... and why it matters.
We've been hearing a lot lately around social media that as a community we need to be harder with negative consequences for people who "don't want treatment" or "don't want to help themselves" or "refuse the help they are offered". Please take 5 minutes out of your day to hear Maia Szalavitz, world renowned author, addictions specialist, and long time chaotic, heroin and cocaine user, speak about addiction as a learning disorder. Addiction by definition is not only a physical dependence to a substance, but it is also compulsively using substances DESPITE negative consequences. If we want to change the behavior of people who use substances in our community, we need to bring them in without judgement, teach them how to be responsible and self aware about how their actions affect those around them, and teach them different ways to cope with the world around them. If compulsive use despite negative consequences is the definition of addiction, why would more negative, punitive consequences get people to change their behavior? We've tried that for decades and it hasn't worked. This framework for understanding addiction helps to de-polarize the conversation of what is right and what is wrong and see this issue in a new light. If you spent time to watch Seattle is Dying, please give this video the same courtesy. To be clear, we believe there is no one pathway for people in their road to recovery. For some people abstinence based, 12 step models are vital. For many others, alternative treatments are necessary and life saving. We meet people wherever they are at on that spectrum and support them in getting connected to the resources they need and want in a non-judgmental and de-stigmatized way. I want to acknowledge that this is a nuanced and painful discussion for many of us with loved ones or personal experience with addiction and recovery. As a community we must find ways to bridge the divide in this conversation, to recognize that what works for one will not work for another and that we all need each other to continue shifting towards a safer, more supportive community for all of us. <3 <3 <3
4 reflections... one for each year.
(Jeanne, Dave, Tarryn, Brittany and myself) are still employed at IW. That's 45%! That's a really big deal for such high stress and emotionally demanding work with an dramatically high turnover rate nationwide. What I love though, is that of the staff who have moved on; Jack and Max are in nursing school, Cassie completed certification as an EMT and is working towards becoming a paramedic, Krista and Tarryn (Tarryn is still with us, but still...) are in MSW school, Jeff is a school social worker for homeless youth in a rural, underserved county, Sadie is a radical, body positive esthetician, Rebecca is an artist and activist who is part of an Indigenous artist collective and recently performed at the SAM as part of the Double Exposure Exhibit, Kai is in school to become a doctor of eastern medicine with a focus in acupuncture, Denver started grad school in community organizing, economic development and city planning, Dan is the veteran's case manager at Drexel II, Kipp is involved with a long standing syringe exchange program in Philadelphia, Olive is a core staff member at the Thurston County Food Bank, Eva is a parent and director at Together working to advance opportunities for marginalized kids, Colin works at Rosie's Place and has been with CYS for years, Jenny Lee is a Downtown Emergency Services Center (DESC) Supervisor to case managers at the cutting edge Seattle Navigation Center, Simon is supporting at risk youth through a wilderness survival program in Pennsylvania, Aaron works for a youth shelter in NYC, and Ella is the primary caregiver to a family member who suffered a major medical event. The amazing thing is that this list isn't even inclusive of all the amazing things that our staff have gone on to do, and influence in the world beyond the walls of the IW EOS. Thank you for letting us be a step along your way to greatness.
HUGE thank you to Outdoor Arts and Rec!
We are here to report another amazingly successful year with Rainshadow Running at the helm of the June 16th, Millersylvania 10K/30K/50K trail race in support of the Interfaith Works Homeless Services Program! The 2018 race proceeds doubled last year! You helped raise $10,000 for the IW Homeless Services Program! Thank you to James so much but especially for high fiving each runner as they crossed the finish line, Elizabeth for all your wrangling and bottom lining of the event, all the other Rainshadow staff and volunteers for holding it down, Deborah the IW Office Manager for sharing info on our program, IW Support Staff Evilyn and Midden for driving the van full of guests to cheer runners on, all the guests who came to cheer people on, and ESPECIALLY all the runners who made this event possible! Special shout out to Doug and Jack for repping the IW team in the 10K two years (literally) running! We are so grateful and feel so connected to our community on days like this. Thank you thank you thank you, everyone! <3 <3 <3
This year doubled last year, raising $10,000 for the IW Homeless Services Program!
The Community Care Center is hosting it's second monthly community workshop! This month will be led by our partners at SideWalk.
Housing First approaches are based on the concept that a homeless individual or households first and primary need is to obtain stable housing, and that other issues that may affect the household can and should be addressed once housing is obtained. In contrast, many other programs operate from a model of "housing readiness" — that is, that an individual or household must address other issues that may have led to the episode of homelessness prior to entering housing.
SideWalk and its community partners adopted this model and strive to find housing for individuals first, while working to secure other resources to meet the person’s ongoing challenges or needs.
This workshop will discuss the tenants of Housing First and demonstrate the methods that are working and the challenges experienced in the process.
We hope to see you there!
Visit our Facebook event page! www.facebook.com/events/629954054006793/
May is the inaugural month of the Community Care Centers new evening workshop program aimed at continued community education and engagement. We are kicking it off Thursday May 17th with "What is Harm Reduction, and why does it work?"
Join us at the Community Care Center to explore what Harm Reduction is, what it isn't, how we implement it in our daily lives, and why we integrate it into services for our neighbors experiencing homelessness.
We hope to see you there!
Visit our Facebook event page!
On May 1st, a group of protestors distributed a flyer in Olympia's South Capitol neighborhood that supported a demonstration at Mayor Cheryl Selby's house. The flyer specifically named Interfaith Works Warming Center funding decisions as one reason behind the protest. We want to reassure our community that we do not condone this action, nor had any knowledge about it beforehand. Please click the image below to read our full statement to the community on this issue, and join us as we recommit ourselves to partnership, bridge building, and community healing, just as we have done for four decades in Thurston County. Thank you. <3 <3 <3
Meg Martin, MSW, CPC, is the Executive Director for The Interfaith Works.