Leadership Jackson County project team brings awareness of community resources


There are times when people get down on their luck.

They have a desperate need but may not know where to go or who to ask for help.

The Leadership Jackson County health project team of Marie Boas, Bob Cherepski, Chastity Johnson and Nila Johnson hope a kit they put together will help guide those people back on the right path.

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Teaming with the Jackson County Health Department, the group assembled kits that include a key ring with cards listing the name of an organization, the services and resources it offers and the phone number, location, hours, requirements and cost. There also is a clear sleeve to hold a person’s driver’s license or credit or debit card.

Nila Johnson said the key ring, which was made by Dicksons Inc. of Seymour, should be easier to carry around than a pamphlet or paperwork that the health department hands out and is less likely to get lost or damaged.

“It easily clips to whatever they may have, whether it be a belt loop, a backpack or a purse,” she said. “This is a lot easier for those who might not have a cellphone or just don’t have a clue where to go or where to turn when they are in need of services.”

Chastity Johnson said the team was able to figure out its project focus after the December class meeting when they visited the Seymour Police Department, Jackson County Courthouse and Jackson County Jail, heard from Dr. Christopher Bunce with the health department and learned about the Jackson County Drug Court.

“While we were there, people were all talking about how we would like to do something related to the drug problem around Jackson County,” she said.

LJC Director Terrye Davidson suggested they raise awareness of harm reduction, not just drug addiction, and talk to Lin Montgomery, public health coordinator for the health department, to see what needs she saw for the county.

Montgomery asked the group to take on a community resources project to make the information easier to carry around than a pamphlet, a flier and full-size papers. She provided them with the information needed for the cards for each of the community resources.

“We are hoping keychains with resources provided to specific needs help guide them to the many resources that are out there in the county and guide them to a journey to recovery,” Chastity said. “We hope that these people can get what they need and get on the road to recovery to reduce the harm. There are many community resources out there.”

Cherepski said the county’s resources include The Alley, Community Provisions of Jackson County, Anchor House Family Assistance Center and Pantry, The Salvation Army, Human Services Inc. and township trustees.

Each service helps those needing to get back on their feet.

“For those who are ready for a better life, there are many things out there that they can use right here in our county,” Cherepski said. “They provide help and valuable resources and allow folks to get themselves in a much better place and also give them connections to services for needs that they have in the community that they cannot find.”

The services also give people interested in donating time, food or money an opportunity to make a difference.

“There are many services out there that are in dire need of help,” Cherepski said. “There are many opportunities out there for folks to get involved.”

Boas talked about the services offered by her employer, Centerstone. She said it’s one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit providers of community-based health care, offering mental health services and substance abuse treatment services in four states.

Its mission is to deliver care that changes people’s lives, she said.

“Our staff of doctors, nurses, counselors, case workers, leaders and support staff are here to help individuals from all walks of life get the treatment they need to live a fuller, happier life,” she said. “Our mission is to connect with you where you are.”

Counselors, therapists and skilled workers create trust and encourage clients to share their feelings, Boas said.

“We develop a personalized care plan to address the unique needs of each client by teaming with individuals, families, schools and communities,” she said. “Centerstone strives to build a network of healing.”

Services for all ages include group, family and school-based counseling intervention, psychiatric evaluation and treatment, medication evaluation management, case management, life skills building, crisis intervention, addiction prevention and recovery care.

“When life seems difficult, finding a solution might seem impossible, but at Centerstone, we make impossible happen,” Boas said. “We’re here to build connections with our clients so they can get the services they need. The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow, so please don’t give up. Reach out because we’re here to help.”

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