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2023 Meetings

November 14th  7:00 - 8:30pm

West Long Branch Community Center

116 Locust Ave., W Long Branch, NJ

 

We are pleased and honored to welcome Taharka Sankara, MSW, LCSW, LCADC as our presenter for November.

Read on…

The journey of a million miles begins with the first step. Reaching your life’s destination is often riddled with unforeseen circumstances and challenges. It’s often unclear and uncertain how you got here or how you will overcome difficulty and live a purpose driven life, when all roads do not lead to a pleasant destination. It is the road less travelled that requires you to take specific action in the right direction to get the results you so desire. In thisinteractive session you will identify family roadblocks and barriers, while learning some strategies for designing a personalized plan for dealing with the elephant in the room.

Family role in addiction and recovery

Codependency and enabling

Changes of the seasons

Healing your Heart

TAHARKA  has a broad array of experiences that intersect with multiple service delivery systems targeting various needs of youth and families impacted by trauma, mental illness and addiction. As a clinical consultant and facilitator, he fuses lived experience, educational accomplishment, and professional expertise to empower youth and families. With 15+ years of first-hand clinical experience, he has a unique way of demonstrating how it is possible to turn stumbling blocks into stepping-stones. He earned his master’s degree in social work from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. He is dually licensed as a clinical social worker and clinical alcohol drug counselor and certified as a trauma focused professional. He is the founder and current managing member of Counseling Support Services, LLC.

CANCELLED DUE TO ROAD CONSTRUCTION

 

October 17th  7:00 - 8:30pm

West Long Branch Community Center (in person)
In the Gene Van Brunt Room

“THE HOLIDAYS”

Every once in a while, we create a space to simply show up and be together. Share if you want to, or just come and listen…

Be with others who understand what you are going through, leave knowing you are not alone.  The theme for our discussion will be The Holidays:
What worries, fears or concerns do you have?
What are the triggers that throw us into overwhelm?
What are some strategies we can use to make it through?
What else do you need help with?

This is open to all, feel free to bring a friend or family member…We are here to support each other in a safe, judgement-free environment!  Looking forward to seeing familiar and new faces!

 

West Long Branch Community Center

116 Locust Ave,, West Long Branch, NJ  07764

in the Norwood Room

.

September 19th  7:00 - 8:30pm

West Long Branch Community Center (in person)
In the Gene Van Brunt Room

Therapeutic Use of Psychedelics for Trauma and Addiction

In the past year, if you have turned on the television set, scrolled through social media or spoken to a friend, chances are high that in one way or another, you have encountered the topic of psychedelics. But, just what are psychedelics and can they really be helpful in dealing with the psychological effects of trauma?

In this presentation, Susan Menahem will discuss the various types of psychedelics currently being used in psychotherapy, how they work, what they do and if they can be an effective tool in helping those who are struggling with traumas and addictions.

Susan Menahem, LCSW, has been a psychotherapist for over 25 years and is currently the clinical director at the Institute For Personal Growth. Her interest in psychedelics began in 2009 when in a desperate struggle to heal the effects of her own traumas, she found herself heading to the mountains of Peru to work with the psychedelic plant medicine Ayahuasca. After personally experiencing the benefits of psychedelics she began organizing retreats to Peru to help others who were dealing with issues that conventional therapy just couldn't touch.

Since then, she has been trained to work as a psychedelic assisted psychotherapist in the United States and sees clients in Freehold and Highland Park. In April 2023, she spoke at New Jersey's National Association of Social Workers annual conference where she presented on psychedelic assisted psychotherapy. Currently, she holds a seat on the board of the New Jersey Association of Psychedelic Social Work.

Please come with your questions, your curiosities, your concerns and even your skepticisms. Susan is passionate about this topic, and looks forward to meeting all of you and to having a great conversation and a very engaging evening.

 

West Long Branch Community Center

116 Locust Ave,, West Long Branch, NJ  07764

in the Norwood Room

.

August 15th  7:00 - 8:30pm

West Long Branch Community Center (in person)
In the Gene Van Brunt Room

“COMING TOGETHER TO HELP OUR LOVED ONES”

We are grateful to have Dave Clauser as our presenter this month! Dave has been helping people find services and ultimately recovery for many years. I first met him when he was working with R.A.F.T.S and I was impressed with his willingness to show up whenever asked.

