This past week I had the distinct privilege of attending the 16th National Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE) Conference and the 8th National Association of Recovery Schools (ARS) Conference in Washington, D.C. The conference brought together treatment providers, people in recovery, lobbyists, politicians, and a wide variety of additional stakeholders. Life of Purpose was proud to be a Platinum Sponsor of the innovative treatment track as well as the jam-packed exhibitor hall.
Prior to attending the conference, I knew how strongly the Life of Purpose model valued education. What I hadn’t fully grasped was how perfectly matched the model is with recovery high schools and collegiate recovery programs (CRP). The case for collegiate recovery has been made and will now be summarized. Students in recovery that are involved with a CRP surpass the GPA and graduation rates of their peers on campus. CRP students earn an average GPA of 3.5, while the national average GPA is 2.4, (Laudet, A. B. 2013). In addition to the promising statistics coming out of school-based recovery programs, the simple comradery built between these students goes a long way toward keeping these individuals on a path of sobriety and recovery. Most importantly, these programs encourage individual growth beyond the issues of drug and alcohol use. Just like clients at Life of Purpose, participants in these programs are pushed to reach for new academic and professional goals and empowered to contribute to their community in personalized and meaningful ways.
It was a joy to see the synthesis between the Life of Purpose model and school-based recovery models at last week’s conference. CEO Andrew Burki delivered a compelling Keynote presentation entitled “Talk is Cheap. Advocacy takes Action”. In just one hour, Burki showed the audience how to begin building a development board for sustainable recovery high schools and collegiate recovery programs. One of his main points focused on the importance of asking multiple invested community members for gifts in the realm of $5,000. These gifts are feasible for certain individuals who want to invest in such programs but have not yet known how to do so. Obtaining a number of these donations, Burki advised, will put you well on your way to a sustainable development board for a recovery high school or collegiate recovery program.
Later in the conference, our Chief Technology Officer, Jimmy Hatzell, and Clinical Outreach Coordinator Devin Reaves presented on a panel about Philadelphia’s multi-year capacity building effort among youth recovery supports in the area. Jimmy and Devin were joined by representatives and colleagues from a recovery high school (The Bridge Way School) and two different collegiate recovery programs. This type of community partnership is key to building sustainable school-based recovery supports. The Bridge Way School, Philadelphia’s recovery high school, is accredited by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The school pairs challenging yet traditional high school classes with 12-step recovery support to most effectively bolster their students’ academic and personal lives. Referrals to Bridge Way can be made through inpatient treatment facilities, wilderness programs, intensive outpatient programs (IOP), school guidance counselors, family members, and students themselves. This model of connectedness within the Philadelphia community should serve as a guide to all communities looking to open a recovery high school or collegiate recovery community. Whether your setting is smaller or larger than that of Bridge Way, it is essential that community partners collaborate transparently with each other about the resources they have to offer. Another perfect example of this can be found in Minnesota where Augsburg University’s collegiate recovery program, StepUP, works closely with a nearby treatment center. The two entities are able to send youth to one another when the timing is appropriate, ensuring that the youth are met with proper and flexible support.
Given the nearly effortless collaboration that has taken place so far, it only makes sense for Life of Purpose to continue collaborating with organizations like ARHE and ARS. Studies show that students who engage in school-based recovery programs are far more likely than others to remain in recovery. Still, Life of Purpose is ready to provide comprehensive treatment for those individuals who need it and to direct them toward recovery high schools and collegiate recovery programs upon their departure from Life of Purpose.
To learn if Life of Purpose is right for you, contact us at 1-888-787-7673.