A panel of experts at Allen Temple’s substance abuse in-service were (L to R) Kenny Hall, Senior Case Manager, Allen Temple and Ark of Refuge; Angela Porter, Director of Operations, New Bridge Foundation; Suzanne Hicks, Program Director, New Bridge Foundation; Claudius Johnson, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice. Photo by Adam L. Turner.
Whitney Houston’s untimely and senseless death profoundly shocked and saddened many in the African American, and larger community, sadly punctuating the continuing cycle of drug-related deaths among Americans, whether caused by overdoses, mixing alcohol and prescription drugs, or violence.
The aftermath also punctuated the anger, frustration and pain that family and friends feel as they watch loved ones succumb to the negative impacts that drug abuse can have on individuals, families and neighborhoods.
“Save a life. Save a family. Save our community!” – was the theme of an Allen Temple Baptist Church in-service training workshop organized with the support of New Bridge Foundation, one of the largest and oldest drug treatment agencies in Alameda County.
Coincidentally, Houston’s funeral was held the morning of Saturday, Feb. 18, when the pre-planned in-service training was held in the afternoon for more than 60 Allen Temple ministers, deacons, social service staff and other professionals from the community.
“We are committed to attacking the problem of drug abuse that is taking such a horrendous toll on our communities,” said Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Jr., Senior Pastor of the 5,000 plus member Allen Temple. “To do this, we must use the wisdom and best practices available so that we are effective in motivating substance abusers to get into treatment.”
In two hours of highly interactive and spirited discussion, the assembled group, led by Dr. Abby Medcalf and other professionals from New Bridge Foundation, grappled with approaches, concerns and the “do’s and don’ts” related to successfully engaging work colleagues, loved ones and others to encourage them to commit to treatment.
The “Save a life; Save a Family; Save Our Community” theme highlights a campaign mounted by New Bridge Foundation as it works with churches, labor unions, private and public sector employers and other organizations to get more people into treatment. Located just north of the U.C. Berkeley Campus, New Bridge Foundation provides services to more than 2.000 people per year.
For more information about getting into treatment, or sponsoring a training workshop, call Daina Coffey at (510) 548-7270.