Last year, SAFE Project’s Executive Director, Brandee Izquierdo, and Director of Full Spectrum Prevention, Sarah Potter, unveiled the Bridging Prevention & Recovery (BPR) program at SAMHSA’s Annual Prevention Day in conjunction with CADCA’s 30th National Leadership Forum.
A year later, here’s what we’ve accomplished:
SAFE Project launched the inaugural cohort from May to July 2020 with community-based prevention and recovery professionals working in the field. The participants represented rural, suburban, and urban communities including the City of Williamsburg and York County, Virginia; Dayton, Ohio; Waynesville, North Carolina and western areas of the state; Rutherford County, North Carolina; and the areas surrounding Westhampton, New York. Each of the participants engaged in over 10 hours of live training, empowering them to learn from their peers who are working in similar roles across the United States. In addition, participants received 5 hours of individualized technical assistance tailored to their community’s unique set of needs and to support implementation efforts. Once fully implemented, the cohort is expected to reach over 230,000 people in their communities using this new integrated systems change framework.
An evaluation was conducted of the program during the first cohort and found that 91% of the participants strongly agreed that the program was relevant to their work and confirmed they would use this framework in the future because of its practicality in identifying new partnerships and addressing community needs.
Here is some of the meaningful feedback that we heard from Cohort 1:
- “I think the value in this [program] is sharing – having the opportunity to share your strengths and where you’re weak…SAFE Project made it feel safer.”
- “It is an excellent framework to work off of…There’s a lot of things that most communities need and with this framework I am able to narrow those down instead of putting multiple arms in the fire at once and not getting positive outcomes for any of them. It will help me have more of a focus on building the relationship between the prevention and recovery community and bringing forth the opportunity to create structure in that bridging.”
- “We are getting ready to open a youth recovery clubhouse and we’re primarily a prevention-based organization, so this is the first time we’re moving towards recovery. BPR will help drive the work of the staff.”
In October 2020, SAFE Project launched a second cohort which commenced in December 2020. This cohort consisted of on-campus professionals working in 11 different universities across Pennsylvania. These universities were also connected to each other through a statewide Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) coalition who collectively serve nearly 100,000 degree-seeking students. In total, SAFE Project facilitated 15 hours of live training and 10 hours of technical assistance.
Here’s some of the great feedback from Cohort 2:
- “This group helped me look more broadly toward the coalition.”
- “I really enjoyed this training. It was inspiring and supportive of the work we are doing. I am motivated to work even harder on implementing the collegiate recovery program. Thank you for all of the information and motivation you provided.”
- “On Friday, we learned that we were approved for the living-learning community. I am so appreciative of our technical assistance, as you prepared us to be polished for our meeting with housing. It’s refreshing to learn more about collegiate recovery and how the concept can be pitched.”
So, what’s next? Stay tuned! This year, we’re continuing to change the landscape by uniting prevention and recovery systems – launching new community cohorts scaling this important and innovative program through the development of a Train the Trainer package as a way to recruit and sustain the program in more communities across the United States. What’s even more exciting is that we are in the process of monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the BPR framework across the community cohorts who have already graduated from the program.
Today, we’re facing an unprecedented rise in overdoses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now is the time for communities to respond innovatively in ways that build their community capacity and amplify their impact. With new funding available through the COVID-19 relief packages, this is the opportune time for communities and institutions of higher education to be a part of this critical program. For more information, please visit our Bridging Prevention & Recovery website, or contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.