Central Ohio: Providing Recovery-Centered Education
“What sets us apart is we don’t just provide treatment to adults but to families and kids—not many treatment providers do that,” said Lisa Clark, Executive Director of Central Ohio.
Heartland High School
Lisa is very familiar with treatment needs. In January of 2015, she lost her son to an overdose. When he started abusing drugs as a teenager, Lisa searched for a local recovery high school for him to attend —there weren’t any in Ohio. “The first thing they tell you in recovery is you have to change your environment,” said Lisa. For her son, and other students seeking recovery, they need an environment that supports that, not one that continues the negative behavior. “With a tragedy like that I thought, ‘What are things I wish I could have changed?’” said Lisa.
That’s when she started discussions with the Franklin County ADAMH Board about a recovery high school. From those initial conversations, Lisa was put in touch with Sara Nerad, the then Director of the Collegiate Recovery Program at the Ohio State University and it grew from there. They held focus groups, visited other recovery high schools, consulted with legislatures, the Ohio Department of Education and attorneys. “It was truly a grassroots effort,” Lisa reflected. Eventually, with the continued support of OhioGuidestone, Heartland High School opened as a private school with its own 501(c)3 and a curriculum that blends online and classroom learning with sober activities.
The school currently has 10 students who have access to a Peer Supporter, Alternative Peer Group programs from OhioGuidestone and teachers who understand how to handle both their good and bad days. “It will provide the kids with emotional support in recovery while getting an education,” said Lisa.
OhioGuidestone and the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation are working on a sober house and treatment facility for pregnant women. Seeing the community need for parenting groups to support those in Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment, OhioGuidestone also started a Nurturing Parenting Group where families meet weekly for therapy, dinner and outings.
A 12-bed residential facility for men and women is in the works for those going to the emergency room seeking treatment but who don’t qualify for detox. OhioGuidestone, in conjunction with the Sheriff’s Office Opiate Task Force, Project Fairfield County Overdose Response Team (F.O.R.T.)and the ADAMH Board, will be able to house those who have been saved from overdose at this facility.
In the city of Marysville, OhioGuidestone is working on a home-based Alternative Peer Group and SUD programs for teenagers through Try Academy, an alternative school run by Marysville Local Schools.