Joel Hernandez Award Honoree - A New PATH
Lisa Mojer-Torres Award Honoree - Arthur C. Evans Jr. Ph.D
Voice of Recovery Award Honoree - Kristen Johnston
A NEW PATH (PARENTS FOR ADDICTION TREATMENT & HEALING) - San Diego, CA
A New PATH was founded in 1999 as a voluntary organization of parents of individuals suffering from the disease of addiction, concerned citizens and community leaders working together to advocate for better understanding and treatment. Under the leadership of Executive Director Gretchen Burns Bergman, PATH partners with health care professionals, the criminal justice system, the media, and people in recovery to seek therapeutic justice for substance-abuse related crimes, reduce recidivism, save lives, heal families and move toward a healthier society. Bergman is also the lead organizer of Moms United to End the War on Drugs campaign.
PATH members meet regularly with legislators, judges, and local civic leaders to increase their understanding of addiction and of the success of available treatment options in the community. PATH members have rallied in favor of therapeutic justice and to promote recovery in San Diego, Los Angeles and Sacramento. PATH leaders are frequent commentators on radio, television, and in the print media and have become the voice for restorative justice and drug policies that reduce the harm.
PATH activities include its annual Faces of Recovery Calendar, featuring community members in recovery and their stories for each month of the year; "Strut for Sobriety!" featuring people in recovery speaking, entertaining, and walking the runway. In 2012 the event won a San Diego Bravo Award. Other projects include art exhibits and books of poetry highlighting inspirational stories of addiction and recovery.
Bergman served as California State Chairperson for Proposition 36, which passed in 2000, mandating treatment in lieu of incarceration for non-violent drug offenders. PATH actively promotes therapeutic justice measures and harm reduction policies such as Good Samaritan laws to reduce overdose deaths. In 2010 it expanded with the opening of a chapter in Los Angeles in 2010. Its Moms United to End the War on Drugs campaign launched in the same year includes moms who have lost children due to little resources, draconian drug laws and a scarcity of addiction treatment.
PATH is active behind bars, providing educational programs to women in prison, constructing a labyrinth, reflection garden at Donovan State Prison to benefit inmates in its drug treatment program, and the Book Club Behind Bars. Its members and leadership come from diverse parts of the community, including many parents with children or other family members who have served time in jail or prison.
PATH's current advocacy projects include the promotion of legislation for greater treatment availability, reducing the risks of inherent health problems associated with drug abuse, bringing more residential beds to the community as well as behind bars, and mobilizing people in recovery to advocate for an educated, compassionate and therapeutic approach to dealing with substance abuse. PATH is a member of several task forces regarding substance abuse, mental health, and therapeutic justice. More information is available at www.anewpathsite.org.
2013 VERNON JOHNSON AWARD HONOREES
Rhode Island State Senate - Pawtucket, RI
Tom Coderre is the Chief of Staff to the Rhode Island Senate President and serves as the Board Chair of Rhode Island Communities for Addiction Recovery Efforts (RICARES) where he is a dynamic leader and strong public advocate for recovery, peer recovery support services and ending discriminatory policies.
He is passionate about recovery because it not only saved his life, it changed it. As RICARES board chair, he heads up the organization's Advocacy Committee and is deeply involved in the annual RICARES Legislative Day at the Rhode Island State House, whose 2013 theme was "Fighting Barriers to Recovery." Since 2009, Coderre has served as the Chief of Staff to the Rhode Island Senate President where he provides support to the Senate President and members of the Senate overseeing day-to-day operations, giving direction and counsel in policy, fiscal matters, constituent services, media relations and the development of a legislative agenda. In his position, he has opened doors to the legislature through which the recovery community is able to express its concerns and priorities, and to provide a positive face and voice of recovery.
Tom began his recovery advocacy work in 2003 when he joined RICARES. A former RI legislator, he used his experience to plan and execute many successful legislative days for RICARES, training advocates to testify and securing additional resources for treatment and recovery support as well as working in coalition to restore the right to vote for felons. He was instrumental in the creation of the Institute for Addiction Recovery at Rhode Island College in 2004.
