narcan the man finally regained consciousness and got up. “Then the fire department and ambulance came and took over from there,” said John.

HFH does lifesaving work every day, providing support and helping prevent relapses, but little did employees and members know that on March 30 they would literally resuscitate a person on the brink of death.

“Imagine if we had been closed!” said Marcos.

It turned out to be a perfect storm of circumstances. HFH was preparing for its Morning Motivation meeting. A pedestrian had happened to be walking by and told the panicked driver that he could obtain Narcan at HFH. It was unclear why the driver had stopped at that location—possibly he knew that HFH was in the area and was afraid to go to the police station. “He was nervous because he didn’t have a driver’s license,” said John. Whatever the case may be, the bystander pointed him in exactly the right direction during an emergency in which every second counted. “We didn’t know any of them, but the guy walking by knew about us,” said John. “We all did what we needed to do—as if we had practiced.”

HFH was ready for such a situation because there was plenty of Narcan on hand, and Tapestry Health had provided them with Narcan training in March. Also, Marcos had remembered how to perform CPR from his days as a lifeguard from the Holyoke Boys & Girls Club. Deb Flynn-Gonzalez, HFH program director, was especially pleased that the bystander knew enough to tell the driver that Narcan was available across the street. “It shows the impact we have made in this community,” she said. “And we make sure we have enough Narcan on hand because some people need multiple doses, especially because sometimes fentanyl is involved.” Fentanyl is 25-50 times stronger than heroin.

The importance of Narcan in the opioid epidemic cannot be understated. It has been hailed across the country as an easy-to-use drug that reverses the effects of opioids and has saved thousands of lives, allowing overdose victims to breathe normally. Last fall, Gándara Center and Tapestry Health held Narcan overdose prevention trainings in Westfield, Ludlow, Palmer, Chicopee, Holyoke, and Springfield. The latter two events were conducted in Spanish.

“Harm reduction is not our main focus here—we are a recovery center,” said Deb, “But we have to be realistic and know that we are going to do some harm reduction.” Indeed, in the midst of the worst drug crisis in the nation’s history, knowing how to use Narcan and keeping it within reach can save a life. It certainly did on a quiet spring morning in Holyoke—with the help of people who had been trained to know what to do.

“I had never come that close to seeing someone die,” said Sheri. The incident certainly made for an interesting Morning Motivation meeting afterward, which was emotional to say the least. Deb was “blown away” when the events were related to her. “Marcos—everybody involved—totally rose to the occasion,” she said.

Want to know more about Narcan? View the PowerPoint presentation delivered last fall at community trainings offered by Gándara Center and Tapestry.

Read or watch the WWLP-22News story about the rescue.

police log

The Holyoke Police log on Saturday morning, March 30.

narcan wall
Hope for Holyoke keeps Narcan within arm’s reach for good reason.

saved my life

Also on the wall at HFH!

By |April 4th, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Hope for Holyoke Recovery Center Members and Staff Respond to an Overdose and Save a Life with Narcan

#GandaraAtWork Episode 7: Sara, In-Home Therapy Supervisor

It’s our pleasure to present to you a new look and feel for #GandaraAtWork Episode 7. Sara was the guinea pig for our new approach to these video profiles of our staff and we hope to continue with this style and format for future episodes. The essence of #GandaraAtWork will remain the same: introducing you to the people who work hard to improve our health and our communities.

Sara is the in-home therapy supervisor our CSA & CBHI program in Holyoke. A native of Connecticut and former Worcester-area resident, Sara moved to Western Mass. and was looking for a job similar to the one she had prior; for her, it was important to find an organization that prioritizes inclusion, community, and culturally sensitive care. When she came across Gándara, she felt right at home.

When Sara’s not working, you may find her studying (she’s pursuing a Master’s at Westfield State) or spending time with her dog Guinness. A young Great Dane/Lab mix, Guinness is in the early stages of becoming a therapy dog. He also happens to be Insta-famous.

A big thanks to Sara and Guinness for participating in #GandaraAtWork!

Our in-home therapy programs are designed to increase a family’s ability to support the healthy functioning of youth within the family, home, and community. The in-Home Therapy team is made up of practitioner(s), family, and youth.

Together they develop a treatment plan to address issues specific to the youth and family. Intervention techniques are designed to help in the following ways: solve problems, set limits, manage risk, communicate, build skills to strengthen the family, and improve ways of interacting with others. In addition, the practitioner helps the family identify and use community resources and develop a support system to maintain progress. Services are provided in the youth’s natural settings.

For admission to this program, a CANS assessment to determine the service is needed; outpatient services alone will not meet the youth’s or family’s clinical needs; caregivers’ voluntarily agree to participate and guardian gives consent.

Holyoke
80 Commercial Street
Holyoke, MA  01040
Intake: (413) 322-7380 Ext. 440

Fitchburg
100 Franklin Road
Fitchburg, MA  01420
Intake: (978) 503-7520 Ext. 296

Boston
440 McClellan Highway
East Boston, MA  02128
Intake: (857) 366-7040 Ext. 514

Brockton
142 Crescent Street
Brockton, MA  02302
Intake: (508) 232-6670 Ext. 525

Taunton/New Bedford/Fall River
376 Nash Road
New Bedford, MA  02780
Intake: (774) 406-4620

 

By |April 3rd, 2019|People|Comments Off on #GandaraAtWork Episode 7: Sara, In-Home Therapy Supervisor