Compiled with submissions by John E. Zidek, MSW, CADC, Community Treatment Director, Chicago Office; Cathryn Smith, MS, CADC, Clinical Supervisor, Logan CC – Dual Diagnosis and Carlos G. Rodriguez, Program Director, Chicago Office
WestCare Illinois has several exciting updates from the month of July to share! We have continued to provide licensed Substance Use Disorder Treatment (SUDT) services through an off-site program to justice-involved Veterans at the Cook County Jail. On July 9, our SUD Counselor, Deyon Myles, organized a resource event at the jail, which was attended by multiple Veterans-specific providers. The justice-involved Veterans on-hand were able to learn more about the benefits and resources that are available in the community. The event was featured on FOX 32 Chicago as well as in the Daily Herald newspaper. Thank you, Deyon, for your hard work and dedication!
Meanwhile, the expansion to our Dual Diagnosis program at the Logan Correctional Center began last month. Current clients joined the expansion members as well as a mental health program run at the facility on a new housing unit. Both programs on the unit are working on providing a therapeutic environment that acts as an uplifting space and promotes pro-social behaviors. This expansion has provided a collaborative experience between WestCare and the mental health staff at the Logan Correctional Center, which is something new within the facility and the state. This collaboration provides extra support for Dual Diagnosis members with the added access to mental health personnel. For our individuals served who are struggling with mental health, we hope that these new resources will show them that recovery is possible.
Additionally, on August 5, WestCare Illinois Program Director, Carlos Rodriguez, was a guest on a local cable station, CANTV. The segment’s host, Rev. Walter Amir Jones, is also the Executive Director for Fathers Who Care (FWC). FWC along with Grand Boulevard Prevention Services, is partnering with us on a five-year prevention grant. The purpose of the grant is to sustain these partnerships on the West and South sides of Chicago after the grant ends as they support these targeted communities with prevention and other support services. Mr. Rodriguez spoke about preventing underage substance use as well as violence.
In other updates, we have continued our online group programming focusing on mentoring and substance-use prevention. We have also conducted trainings for staff that have focused on a variety of topics including the NowPow service linkage platform, understanding trauma in youth, the importance of heart-focused breathing and cultural competency. Last but not least, we were presented an award for being the Community Partner of the Year (2020 – 2021) on behalf of Southwest High School’s Excel Academy!