Discover why officials in the organization say that they’ve gained much from becoming part of Central City Concern …
In addition to the new paint on their buildings, and landscaping care for their outdoor areas, officials say becoming part of Central City Concern – changing Southeast Portland Change Point to Eastside Concern – has provided a greater breadth and depth of services to their clients.
Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Eastside Concern is the new name for the program formerly known as the Southeast Portland Change Point, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program that has operated in the Mill Park Neighborhood in outer East Portland for more than three decades.
At the October 7 open house, Eastside Concern Program Manager Linda Bradshaw told East Portland News that she has been with the organization for nine years, since well before it became part of Central City Concern (CCC).
Eastside Concern Office Manager Gabi Gallegos and Program Manager Linda Bradshaw pause for a photos, during the open house.
“It is, and continues to be, an outpatient alcohol and drug treatment center – offering both regular outpatient and intensive outpatient services,” described Bradshaw. “We deal primarily with Driving while Under the Influence of Intoxicants [DUII] offenders, perpetrators of domestic violence, and people who are referred by the Department of Human Services because of child abuse allegations, due to their alleged alcohol and drug use.”
One difference is, Bradshaw said, that CCC has provided resources to add specific outreach programs. “We’re trying to engage African American people living here in outer East Portland, because many of them have moved from the Northeast Portland area. We’re trying to let them know that we are here and ready to serve them.”
They’ve also started working with “Families in Transition” – a program of Volunteers of America, operated in conjunction with the US Department of Human Services.
“The purpose of this program is to quickly engage parents who have an alcohol or drug abuse problem, and get them involved in treatment,” said Bradshaw. “The idea is to get people sober, teach them coping skills, and help them to become self-sustaining economically, in a healthy family system.”
Joining up with CCC has also provided the clinic with legal, human resources, and plant maintenance support. “It really has increased the quality levels of services, and helped us become more alive and engaged in the community,” Bradshaw said.
Puentes staff member Carmen Sullinales meets with Multnomah County Commissioner Judy Shiprack, joined by Karen Carpenter and Daniel Garcia.
Central City Concern, in partnership with Catholic Charities’ El Programa Hispano, developed the culturally-specific Puentes program to support Latinos in recovery, disclosed program spokesman Daniel Garcia.
“Our clients feel welcome, and feel like it is family here,” Garcia said. “Just receiving therapy in their mother language is an amazing gift for them – not having to struggle with the extra burden of language.”
There is a perceived stigma regarding mental health and mental illness situations, and addiction, in the Hispanic community, explained Garcia. “You’re labeled as a ‘crazy person’ in your community.
“Many of these families have been very fragmented,” Garcia continued. “The rest of their family members may live in their countries of origin, and so they are here by themselves. Puentes provides a niche – a space – where they can safely process their thoughts and feelings. And, we are able to provide them with connection to health services and psychiatric services, as well.”
Esperanza Juvenil Youth Alcohol & Drug Counselors Marysol Himenez, Jacob Skokan, and Ivette M. Iparraguirre, say they see this program bring about successful outcomes for their clients.
“In Spanish it means ‘hope for youth,” said Jacob Skokan a counselor with the Esperanza Juvenil program located on the campus.
“We provide alcohol and drug community-based counseling for at-risk Latino youth,” Skokan explained. “We go to schools and homes to provide alcohol and drug prevention programs. We also teach life skills, problem solving, anger management. We use a particular model for our program ‘Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach’.”
The overall philosophy of the work, he clarified, is to help Latino youth – primarily those referred to them by probation officers – to identify pro-social activities, then encourage and motivate participants to replace alcohol and drug use behaviors with more pro-social activities.
Does it help? “From what we see it definitely helps,” affirmed Skokan. “Every couple of months, we hold graduations for clients who successfully complete the program. Their families come, and attest to positive changes that their children have made. Teachers and other people in the schools have many positive things to say about our program, and how it works in the community.”
After touring the clinic and learning more about its services, Multnomah County District 3 Commissioner Judy Shiprack remarked to East Portland News, “I have so much respect for the work that Central City Concern does. I’m delighted to see that they’re now in outer East Portland. These are neighborhoods they really deserve to have the services this organization provides.”
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© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News