Coderre served as Faces & Voices of Recovery's National Field Director from 2006-2009, where he where he developed and carried out Recovery Voices Count, Faces & Voices non-partisan civic engagement campaign; organized house parties, screenings and other activities in conjunction with the release of HBO's Addiction; and helped build the capacity of recovery community organizations across the country. He traveled tirelessly across the country, delivering messaging training and inspiring recovery advocacy. In 2008, he led a successful effort through Faces & Voices of Recovery to establish Recovery Wellness rooms at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.
When he returned to Rhode Island, his recovery advocacy continued - for recovery community centers; for developing a recognized, organized constituency of consequence that votes; and for a place at the table. He's deeply involved in Rally4Recovery, continues to train others around the country initiated the RICARES Candidates Town Hall Forum for Rhode Island federal legislative candidates.
Detroit Recovery Project - Detroit, MI
Andre L. Johnson has served as the CEO of the Detroit Recovery Project (DRP) since its founding in 2005. DRP facilitates recovery for those struggling with addiction, helping Detroiters who were once on the streets become drug-free and productive citizens. Johnson's skilled and sustained leadership in the development and maturation of the Detroit Recovery Project has inspired many. He's been described as a "recovery carrier" - someone who makes recovery contagious to others by the power of his own story and the "living proof" manifested in his character and how he lives his life.
DRP provides a wide spectrum of support services to the city's recovery community including GED preparation; twelve-step support groups; housing assistance; job readiness and employment assistance; and HIV prevention, testing, and counseling services. DRP also oversees an ex-offender program that helps returning citizens reintegrate successfully into the Detroit community, with an aim of assisting them with sustaining their recovery.
Johnson's vision of a Recovery Village includes developing safe havens that provide housing to show that people in recovery can be productive neighbors and seek the same quality of life we all want. Johnson sits on numerous committees and advisory boards and is widely sought out as a speaker. He's inspirational and motivating to young people, the recovery community, policymakers and the public. He has mobilized thousands of people in recovery and the broader community to widen the doorways of entry into recovery.
Johnson has brought formal and informal institutions to the table to shape the vision of a recovery-transformed health care system in Detroit. He's worked to mobilize diverse recovery communities, engage the City's key political, financial, and religious leaders, and a broad spectrum of health and human service organizations. Through the sheer power of his personality and his own recovery story, Johnson has been able to help people rise above the challenges Detroit is facing and to move forward to build a broad network of recovery support services.
As a team leader, he has also pioneered work to enhance recovery support resources in East Africa for the past few years. Working to bring recovery supports to Tanzania and Zanzibar, predominately Muslim countries without any pre-existing addiction treatment services, is an enormous challenge. Andre has been instrumental in fostering the now rising recovery communities in these countries, a model for cross-cultural consultation on the development of recovery support services.
Phoenix Multisport - Denver, CO
Scott Strode created Phoenix Multisport in 2007. He took his personal recovery experience of building a new healthy support system through exercise and physical activity and has dedicated his life to helping others find recovery through sport. As the Founder and Executive Director of Phoenix Multisport, he has given over 7,000 recovering individuals in Colorado a free, expiration-less, safe sober community through which to discover and continue to develop their recovery.
Phoenix Multisport (PM) fosters a safe, supportive, physically active community for individuals who are recovering from alcohol and substance abuse and those who choose to live a sober life. Through pursuits such as climbing, hiking, running, strength training, yoga, road/mountain biking, socials and other activities, PM seeks to help its members develop and maintain the emotional strength they need to stay sober. Phoenix aims to enhance recovery, quality of life, mental and physical health, citizenship, social sober networks and eliminate the stigma surrounding addiction through its programs and events.
Every time Scott picks up the microphone he uses the opportunity to educate his audience about the ability for recovery to become a reality, sharing his story and how PM seeks to assist others facing addiction to do the same. His work has been widely recognized, including being selected as a CNN Top 10 Hero for 2012. Strode has used his exposure in the media to change the face of addiction, give hope and demonstrate to the public that people can and do recover.
