Fairfield Behavioral Health Services celebrated National Recovery Month on Friday, Sept. 21 with two events at Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church thanks to their pastor, Reverend Walt Ballenger.
Nine people representing six faith based organizations participated in Tobacco Education Training from 9 a.m. - noon. Special Services Coordinator Cheryl Goodwin conducted the training providing the latest information on the harmful effects of tobacco use in any form on one’s health.
Participants got a close and personal view of the different kinds of tobacco products that are associated with cancers due to their usage. There are several over the counter products that can curve and eliminate this addiction.
The recovery events for the day culminated with the Imagine the Difference Recovery Luncheon from 12:30-1:45 p.m. Attorney William Frick, Board Chair for Fairfield Behavioral Health Services was the emcee for the luncheon.
Fairfield Behavioral Health Services’ staff and guest speakers highlighted the recovery month and luncheon theme that Prevention Works! Treatment is Effective! People Recover!
This event was attended by representatives from the faith based organizations, businesses and health partners, board of directors and staff. Three guest speakers inspired attendees with their heartfelt stories of recovery from tobacco and alcohol.
April Glenn of Ridgway and member of Golden Rock Fellowship Church stated that she was 40 days in recovery from smoking tobacco.
She had been thinking about quitting but got serious after she participated in the tobacco education training in August at her church conducted by Goodwin.
“After hearing the information and seeing how much tar from smoking is left in your body I was afraid and didn’t want to continue harming my body. The training and being confronted by my grandson changed my life”, says Glenn.
Doug Outlaw of the South Carolina Tobacco Collaborative began by congratulating Fairfield Community Health Partners for receiving the Healthy South Carolina Initiative grant for their project entitled All Aboard for Healthy Fairfield. He also commended Fairfield Behavioral Health Services for their work on the Faith Based Tobacco Education efforts of the grant.
Outlaw continued by sharing his recovery story. He announced that it has been two years since he has smoked tobacco (cigarettes).
“I decided to quit smoking because I saw how it caused so many health problems for my grandmother and I didn’t want to be like that,” said Outlaw.
Bob Toomey, state director for the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS) was the final speaker for the afternoon.
Toomey commended the community partners for supporting Fairfield Behavioral Health Services in their efforts for substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery and asked that they continue to assist the agency in their work.
“Our efforts should not be to get people into treatment but into recovery. We should think of it as helping people who are sick… get well. Since 1985 I am grateful for one more day of recovery… one more day of not having a desire to drink alcohol but a desire and the opportunity to help someone else in recovery,” he said.
Faith based organizations continue to be vital partners in this community and in the field of helping people to recover and sustain recovery. Our new grant initiative entitled All Aboard for a Healthy Fairfield, a project for Fairfield Community Health Partners funded through the Healthy South Carolina Initiative is aimed at providing tobacco education with faith based organizations with the goal to adopt and implement a model tobacco-free policy, and smoke-free environments including vehicles and homes.
Since May of this year we have hosted 3 trainings reaching 22 faith based organizations. As a result, five (one more since the training) churches have adopted a Model Tobacco-Free Policy and have pledged to continue providing education in their communities.
Certificates were presented to the five churches in the order that they signed and returned the policy: St. Mark Baptist Church, Golden Rock Fellowship Church, River of Life Christian Church, Bringing Down the Walls and Bethesda A.M.E.Z.
“We would like to give a special thanks to the faith based organizations that participated in the tobacco education training this morning as we encouraged them to join us in our new tobacco prevention initiative,” says Vernon Kennedy, executive director of Fairfield Behavioral Health Services. The organiation thanks Spiritual Way Church of Christ, St. Luke Baptist Church, Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church, Bethlehem A.M.E Church, Church of God of Jesus Christ, and Gethsemane.
Fairfield Behavioral Health Services is one of 33 substance abuse and behavioral health organizations serving South Carolina.
Though the group is one of the smallest in the state we do a lot of great work in this community for individuals and families. However, they would not be as successful in this community… in this substance abuse and behavioral health prevention, treatment, and recovery field without the tremendous support of our partners. Support in the form of referrals, care coordination of clients, program implementation or service delivery in their facilities, advocacy, visibility, meeting space, funds, manpower, or enforcement of the drug laws.
That is why they recognized some of those partners during the luncheon as well: Winnsboro Public Safety, Fairfield County School District, Probation, Parole and Pardon Services, Fairfield County Council and Administration, Fairfield County Mental Health Clinic, Chameleon Inspiration Learning Center, Winnsboro Municipal Court, DAODAS and South Carolina Tobacco Collaborative. Other partners that were unable to attend will be presented with a certificate at another time: Fairfield County Sheriff Department, Ridgeway Police Department, Sixth Circuit AET Coordinator Melody Reid, Magistrate Office, Solicitor’s Office, Department of Social Services, Department of Juvenile Justice, Fairfield Community Health Partners, Winnsboro Town Council and Mayor Roger Gaddy, Ridgeway Town Council and Mayor Charlene Herring, Herald Independent Newspaper, Voice of Fairfield Newspaper, Christ Central Ministries and Fairfield Memorial Hospital.
For more information about how your faith based organization can participate in tobacco education training or any of their prevention, treatment or recovery services or would like to share your recovery story with us please contact them at 635-2335. Vernon Kennedy Sr., executive director, ext. 30; Margarite McCain, Director of Treatment Services, ext. 24; Veronica Edmonds, prevention specialist, ext. 23; or Cheryl Y. Goodwin, special services coordinator, (Faith Based Tobacco Education) ext 33.