Jones continues advocacy at Turning Point
Recovery is about whole-person wellness, and we want to make sure we’re offering the broadest spectrum possible of services to support people in exploring that.
— Stacy Jones
MIDDLEBURY — Stacy Jones has travelled an interesting and eclectic professional path thus far. She’s taught and cared for young children, worked with battered women, assisted tenants in landlord disputes, prepared and served food to those in need, and now she’s helping folks overcome substance addiction as executive director of the Turning Point Center of Addison County.
“In my entire adult life, I’ve always been engaged in some way or another with advocacy work, direct service work supporting individuals who are faced with navigating systems they don’t understand,” Jones said. “This was a particularly natural fit, as I am a person in long-term recovery, which helps to shape and inform my work.”
The non-profit Turning Point Center, or TPC, at 54 Creek Road in Middlebury provides a safe, friendly and substance-use-free environment for those in recovery — and their family members — to meet for peer-to-peer support, social activities, workshops, coaching, education and advocacy.
Jones already knew the center well when she took its reins last year. She joined five years ago as a volunteer, then moved into a paid position as a local “medically assisted treatment guide” under the auspices of the Vermont Recovery Network. She eventually took on administrative duties for both the TPC and the Recovery Network before being named TPC’s interim director in 2017 when then-leader Bill Brim stepped down.
Jones was named the nonprofit’s permanent director last year, and has already made her mark on its operation. The Turning Point Center of Addison County currently hosts 14 meetings per week, and they are well attended. The TPC receives an average of 750-850 visits per month from people whose needs range from intensive coaching to help putting together a resumé.
The organization’s current offerings include:
• Recovery coaching, through which trained volunteers meet one-on-one with people who want to improve or begin their life in recovery. A recovery coach is a peer who helps motivate change in any part of a person’s life.
The TPC currently has 13 recovery coaches on its roster.
“What’s really, really beautiful about working in recovery is that it’s a largely constituent-driven field,” Jones said. “It’s about developing work skills and application skills by the population in recovery to serve the population coming into recovery. Our recovery coaches are largely people who self-identify as in recovery or who have a loved one — friend or family member — who are in recovery, and that’s what draws them to this work.”
• The Impaired Driver Rehabilitation, formerly known as Project CRASH. It provides people convicted of driving under the influence with the opportunity to openly examine facts about alcohol and other drugs, and discuss the role these substances play in their life. Anyone convicted of driving under the influence must successfully complete this course before regaining driving privileges.
• Self Management and Recovery Training. This is a science-based program that helps people manage their recovery from addictive behavior, including alcohol, nicotine, drugs, gambling, sex, eating and self-harming.
• Making Recovery Easier, a six-session workshop that helps participants learn about the benefits of 12-step programs. A 12-step program, such as Alcoholic Anonymous, features self-help meetings at which participants admit past mistakes, and learn to stay sober.
• Friends and Family in Support of Recovery, a peer-led support group for any adult with a loved one who has experienced or is experiencing substance use disorder. Participants gain insight from the challenges and successes of others facing similar experiences.
• Training on the use of Narcan, the brand name for Naloxone. This pharmaceutical drug is used to get people breathing again when they stop breathing due to overdose of opioids, such as heroin, morphine, oxycodone, methadone, hydrocodone, codeine, and other prescription pain medications. Naloxone — in this case administered as a nasal spray — quickly and temporarily reverses the effects of opioids in overdose patients, to the extent they can be brought back from the brink and then placed into recovery programs.
The center also offers creative diversions for folks in recovery, including art and gardening. Yoga, writing and “kinetic energy healing” workshops are also in the works.
“Recovery is about whole-person wellness, and we want to make sure we’re offering the broadest spectrum possible of services to support people in exploring that,” Jones said.
In an effort to provide more comprehensive assistance to those in recovery, the Turning Point Center is seeking to collaborate with:
• Porter Medical Center, on the potential placement of recovery coaches in the hospital’s Emergency Department to assist patients who present with a substance use disorder. This would be an optional service to Porter patients who believe they might benefit from recovery-related information and advocacy.
Jones noted six Vermont hospitals already have such a program in place.
“There’s a lot more to be done around building before it’s ready to launch, but that is a next step,” she said.
• Middlebury College, to assist students with learning opportunities — and recovery services to those dealing with substance abuse.
Like many nonprofits, TPC operates on a thin financial margin. The executive director used to be TPC’s only paid employee. But thanks to good planning and successful fundraising, the center now has a staff of five, including a full-time program coordinator and three part-timers who oversee bookkeeping, youth outreach services, and medically assisted treatment guidance.
“Even though there are staff here, our front line is still volunteers,” Jones stressed.
She said TPC currently has 15 dedicated volunteers who help the organization in a variety of ways, whether it be answering phones, facilitating meetings or performing basic housekeeping chores.
“Our hope is to broaden our services so we can be serving the widest audience possible,” Jones said, “and also to be part of the community. That includes bringing in volunteers from parts of the community so that when people come through our doors, they’re really seeing a reflection of who this community is.”
More information about the TPC can be found at turningpointaddisonvt.org.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected]
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