Wellness Activities for some of the 33 Self-help Centers are described by their staff and included below:
At Freedom Trail Self-help Center we like to go bowling. We have also had people from the hospital, for example nutritionists, come and speak to our members. On one occasion, we invited 2 other SHCs to come to the presentation. It was somewhat difficult to manage all of the people - but we did it. We also have healthy meals that we make ourselves. Also, we spent wellness funds for a boom box that provides music that we can dance to.
The RITE Center now serves only Crystal Light juice drinks and water. We have replaced our daily snack items with healthier options: fresh fruit, 100 calorie snack packs, granola or whole grain bars. The RITE Center is the Burlington County Location for Suicide Anonymous (SA) support group meetings. Support for those currently experiencing or who have experienced suicidal thoughts or behaviors, or attempts. It is also for people who want to be supportive. The group meets twice a month after center hours, so that the community feels free to attend, as well. Our center also holds Recovery, Inc. meetings every Tuesday. Recovery, Inc. is a nationally known support group founded by Dr. Abraham Low. Groups are peer led by a trained and certified facilitator, and are a “safe and confidential” place to talk about life's challenges and receive support for self-help efforts. The group focuses on reframing negative thoughts into positive ones. The group is open to the community, as well, and gives the center another avenue of marketing itself to the community. In the fall, we will form a walking group for physical exercise and stress relief. The center also offers a Chair Yoga exercise group and meditation period, led by an instructor twice a month.
At Fresh Start Self-help Center activities include: Financial Wellness, which is run with a small group or we work one-to-one with members on financial training, focused on budgeting. The group works on a monthly budget and itemizes expenses. It also consists of categorizing items between wants or needs. For Social Wellness, we had a talent show that showcased the many talents of our members, ranging from singing to comedy acts. The idea to have a talent show was generated from a membership meeting and it was well-attended. All who participated received a certificate. Our Peer Employment Support Group focuses on Occupational Wellness, where we offer mock job interviews and help members write or update their resumes.
At Riverbank Self-help Center we offer groups on nutritional cooking, anger management, stress relief, hearing voices, guided imagery and WRAP to name a few. To help people prepare and choose better foods, we offered a series presented by nutritionists and cooks from the “Cooking Matters” program. We prepared and sampled wholesome foods and realized just how much fat and sugar are present in popular fast foods, using tablespoons of Crisco and sugar to see the reality of what those foods contain. In our ongoing nutrition and cooking program and our NEWR (Nutrition Exercise Wellness & Recovery) group, we look at the impact substitutions in recipes and food choices can have on the nutritional and calorie content of the foods we eat. We have made the wellness recovery action plan (WRAP) more fun and accessible to a range of consumers by turning it into a visual scrap booking format which everyone seems to enjoy and understand. While we try to educate people in all of our groups, we realize that we are first and foremost a support group for peers and we are always flexible in turning the focus to the needs of the members who are present. Often we apply the content of the "lesson" to their own circumstances so there is an opportunity for everyone to apply it to their own life. Naturally, we spend a great deal of “down time” at the Riverbank where we are not focused on formal groups. This is a chance for people to get individual peer support – anything from talking about their challenges or successes, to getting individual help on the computer, or learning living and social skills. We also use some to this time to go for a walk, or relax and socialize in the company of supportive peers. Community integration is another one of our goals and we are always looking for opportunities to get out in the community for entertainment, volunteering, shopping and a chance to improve social skills. We now offer a group, “Hearing Voices”, which has been very popular and helps people with unusual sensory experiences and intrusive thoughts, to deal with those experiences, other than relying on medication alone. In fact, coping with symptoms rather than expecting to medicate them away, is a topic we discuss frequently here at our center. We are currently planning to offer a group for dual recovery to further meet an expressed need of people in our program.
The Wellness Self-Help Center has started a quarterly peer community newsletter. The entire newsletter is written and produced by the members of our Wellness Self-Help Center. Also, we offer individual Wellness Coaching to discuss goals and accountability. We also provide community resources and supportive services. We offer twice a month, a Smart Recovery Group where individuals tell their personal story to encourage participation and healthy connection. We invite guest speakers from the community that are from other wellness programs to speak with our members. Lastly, The Wellness Self-Help Center offers a Smoking Cessation Group. In that group we bring awareness of the harm that smoking causes and the different methods to quit.
The Recovery Center at Eva’s Village is a volunteer peer-to-peer driven center and not a treatment program. We believe long-term recovery requires the acquisition of physical, emotional, relational and spiritual health, as well as community integration to move individuals toward the goal of living an independent and purpose-filled life. We provide a place where those in recovery can find help, fellowship and a safe haven. We offer free recovery support services through recovery coaching and peer support (not clinical treatment). We make available information, links to social service and treatment referrals, as appropriate. We sponsor social and recreation events and activities. We host Job Readiness, Computer and GED classes. We have peer support groups and workshops on addiction, nutrition, physical health, mental health, sexuality and spirituality (gender and culture specific groups and also available). We offer onsite childcare. We encourage volunteer opportunities which include recovery coaches, peer group facilitators, telephone and community outreach and peer office support workers. The Recovery Center is open seven days a week from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm and every holiday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.