Across the Commonwealth of Virginia, Community Service Boards (CSBs) serve as joint partnerships between state and local governments to meet critical behavioral health needs in every county. Piedmont Regional Community Services Board has long served as one of those entities, providing support for over the last 40 years for over 7,500 individuals each year. Piedmont’s offerings have included services for individuals facing mental health issues, developmental disabilities, substance use disorder and related challenges in Henry, Franklin and Patrick Counties. Now, with nearly $499,000 in support from ARC’s INvestments Supporting Partnerships In Recovery Ecosystems (INSPIRE) Initiative, Piedmont will expand their Community Recovery Program to include more local partners and increase the number of individuals in long-term recovery.
Piedmont’s Community Recovery Program (CRP) provides occupational training to individuals with substance use disorder and/or a mental health disorder to help them obtain employment, independence and a productive place in their community. CRP also provides vocational services, job search assistance, and referrals to community resources that will aid in sustained recovery. Using their ARC INSPIRE award, Piedmont will transition their vocational training program from an in-house service to a community-focused service, where CRP will offer the service to community agencies and faith-based organizations.
The funding will also support CRP’s capacity to increase the number of individuals who receive support services, including placements with new community and faith-based partners. Most CRP participants have a prior criminal history, little to no connection with family and are in unstable living conditions. Expanding the program to include more community organizations creates new opportunities for individuals to gain valuable work experience and make new local connections. Furthermore, participating agencies and organizations will be asked to make a donation for every vocational service provided by CRP, allowing participants to actively contribute to the continuation of services.
CRP also plans to increase the number of Peer Specialists, including sponsoring training and credentials for a Peer Specialist Trainer. This position will help CRP participants serve their community “within the community” by supporting peers through their own lived experience and understanding.
According to Lisa Smith, CRP’s Program Manager, the CRP staff has adopted “you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think” as their team motto and apply it to their work daily. This outlook is imperative for individuals overcoming substance abuse disorder, who face innumerable obstacles in the journey to recovery and workforce reentry. Smith also said: “At CRP, it takes a village to assist the individuals we get to serve and our village are the other community resources.” Key partnerships at the local, state, regional, and federal levels ensure that individuals can receive the assistance they need and the encouragement to contribute to their community in meaningful ways.
Learn more about ARC’s INSPIRE Initiative awardee stories below.