We have once again come to that time to set goals and define our path into a new year. First, let us take a look at our goal list for 2020. It was fairly basic, aiming to build the foundation of an incorporated organization that could stand on its own and begin to sustain itself. We will break them down, give updates on progress, and look at where we are now.
#1,” Ripple will obtain its 501(c)(3) non-profit status.” – The application was submitted on July 15th, 2020. We received a letter from the Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service dated August 20th, 2020. It was delivered to us via the U.S. Postal service on September 4th, 2020. It was at that time we learned our application had been approved. We also learned that the IRS backdated the exemption’s effective date to April 3rd, 2020, when the incorporation took place.
#2, “Ripple will have a seat at the table during the upcoming discussions on passing a law to require insurance companies to cover the services provided by certified peer recovery supporters.” – We have met on several occasions with groups of both peers and professionals in online Zoom meetings discussing this topic. It is clear that much work still needs to be done; decisions need to be made that allow us to move forward and maintain the integrity and values of the peer support role.
#3, “Ripple will continue to advocate for reform in Connecticut state prisons, specifically the treatment of those living with mental illness.” – Advocacy on a state level has been made rather tricky during the pandemic. Once again, we have been attending Zoom meetings with different groups, including the New Britain Reentry Roundtable, to exchange ideas on making the current system more beneficial to those incarcerated and the community they will someday return to.
#4, “Ripple will increase the number of educational presentations by at least 20% in 2020” – Unfortunately, this goal was stopped dead in its tracks by the outbreak of Covid-19. In-person groups of all kinds found themselves shutting down all over the nation, and we were forced to adapt to a life of teleconferencing and distance learning. A few peer-led groups in Connecticut took the initiative to launch support meetings via Zoom and other platforms. Ripple dedicated two nights a week and established the state’s first late-night support group running on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 – Midnight.
#5, “RockingRecovery.org will continue to grow its resource list for the benefit of the community as a whole.” – Currently, our website offers over 1080 resource links. Over 1,620 programs and services are listed. This allows options to be found quickly, whether you’re a professional, peer supporters, recovery coaches, or a person looking for your own needs.
#6, “RockingRecovery.org will begin a period of community promotion to make both peers and providers aware of the service it provides.” – On May 14th, 2020, Ripple produced a short clip for The Hub CT’s video offerings during mental health awareness month. Along with promoting peer support groups in Connecticut, we added a plug for RockingRecovery.org to promote the available resources. We are also proud to have been added to the Connecticut Department for Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) website as a community resource.
For the most part, we have met or exceeded the goals set at the beginning of last year. We have made some new friends along the way, and people are expressing an interest in Ripple. We have created a long term list of goals for the organization that stretch out over the next several years. For the moment, let’s focus on the year ahead!
It is hard to predict how soon in-person meetings will start up again with the pandemic still upon us. Now there are reports of a new strain of the virus that is more transmittable than the original. Even with the vaccine, we are seeing a rise in confirmed cases, mostly due to holiday travel and families gathering. While thinking of our goals for 2021, we have taken this into account to create realistic expectations.
First and foremost, we are making a new commitment to the peer community. If Connecticut enters another lockdown period and people are forced to remain home, we will run our late night peer support group seven days a week until the lockdown ends.
- Find and add at least 500 new resources to RockingRecovery.org in the 2021 calendar year.
- Add another peer to the co-hosts for the late-night peer support groups so we may switch off as needed.
- Have late night peer support groups scheduled for four times a week minimum.**
- Add 2 or 3 more RSS certified peers to the Ripple board/volunteer staff.
- Continue to participate in the process of creating legislation necessary for insurance to cover peer support services.
As the year progresses, we will likely add more to our goals list. Outlining the things we wish to achieve is always a good practice, but remaining fluid is essential. It allows us to be flexible in pursuing more paths that align with our overall vision and serve the community to the best of our ability.
** Note: The late-night peer support group does meet on nights of the week that are not advertised in any of our flyers or online notices. When peers request space outside of the regular group, we accommodate them when we are able. The goal is to have more groups available on our schedule and committing to covering more nights a week. This goal ties directly with adding more peers to host the groups.
Shoutout to Toivo!
In a time of social distancing, we would like to thank everyone at Toivo for their continued service to our community. For months they have been posting daily videos to their Facebook page. Activities such as yoga, meditation, sound healing, qigong, laughter exercise, creative writing, expressive art, and much more.
These videos are archived to the page and can be viewed again and again. Each day there is something to look forward to; it keeps us from getting stuck in a rut and becoming stagnant. Thank you so much for all of the beautiful work you are doing; it truly means a lot.
If you are interested in learning more about Toivo, please visit their website at www.toivocenter.org. Toivo is a peer-run, non-profit initiative through Advocacy Unlimited, Inc.
Starting January 3rd. 2021 we added Sunday to our late night peer support group schedule; this is the new flyer with the updated information. Everyone on our mailing list will receive a PDF copy of this flyer along with our first quarter newsletter. Please feel free to distribute it to those who may find it useful. Thank you!
Ripple’s site, RockingRecovery.org, continues to grow! We officially launched as a community resource on May 1st, 2019, and since that time, it has taken on a life of its own. The most visited section of this site is the CT RESOURCE LINKS page, where we have programs and services for people in Connecticut who need help. As of the publication of this newsletter, we offer 49 different demographical categories that lead to hundreds of agencies and providers. When combined, they provide more than 1,620 resources within the state. This section of the site is icon-driven, which allows you to quickly scan through the services and find the help you need.
RockingRecovery.org is proud to be listed as a community resource on the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) website. As we move into 2021, one of our goals is to improve our site and make it as useful as possible for those in the peer recovery community. We have set a goal to add a minimum of 500 new resources during the upcoming year.
One of our philosophies is you only need three things to help someone, hope, time, and compassion. It is our goal to show others out there that Connecticut offers a vast network of organizations, services, and programs for people living with mental illness and addiction… That they are not alone and that people are willing to support them in their recovery.
Ripple’s mission is simple, as people with lived experience in the mental health and substance abuse services system, we seek to empower our peers. To use our voices to educate, inform, and inspire new leaders in our community. We will bring new and innovative ideas to the recovery processes for the benefit of all. RockingRecovery.org is one of the tools that will help is be successful in that goal.
This website is made up of over 170 pages and has taken over 800 hours of work to get to where we are now. Currently, we are aware of more than a dozen agencies using our site to better serve their clients. RockingRecovery.org has become a useful tool to help their clients get connected to outside services that improve the quality of their lives. We hope this will be picked up by more providers in the area, and it can bring more help to those who need it.
A note from the webmaster:
RockingRecovery.org is a lot like a person’s recovery journey; it does not happen all at once, and at some points, it won’t go exactly as planned. We will hit obstacles and have setbacks, but with enough time, we will see our way clear and be able to move forward. It is our goal to create the most useful site possible for our community and peers. We will be continuously adding the CT Resource Links section and expect that it, just like recovery itself, will always be a work in progress.