Contributed by Michelle Overstreet
At MY House, we like to focus on outcomes, not outputs. We focus on what our clients accomplish that makes their life better, not how many clients we have. We reflect on how we were able to empower them, facilitate change and goal attainment.
In 2016, MY House on-site partner Nine Star offered 42 interns the opportunity to train for jobs through MY House programs, and some are still in training. Of those, 31 received food workers cards and 10 were trained with Alaska Host Customer Service training (new opportunity), recognized as a gold standard for the tourism industry. Sam Nerguson is a client who was trained in the café and is now training to be a manager.
Ten clients earned their driving permits, and seven passed the test to be licensed drivers. We had eight donated vehicles that were given in 2016, all to youth with licenses, jobs and insurance.
Five clients graduated from four different local high schools, and four of those started college.
(For those who are counting, four of the five youth who started college last year are still attending!) One went to Job Corps for continued training. We had two weddings, four babies, and currently have three former interns as managers in the café and boutique! While we continue to connect with former clients to check in, we are proud of them all and can’t wait to see what they do next! Bring it!
In 2016, Steamdriven Boutique provided over $9000 in clothing to homeless youth from the Mat Su Valley! Clients get vouchers from case management and can shop amongst the other patrons of the store, finding shoes and boots, coats and clothing for school and work, and even household items if they have their own place. Our prices are kept intentionally low so that clients in job training programs can budget and plan for purchasing items they want to buy, moving from vouchers to being independent consumers.
If you are considering donating, please know that 100% of the profits from this store are used to support job training and case management services, and our training programs work! Watch for custom Steamdriven designs at the Valley Arts Alliance Wearable Art Show on Feb 18th at the Palmer Train Depot. Tickets online or at Town Square Art Gallery. This steampunk wedding dress was the Steamdriven entry for 2015.
Last July, MY House hosted a meeting to discuss the opiate overdose rate and addiction that has plagued our Valley and state. It was a very moving gathering, with people sharing and grieving. We are happy to report great progress!
The group consists of about 50 active community members, and includes Karl Sodorstrom and Kerby Kraus, founders of Fiend2Clean (see their Facebook page of the same name) and their local peer support program. Also on board is John Green, after losing his daughter this past year, he became a strong advocate for opiate recovery and prison detox reform. Michael Alter is an ER doctor who was tired of pronouncing young addicts dead and wanted to be part of the solution. It’s a passionate, educated and on-point team!
“Project Lazarus” is a pilot program offering ambulatory detox and long term maintenance. A five day detox with the Bridge Device (see details at www.prweb.com/releases/2016/11/prweb13859838.htm), a non-narcotic withdrawal protocol and then a shot of Vivitrol (Google this if you don’t know about it, it’s a methadone and suboxone alternative in the form of a shot every 28 days.). Then long-term treatment and peer support combine for promising outcome. Vivitrol is generally discontinued after 5-8 months and the addict is drug free!
The Opiate Task Force also hosted the First Annual Candlelight Vigil at Leo Nunley Park for families who have lost a loved one to addiction. Over 100 people sent 45 paper lanterns up into the sky, in memory of their children, spouses and parents. It was beautiful and devastating.