Fiona Ray has stepped into her new role as Clinical Director and we wanted to kick things off with a bang. We do love to celebrate our team and their accomplishments! Last Friday, the Recovery community had the opportunity to come and congratulate Fiona, see what we are doing as a company, and check out the digs in Brentwood.
It was so wonderful to see so many familiar and new faces, share great food (which included Pink Berry), and mingle with so many wonderful members of this community. Major kudos go to Angela Carrillo, our Los Angeles Outreach Coordinator, who tirelessly make this bash the success that it was and to Christina Howard-Micklish for her fabulous celebratory aesthetic. The VTeam showed a lot of pride and excitement, cheering on one of their own. Fiona Ray has made a memorable impact on her team at IOP/Day School and will surely do the same for the rest of the facilities as she weaves the entirety of the Visions team together.
It’s not every day you get to see one of your own take flight in this way. Fiona is really someone to celebrate: she is dedicated, kind, compassionate, determined and respectable. We are over-the-moon excited for Fiona, and for the cohesive expansion of our facilities and team.
Check out the highlights from the party! Just click on the image below to view the rest of the slideshow: [slideshow id=8]
The Alumni Family Weekend has been a celebrated piece of the Visions puzzle for several years. It has grown and evolved into a widely celebrated event involving parents, alumni, and staff. We always start out the weekend with an alumni-family dinner. It’s so nice to see families from years’ past as well as recent and current families. The dinner is a nice way to launch a weekend of recovery fun, service projects, and the inimitable Alumni vs. Staff softball game.
Roxie Fuller, our Alumni Coordinator did a phenomenal job planning this event with the help of her amazing support team, Chloe Huerta and Nick Riefner. We had an incredibly diverse array of alumni in attendance along with their families. There were even a few alumni who brought their babies to introduce to the Visions family. What a beautiful thing to witness: our alumni’s transformation into parenthood and beyond.
This year, the service project included a pet adoption that the kids and their families could participate in. We have been proud partners with Free Love Animal Rescue in Brentwood since April and it was a pleasure to include alumni and current families in this service work. Working with animals can be a wonderful salve for the heart. Many of our teens volunteer with Free Love Animal Rescue during their time in outpatient, Launch, NeXT and at the Day School.
Our softball game was off the hook this year! It was Fiesta themed! Our bellies were full and happy thanks to the taco truck on site. We had a solid scorekeeper this year: Bill Hoban! And staff finally got our title back. We won fair and square. It was an amazing game and no one lost an eye! All in all, it was a perfect end to this year’s Alumni Family Weekend.
“What another fun and successful Alumni Weekend! It was lovely to see so many familiar faces and catch up on what our alumni have going on in their lives. Thank you so much to Chloe, Nick, and of course Miss Roxie! These three worked so hard and clocked in many man hours to put this event together.” – Lianne Domingo
“The weekend was awesome! Between the unity of the clients both current and past and the hardworking spirit of all the staff alumni weekend was again possible and exciting!” – Nick Riefner
“As a fellow alumni being a part of the team that plans the big alumni weekend was an honor. I had a great time seeing so many teens and families doing well. It was really cool to catch up with some alumni that I went to Visions with. I’m so happy so many people came out this weekend! I couldn’t have done it without Roxie, Nick, and Christina.” –Chloe Huerta
“This past weekend had me reflecting on how Visions continues to evolve. We have become so much more than just a treatment center…Visions is a community proudly claimed by so many coast-to-coast and even world wide. From Staff to Alumni Parents, Teens and now Young Adults…we all have a common thread…we are all Visions Family.” – Christina Howard-Micklish
We are grateful for the turnout and diverse array of alumni and their families that joined us this year. We know that no matter what happens in the lives of our alumni, they will always have a community ready to support them. Thank you to all who attended this year, and a special shoutout to Roxie, Chloe and Nick for their hard work and dedication to making this year’s Alumni Family Weekend such a success. Until next year!
Walking into our Day School is emblematic of the cultivation of community. The kids are in support of each other, bonded by difficulty and a desire to change, and they are aptly supported by a team of a deeply compassionate clinical and support staff. On a given day, you may encounter laughter, tears, struggle, and frustration, joy, triumph, and accomplishment. And regardless of which of those experiences is present, they are held in a safe container of support; a container which is ultimately community.
A fear that is often present for teens in treatment is the suggestion that their peer group will need to change. In a successful environment of recovery, that peer group does need to change. However, part of the recovery process includes the cultivation of a healthier, more supportive community of peers–a community that is desirous of shifting the old paradigm to one that is conducive to the mental health and stability they seek.
1: Engaging in social activities together. Visions supports weekly sober fun activities and recovery fun groups. Clients in our extended care have regular weekend activities such as paintball, beach trips, gardening, hiking, et cetera.
2: Having a spiritual support community such as Young People’s AA, where the young people are in charge of their own groups. This creates a sense of empowerment and encourages healthy independence.
3: Allow the clients to support one another. When a client asks if they can check in with another client, we almost never say no. It’s important that the clients see each other as a support system, especially post treatment.
4: Alumni activities. Keep our former clients in contact with each other and remind them of the support system they have in place. Our annual Alumni Weekend is a prime example of this. Additionally, all alumni are encouraged to come to the Friday night recovery meeting.
