ASAC in Bloom
In April, members of the Cedar Rapids Garden Club purchased and planted trees and bushes on ASAC’s main campus. On June 1st they came back to plant flowers. The members purchased and planted annuals for the planter around our front sign and the two pots at our entryway. In addition, they planted perennials and annuals in four empty garden areas surrounding ASAC’s main building.
We thank the Cedar Rapids Garden Club for providing the plants and volunteering their time and talent in making ASAC’s main campus bloom!
The funds ASAC staff raised was used to remove rock and to purchase the two large pots, potting soil and mulch. We also will be adding some edging in the near future.
Stop by and take a look!
ASAC Vegetable Gardens
This summer Linn County Public Health will be supporting container gardening for ASAC’s Cedar Rapids residential treatment programs. The three growing sites will be located behind ASAC’s Recovery Center, up by the basketball courts for CD+ and at the Heart of Iowa campus. With the help of grant funding, the county will provide all of the materials and plants needed to create and maintain the container gardens. Linn County Public Health staff will also conduct client education on vegetable gardening.
Amy Lepowsky of Linn County Public Health will be working with ASAC on this project. The produce raised will be used in our main campus and Heart of Iowa kitchens. We thank Linn County Public Health for selecting ASAC for this healthy and fun educational project!
Forums on RX Drugs and Heroin
On May 26th, two ASAC staff members participated in a community forum on the issue of prescription pain killer abuse and the heroin epidemic in Eastern Iowa that was held in Clinton. Gabe Gluba, ASAC’s King House Manager, spoke on the topic of Community Solutions and Treatment Options and Barb Gay, ASAC’s Executive Director, was a member of a Question and Answer Session Panel. The event was sponsored by the US Attorney’s Office and the Eastern Iowa Heroin Initiative.
At the event, Al Fear, the Eastern Iowa Heroin Initiative Coordinator, said heroin addiction does not have a specific group it targets and that it can affect anyone. He explained the opioid epidemic has grown in the Midwest and in Clinton County. There have been 63 calls for drug overdose in Clinton County since the beginning of the year. In 2015, Narcan, which is used by first responders responding to a drug overdose, was used 36 times in Clinton County. With less than half the year complete, it has already been used 20 times. Fear says the numbers outline the serious issue opioid drugs have in Clinton County.
Gabe Gluba, ASAC’s King House Manager, told the audience “there are various options for treatment in the community. This includes halfway house options at the King House for men and at Hightower Place for both women and their children. They also offer transitional housing for individuals who have completed the halfway house program but are not ready to move back into residential housing. The most important thing is for people who need help to get treatment.”
On May 31st ASAC staff also participated in a follow-up to the February Cedar Rapids Town Hall Meeting. The purpose of this event was to talk about treatment options for those who need help. Melissa Walker, Deputy Director of Prevention Services, and Cale Loewen, Outpatient Counselor, talked about ASAC’s prevention, early intervention and treatment services. In the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Cale was quoted as saying “People need to know that it’s impacted our community drastically. It’s been a giant influx in heroin overdoses and the use, so for them to know our resources are there, for family members to know our resources are there, that they can seek help in their community is vital.”
ASAC was pleased to participate in these two important Town Hall meetings and is committed to helping individuals struggling with substance misuse and abuse.
Upcoming ASAC Training: Emerging Drug Trends (Basics)
ASAC will conduct a training session on Emerging Drug Trends on Friday, August 12, 2016 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Human Services Campus, 317 7th Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids with registration starting at 8:30 am. Facilitators for the training will be Erin Foster, Linn County Prevention Director, and Curt Wheeler, ASAC Prevention Specialist.
The intended audience for the session includes educators, healthcare providers, social workers, parents, and substance abuse treatment and prevention staff. Participants will learn about emerging drugs and steps to prevent substance use in their communities. The training will cover electronic smoking devises, prescription drugs and heroin, new modes of marijuana use and synthetic drugs.
