For those suffering from addiction or mental health issues, one of the greatest obstacles to recovery is finding the support they need. Thanks to a grant from the Pallottine Foundation of Huntington, W.Va., Catholic Charities West Virginia (CCWVa) is working to remove those obstacles.
The grant, totaling $275,980, will be used to provide financial assistance for clients to help them reach their educational or career goals. The funding will also support two full-time positions at CCWVa’s Center for Community Learning and Advancement (CCLA) located in Huntington.
“Introducing career exploration, education, and job readiness at an early point in the recovery process allows time for a person to work toward these goals while focusing on improving their mental, physical, and spiritual health at the same time,” said said Sara Lindsay, CCWVa Chief Program Officer. “Studies have shown that people are less likely to be able to maintain recovery if a stable living wage and a meaningful career path are not established.”
The CCLA blends traditional adult education and career planning with comprehensive case management to help learners reach their education and employment goals.
Currently, 69% of CCLA’s learners self-reported a history of substance use or that they are in recovery. Approximately 46% of these individuals reported “long-term substance abuse” problems on their screening assessment or were referred directly from a recovery service provider.
The grant allows CCWVa to hire a recovery retention specialist who will focus on educational and career readiness goals from a recovery-oriented perspective. This position will be centered in Huntington, where the community has already come together to respond holistically to the needs of those in recovery from substance use. Through formal partnerships with substance use treatment providers, mental health treatment providers, housing providers and other key recovery service providers, this person will work with current CCWVa staff to provide recovery-oriented educational and career readiness services in the recovery community.
“Our agency philosophy supports our moral and ethical obligation to help those neighbors living in our communities with the greatest need,” said Lindsay. “Recovery and mental health-related barriers are often at the heart of the need for assistance for those who reach out to us. With this grant from the Pallottine Foundation, we are thrilled to be able to expand our continuum of services tailored to meet the needs of those recovering from substance use disorder.”
The grant also funds the hiring of a community-based educational instructor to travel outside the CCWVa office to provide educational services at recovery centers and housing programs in the area.
“We believe that the work of organizations like CCWVa is key for moving the needle on increased access to healthy food, better mental health, fewer residents suffering with addiction, and fewer smoking-related health problems,” said Janell Ray, Pallottine Foundation of Huntington Chief Executive Officer. “CCWVa is already making significant strides, and we value their expertise and are excited by their ability to leverage our dollars to do even more.”
“Catholic Charities has a long history of providing holistic services to individuals and families with very complex needs, often including mental health and/or substance use,” said Beth Zarate, CCWVa Chief Executive Officer. “We know that a critical piece in the recovery journey is addressing career development and educational goals from a standpoint of grace and dignity.”