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 From left, CARE of Southeastern Michigan Program Supervisor Jeanne Royal, Director of Peer Recovery Services Paul Sarris, CEO Monique Stanton, volunteer coordinator Laura DeCew and Project Vox Coordinator Mark Kilgore stand in front of recently installed community art projects created in coordination with the Detroit Institute of Arts and CARE patients Feb. 20.

From left, CARE of Southeastern Michigan Program Supervisor Jeanne Royal, Director of Peer Recovery Services Paul Sarris, CEO Monique Stanton, volunteer coordinator Laura DeCew and Project Vox Coordinator Mark Kilgore stand in front of recently installed community art projects created in coordination with the Detroit Institute of Arts and CARE patients Feb. 20.

Photo by Deb Jacques


CARE of Southeastern Michigan opens new recovery center

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published March 11, 2020

 The outside of the building, a former dance studio, which faces Garfield Road.

The outside of the building, a former dance studio, which faces Garfield Road.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 A meditation room offers solace to visitors.

A meditation room offers solace to visitors.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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FRASER — The nonprofit CARE of Southeastern Michigan has expanded its services to strengthen the surrounding community, unveiling its first Recovery United Community Center on March 16, after press time.

Originally announced in the spring of 2019, this endeavor allows the organization to continue to help support those with substance abuse histories.

The center occupies a former office space at 32577 Garfield Road. Its doors have already been open. When you walk through the door, you see a congenial space with chairs that exudes relaxation. Nearby is a meditation room, offering solace to those who need time to themselves or with an employee at the center.

Programs are abundant in this new space, including: career planning, job training and support, resume workshops, monthly art groups, grief and trauma support, health and wellness activities like yoga, legal workshops, computer basics workshops, and support groups.

“This space really has a different feel than our main office,” said CARE President and CEO Monique Stanton. “Our main office is a clinical intervention; this is really a recovery-focused intervention, and it’s for all the supports that you need to sustain your recovery in addition to treatment.”

Peer Recovery Services Director Paul Sarris said the center revolves around connections and socializing. It’s a welcome space beyond the typical clinical sterile environment.

CARE Program Supervisor Jeanne Royal said that when people exit treatment and enter recovery, they find they “made a mess” of their lives and find worthwhile activities to absorb their time — maybe things they were never previously interested in prior to becoming addicts.

She said that people tend to see themselves in their addiction, so building self-esteem and self-worth can go a long way in the healing process.

“It gives people a place and something to do because when people stop using drugs, there’s a lot of empty spaces,” Royal said. “There’s a lot of gaps to fill.”

Mark Kilgore is the coordinator of Project Vox, an entity within CARE. In Latin, “vox” means “voice,” so the recovery community organization is essentially the “voice of recovery.”

He said Project Vox acts in myriad ways: to advocate, to educate, to celebrate recovery and to end discriminatory practices revolving around addiction and treatment. It is about meeting with politicians and educating lawmakers in Lansing on what addiction actually entails.

It means connecting with individuals in churches and civic groups, teaching them to how use and administer Narcan. Addiction and recovery practices are taught at local Macomb Community College campuses. It is also about teaching seniors about the dangers of opioid use, perhaps because they forgot they took their normal prescription or have slowed-down respiratory systems due to underlying health issues.

Project Vox is even responsible for sober-friendly gatherings on days like the Super Bowl and St. Patrick’s Day.

“I’ve lived it. I can help them,” said Kilgore, who has been in long-term treatment for over 21 years. “I had my struggles, and I still have struggles from time to time. That’s the beauty of the peer program, is working with others.”

Stanton said the No. 1 problem encountered through CARE is alcohol abuse. Leadership has also seen a “slight uptick” in crack cocaine and methamphetamine usage, the latter of which was never really prevalent in the immediate community.

“You’re starting to see some changes in what people use,” Stanton said. “A lot of the deaths in our community are really driven by fentanyl abuse, heroin laced with fentanyl.”

CARE has branched out by increasing its services due to demand. That is comprised of local partnerships with drug and sobriety courts, and working with Beaumont Hospital due to a large grant related to Medicaid treatment.

Kilgore said it’s all about planting a seed and “meeting people where they’re at,” finding out what they are ready and willing to do to change their lives — even when the “unknowns” can feel pretty daunting.

“We’re trying to be more active about going into the community and engaging with people maybe when they’re not asking for help,” Stanton said. “We’re not waiting for people to hit rock bottom.”

On Feb. 5, the center unveiled artwork created by people in recovery. They worked with staff at the Detroit Institute of Arts for about a two-week period in December, painting on canvases and using sponges and putty knives to create textured pieces that come to life — all in all creating one connected theme.

Stanton said art is healing — it is transformation. Sarris said some people were at the DIA every day. He and Kilgore were present, “beaming” at the transformation undergone by the individuals in treatment and recovery. He said it’s all about the participants’ willingness to “just show up” and be creative.

“It was the ripple effect, of how in our recovery, the ripple effect it has on the people around us,” Kilgore said. “It also represents the reflection of the water — the reflection on our life and how far we’ve come and what we’re doing today.”

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