He currently works for the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office as the point person for the Hope One Van, educating and connecting people with services related to Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder. He also works at the Monmouth County Jail MAT (Medically Assisted Treatment) Program to reduce recidivism for those receiving MAT as well at Princeton House with their first responders. In his spare time, he volunteers with Angels Over Addiction, an organization whose creator found recovery through mental health counseling and hopes to inspire others who are willing to take a similar path.

A fun fact about Dave is that after being arrested 3 times for Drunk Driving, he went on to become a driving instructor! This is a testament to his tenacity and his will to help others while continuing to maintain his sobriety, which after 18 years in the throes of alcoholism Dave will celebrate 32 years sober on August 22nd. His mission is to help those with the disease of addiction and their families to come together so that everyone gets the help they need.

 

West Long Branch Community Center

116 Locust Ave,, West Long Branch, NJ  07764

in the Norwood Room

.

July 18th  7:00 - 8:30pm

West Long Branch Community Center (in person)
In the Gene Van Brunt Room

“EMPOWER ME”

For our July meeting we welcome Darlene Tyler, Founder of Em-Power Me of Monmouth County.  Darlene will share her story about being married to a man with a heroin addiction, how that adversely affected her family, and how her experiences are the driving force behind the work she does now, as well as the motivation to continue showing up to help others.  She has a bachelor’s degree in social work and is a trained peer recovery specialist.  She previously worked for NJ Re-entry  and has had many various positions in the behavioral health field, working with adolescents and for the ARC of Monmouth County, to name a few!

 

She created Em-Power Me which aims to help those in need throughout Monmouth and surrounding counties. Their main goal is to empower people by connecting them with the resources and referrals they need and inform them of services they may qualify for; many people don’t even realize they qualify for assistance. Em-Power me helps everyone including those with a criminal background.  They offer a wide range of services helping connect those in need with resources including those with food insecurity, Addiction, homelessness (finding housing), lack of access to education as well as helping break down barriers to employment for those who have been incarcerated, and so much more. 

 

It is heartwarming to know that people like Darlene exist in our own backyard!  We hope you can join us and learn more about what is available for your loved one!

 

West Long Branch Community Center

116 Locust Ave,, West Long Branch, NJ  07764

in the Norwood Room

.

June 20th  7:00 - 8:30pm

West Long Branch Community Center (in person)
In the Gene Van Brunt Room

Navigating Addiction

This month we welcome back Rich Gore to share his knowledge and experience about how you can support your loved one through their journey, without losing yourself in the process. Not everyone who needs it accepts treatment, and loved ones need to be able to gage how to navigate through the storm while in the midst of substance use disorder. Rich has lived both sides of addiction, as an alcoholic whose family, friends and co-workers were very concerned about and as a sober person who learned of his sister’s death after she had been missing for 13 years.

 

Rich, who is now retired, had a 40-year career in education and SUD prevention, first with New Hope Foundation as an in-patient Adolescent Counselor at their Intoxicated Drivers Resource center and then moving to the adolescent unit. He then became a Student Assistance Counselor for South Amboy Public Schools for another 30 years.  We look forward to the wealth of knowledge and experience that Rich will share with us.

 

Hope to see you there....

 

West Long Branch Community Center

116 Locust Ave,, West Long Branch, NJ  07764

in the Norwood Room

.

May 16th  7:00 - 8:30pm

West Long Branch Community Center (in person)
In the Gene Van Brunt Room

Community Action Forum

Are you frustrated with the gaps in the system?

Do you feel that your needs and the needs of your loved one are not being met?

Would you like to see some changes in how things are being done?

Do you want your voice to be heard?

Do you want to be part of the solution?

Monmouth ACTS (an innovative public-private partnership – the first of its kind in New Jersey – that brings together County employees from the Department of Human Services and community nonprofit leaders to better life in Monmouth County) is partnering with the Family Success Institute to host Community Action Forums around the county. The forums offer an opportunity in the post-pandemic world to re-align our priorities with those of our residents and to access opportunities to advocate on their behalf. The forums are designed to be hosted by partner agencies with small groups of residents. The purpose of the forums is two-fold:

1) To identify priority shifts among our residents as it relates to their ability to care for

themselves and their families

2) To identify widening cracks in the social support system that we may not be aware of.

The forums, though important, are not designed to produce immediate changes to any social program,

rather they are a listening opportunity for us to learn.

The findings will be presented to the full Monmouth ACTS Advisory Council in the fall 2023 meetings. At

that time, discussions can begin to identify ways to address any new priorities or widening cracks.

 

In an effort to bring these issues forward through Monmouth ACTS to the city and the county, Long Branch Councilwoman Dr. Anita Voogt and our co-founder Susan Marco will guide us through a series of questions and a lively discussion to identify gaps in the system, unmet needs of our loved ones and any other issues that keep you up at night.