Strode tirelessly advocates to the public, to friends and Phoenix team members that through recovery individuals and communities are transformed. Phoenix's innovative recovery support services are a peer-to-peer model which includes peer networks, sense of citizenship, positive coping mechanisms and supportive friendships. He spent years developing the foundation of skills needed to implement the programs at Phoenix Multisport, studying wilderness emergency medicine; mentoring and working as climbing instructor and outdoor leader; coaching endurance athletes and inspiring others as a trainer in recovery.
Strode's commitment to recovery includes participation on policy panels, attending events and proudly wearing a "SOBER" tee-shirt as an invitation to join him in the recovery process. While he has mentored, trained and supported individuals from all walks of life, he has paid special attention to supporting military and veterans.
Strode's openness and sincerity invites others to join him in recovery and shed the guilt and barriers, encouraging others to move forward in their recovery. He has established a community of individuals dedicated to recovery further supporting and deepening his own relationship with recovery.
If you would like to learn more about Phoenix Multisport, click here for a 25-minute documentary.
ARTHUR C. EVANS, JR. PH.D.
Commissioner, Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) - Philadelphia, PA
Arthur C. Evans Jr, Ph.D. is Commissioner of a $1 billion healthcare agency, leading a major initiative to transform how behavioral health care and intellectual disability services are delivered in the city of Philadelphia. Since his appointment in November 2004, Philadelphia's transformation of its system to one that focuses on recovery for adults, resilience for children and self-determination for all people with intellectual disabilities has drawn attention nationwide.
As Philadelphia's transformation unfolds, Dr. Evans and his team have generously communicated their experiences in developing services and supports with recovery as the driving philosophy. Under his leadership, high value is placed on the voices of people in or seeking recovery. Recovery-oriented care has become the lens through which everything else is viewed and all aspects of the system are evaluated in light of recovery principles. DBHIDS has worked closely with PRO-ACT and Philadelphia's recovery community, supporting and fostering recovery-oriented activities including Recovery Walks, the Recovery Murals Project and Recovery Idol contest in addition to bringing the recovery community into every step of the process - from recovery resource mapping to service delivery and supports.
Dr. Evans is a clinical and community psychologist with a faculty appointment at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine. He has extensive experience in transforming systems of care while serving in several national leadership roles. Before coming to Philadelphia, Dr. Evans was the Deputy Commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services (DMHAS) where he was instrumental in implementing a recovery-oriented policy framework, addressing health care disparities and increasing the use of evidence-based practices.
Dr. Evans has served or is currently serving in several national leadership roles that include: Chair of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Partners for Recovery Initiative Steering Committee, Co-Chair of National Action Group on Fostering System Reform for Adults with Serious Mental Illness, and Member of the Federal Center for Substance Abuse Treatment Advisory Committee, Chair of the National Advisory Committee for the Robert Wood Johnson's Path To Recovery Project; and President of the Board of Directors of the New England Institute of Addiction Studies Inc. (NEIAS).
Dr. Evans is highly committed to serving people who are underserved and ensuring that all people have access to effective, quality services.
Kristen Johnston, Emmy Award-winning actress and best-selling author, has had a long and celebrated career as an actress in television, film, and theater. Johnston is a long-time member of The Atlantic Theatre Company, and she teaches at their Acting School at New York University. It was with her brilliant and New York Times bestseller, Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster, that she bravely told the story of her own battles with addiction and her recovery. In her six years of recovery, she has founded and is the executive director of SLAM (Sobriety, Learning And Motivation at www.slamnyc.org), an organization devoted to building a recovery high school in New York City. She is also featured prominently in "The Anonymous People," an unforgettable, powerful documentary about the state of recovery in America today. She is an advocate on behalf of addicts and addiction recovery.
Faces & Voices of Recovery and Caron Treatment Centers have joined together to host America Honors Recovery honoring the legacies of Joel Hernandez, Vernon Johnson and Lisa Mojer-Torres. For questions, please email or call us at (202)737-0690.