The cost of the six hour session is $60 a person; $30 for current ASAC staff and interns. Lunch will be provided. Six hours of ATOD specific CEU’s are pending with the Iowa Board of Certification.
Alliant Energy Foundation Grant Award
ASAC received a $2500 Community Grant from the Alliant Energy Foundation for its Heart of Iowa Food Pantry. Heart of Iowa is ASAC’s residential substance abuse treatment program for pregnant women and women with children. The moms and their children live as a family in on-campus apartments. We provide their week-day noon and evening meals so the moms can participate in treatment programming. The clients, however, are responsible for making the daily breakfasts and week-end meals for their families. Many of the moms and their children do not have food stamps/SNAP benefits when they first enter the program or the financial means to purchase food. To help these families, ASAC maintains a food pantry to provide week-day and week-end food boxes for the new families until they receive their food stamps/SNAP benefits. The need for food boxes has substantially increased from over the past several years. In 2013 ASAC’s Heart of Iowa Food Pantry provided 240 food boxes, in 2014 – 318, and in 2015 – 350. This grant award helps meet this growing need. Thank you, Alliant Energy Foundation, for helping Heart of Iowa families!
Thanking our Veterans
Program Assistants Cheryl Taplin and Diane Boehmer show some of the cards that the children have already made!
Hightower Place is ASAC’s halfway house program in Clinton for women and women with children. Annually the program serves 95 women and children.
ASAC Receives Donation to Prevent Methamphetamine Use
(CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa) – John and Cindy Sapp, local owners of the Cedar Rapids area Taco Bell restaurants, have donated $50,000 to the Area Substance Abuse Council for methamphetamine prevention programming in Linn County.
“ASAC is grateful for the generosity offered to our community by Mr. and Mrs. Sapp. Their donation will give us the opportunity to educate our community members, especially parents and educators of teenagers, on the risks associated with the use and portable compact production of methamphetamine.” Barb Gay, ASAC’s Executive Director stated.
In addition, John and Cindy Sapp will be providing financial assistance to any local Taco Bell employee who wishes to seek substance abuse treatment services at ASAC. The agency has established procedures for Taco Bell employees to access this financial support anonymously.
“Drug addiction is a complex disease that has negative consequences for individuals and for society, but quitting often takes more than good intentions and strong will,” said John Sapp, local Taco Bell franchisee. “It is our hope we can provide the assistance and support needed for those in our local community who are motivated to quit drugs, but just need a little help to get there.”
“We greatly appreciate John and Cindy Sapp providing this support for their employees”, said Gay. “By providing financial assistance, they are removing a barrier that many people face in accessing substance abuse treatment services. We applaud them for helping those employees who may be struggling with alcohol or other drugs.”
(Reprint of a May 12, 2016 Press Release)
Pay It Forward
The Pacesetter Youth Camp is affiliated with United Way of East Central Iowa and is comprised of a handful of middle-schoolers ages 10 – 14. Led by strong community advocates and leaders, Pacesetters aspire to expose needs in the community and teach the next generation how to invest. Pacesetter leaders have reached out on behalf of the campers to create opportunities to network, cultivate lasting friendships, and develop strong leadership skills.
During the week-long camp, the young people visit a number of Cedar Rapids nonprofit agencies. For the past several years, ASAC’s youth residential treatment program, CD+, has been on their agenda. On June 8th the middle-schoolers took a tour of the facility and listened to the stories of two of our CD+ residents. Part of the camp experience is that the participants get to take the money they paid to participate in the camp and purchase items for one of the organizations that they visited. The campers selected CD+!
When the campers returned to ASAC to drop off their donation of pillows, school supplies, basketballs and games, they had an awesome story to tell. When they were shopping at Walmart they miscalculated the cost of the items they were buying and were short on funds. The person in line behind them bought seven of the pillows for them to complete their donation!
They were so excited. Someone paid it forward to them.