MonmouthACTS.org

Familysuccessinstitute.com

 

West Long Branch Community Center

116 Locust Ave,, West Long Branch, NJ  07764

in the Norwood Room

.

April 18th  7:00 - 8:30pm

West Long Branch Community Center (in person)
In the Gene Van Brunt Room

Amy Emley & the Prison Yoga Project

 

We are pleased to welcome back Amy Emley for our April meeting!  She has been a friend and a source of support and resource from the start!  She will share her story and how she has come to be a force in the recovery community promoting yoga, mindfulness, meditation and simple human kindness and how these principles have helped her to get sober and maintain recovery.

  

She currently is the National Program Director for Prison Yoga Project, www.prisonyogaprojest.org. Their mission: “We believe in a healing-centered approach to addressing crime, addiction and mental illness through yoga and embodied mindfulness”.

Amy is also a yoga teacher with over a decade of experience and is presently working on completing her Yoga Therapy Certification.  Finding her healing through yoga and meditation, Amy made it her purpose to share these practices with others seeking a journey of recovery and those healing from trauma.  In 2014, she founded Root to Rise, a nonprofit that brought yoga and mindfulness to recovery/treatment, mental health, hospital, juvenile detention and other community settings. In 2019, The Phoenix and Root to Rose joined forces to reach more individuals and bring yoga to the growing sober-active movement.

 

Feel free to bring a friend or family member!

 

West Long Branch Community Center

116 Locust Ave,, West Long Branch, NJ  07764

in the Norwood Room

.

March 21st  7:00 - 8:30pm

West Long Branch Community Center (in person)
In the Gene Van Brunt Room

Keeping the LOVE Alive

 

For our March meeting, we are happy to welcome Samantha Schliefer to share her wisdom.  Read more:

 

Love is possibly the key ingredient of survival, when you live with or are close to someone suffering with Addiction.  Our speaker this month has lived experience as a person in recovery and as one who has loved and been loved by others in the same boat.

 

Samantha is a woman in long term recovery from opioids since 3/14/2014 and has been working in the field since 2017. At 7 years old her parents divorced leaving her mother to raise her and her sister as a single parent.  She later found herself in an abusive relationship.  Her substance use began at a young age and then again as an adult in an attempt to cope.  She continued using substances until her near fatal overdose in 2014.

 

 

Samantha currently works as a Community Prevention Manager for RWJ Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention and Recovery. Samantha has a Master’s degree in Public Health and is a Certified Health Education Specialist. Prior to becoming a Community Prevention Manager, Samantha worked as a Recovery Specialist providing support to individuals who have been diagnosed with substance use disorder within the hospital system by facilitating discussions on issues that directly impact their substance use and health. As a Recovery Specialist she shared her own personal experience with addiction and recovery to inspire individuals new in recovery or struggling in active addiction. The recovery specialists are often the first point of contact for individuals in the hospital who can offer assistance with addiction resources and treatment placement, who understand their needs, can assist in identifying next steps, and help provide solutions to help individuals and families move forward in their recovery journey.  Samantha is originally from Middlesex County, and now resides in Ocean County, NJ with her significant other and son. 

 

See you there!

West Long Branch Community Center

116 Locust Ave,, West Long Branch, NJ  07764

in the Norwood Room

.

February 21st  7:00 - 8:30pm

West Long Branch Community Center (in person)
In the Gene Van Brunt Room

Managing the Chaos of Addiction – Underlying Causes and Conditions

 

We really hope you can join us for this very informative meeting!

Our presenter Mark Patrick Sullivan is very dynamic and has a wealth of information to share with us.  The focus of what he will share is about managing the chaos of addiction.  What underlying causes and conditions do we need to be aware of to better deal with our loved one.

 

Mark is, himself, 16 years sober and owns 2 companies; Recovery Coach, LLC helps find sober coach and client connections so people in early sobriety can get back into living life while building a foundation in recovery.  Immersion Aftercare, LLC is a program based on incorporating practices of recovery into working practical application.

 

Mark has a M.S. in Psychology/Counseling Specialized in Cognitive Neuroscience. He has 10 years experience as Clinical Director at several leading behavioral rehabilitation centers and has spent 8 years working with Sony BMI Music as their go to counselor for the entertainment community. 

 

West Long Branch Community Center

116 Locust Ave,, West Long Branch, NJ  07764

in the Norwood Room

.

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