5: Visions encourages alumni to sponsor current clients and to come back to work at Visions as employees. This way, clients can see the full cycle of recovery.
We are looking forward to seeing alumni and current clients and their families at the upcoming Alumni Weekend. This community is at the core of what we do, and supporting families in their recovery is our heart. It is always a joy to see our alumni thriving in their recovery and reconnecting with them.
often referred to as EDAW. I asked Stefanie Boone, MS, RD, to provide some insights and tips on what an eating disorder is, what is is not, and ways in which you can be supportive. This year’s EDAW theme is “I had no idea.” We are grateful to have Stefanie as part of the Visions family:
When I see parents, friends, or significant others trying to support their loved one with an eating disorder, my heart goes out to them. Besides feeling guilty (is this my fault?), worried (will he or she be OK?), and overwhelmed, they are often at loss around how to be helpful. Friends, family, and community need education around the following concepts:
– That an eating disorder is really a symptom of deeper underlying issues;
– That their loved one cannot just simply stop the behavior;
– Certain things you may think would be supportive can actually make things worse;
– That their own talk and behavior around food, diet, and being dissatisfied with their own bodies have and will continue to affect their children or loved one;
– That the sports team their child is a part of may actually be feeding into their ED.
My top five tips for those who want to be supportive are:
1. If you are trying to get your loved one to seek help, take a loving and non-judgmental stance with your loved one. An eating disorder is a mental illness, and requires professional help. Express your concern from a loving place. Share how the ED is impacting you and your family.
2. If you are supporting an adult (spouse, parent, adult child) – do not be the food police. This is usually not helpful. With children and teens parents may need to be more involved – your child’s treatment team will guide you.
3. Be a positive role model – even if you do have your own opinions about food and even if you think you are “fat”, you need to stop sharing these thoughts and comments with your loved one.
And NEVER comment on how your loved looks – this is a very sensitive area and often a completely innocent comment such as “you look great” can be twisted into “is she saying I look fat?”
4. If your child is on a team sport, contact the coach – get more information as to what he/she is advising your children around food and exercise. Your child will most likely need to discontinue this sport at least temporarily while in recovery.
5. If you are a teen and have a friend you are worried about, talk to an adult about it immediately– teacher, school counselor, parents. I know this may be hard, but you may be saving your friend’s life.
Eating Disorder Awareness Week begins TODAY: 2/23-3/1. Please share your experience, strength and hope this week, using the hashtag #EDAW14. You never know who you’re helping or who might “hear” you for the first time.
This is it: time for our annual Alumni Big Bear Ski trip,
and we are over the moon! It’s one of the favorite alumni events of the year, and the fact that 6 more weeks of winter have been predicted (thanks, Punxsutawney Phil!), and the fact that snow is falling, we are raring to go.
It’s always an adventure complete with community building activities, epic goofiness, 12-step meetings, fellowship, and a burrito-eating contest. Yes, you read that last part correctly. There’s a place in Big Bear that sells something called the “Big Juan” burrito. It’s a 4-pound burrito and if you can eat it in 45 minutes, you win a T-shirt. There is always someone willing, no matter the warnings of sickness and overwhelm. It must be some T-shirt! We’ll post pics if someone dares to take this challenge.
The best part of this trip is the alumni community. Alumni are given the opportunity to reconnect with one another, bond and share stories of recovery, downfalls, and encouragement. Some come just for that, even though they don’t ski or snowboard. In fact, there has been many a time where alumni have helped each other out on the slopes, guiding each other down their first hill or their 100th. Team work, fellowship, goofiness, laughter, hot cocoa, marshmallows, and the inevitable teen prank: It’s all worth every moment.
One of the most lauded alumni events at Visions is our Halloween outing. This year is no different as we expand our adventure and take it to new heights: Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, we are coming your way! I hear it’s scarier, gorier, and more terrifying than ever. Rumor has it, Halloween Horror Nights makes Knott’s look like kids’ play! Say it isn’t so!
The attractions are fraught with zombies galore, inspired by the Walking Dead as well as some much-needed comic relief. A little screaming, a little laughing: it’s all waiting for you! Check it out:
The Mazes take you through the “shadowy confines of the West Georgia Correctional Facility,” which of course is chock full of hungry zombies looking for…YOU. In the mazes, there is no “safe haven.”
Once you leave the West Georgia Correctional Facility, you can jump on the Terror Tram, where you will find yourself in a zombie filled town of Willbury. The wilderness is filled with “decaying Walkers.”
The rides are there too, albeit scarier than the usual fare. Maybe you’ll be seated next to a zombie on one of these rides: Transformers, Revenge of the Mummy, Jurassic Park — in the Dark, and the Simpson’s Ride.
Of course there are also myriad scare zones throughout the park:
The Curse of Chucky is in the house, and he is ready to play hide and seek with you.
There’s the Purge, where you have to find a way to “survive the night.”
We can’t forget the Clowns, right? Those with Coulrophobia (fear of clowns) beware as you find yourself on clown-filled streets of Paris.
Next you may find yourself under the shadows of the Scarecrowz Tower, with a new breed of scarecrows waiting for you nearby.
And last but not least is the Walking Dead infestation. Stay together, y’all. Zombies are notoriously unpredictable.
The excitement for this event is brewing amongst the Visions kids and I can’t help but share their enthusiasm with you all here:
“I am so excited for the Visions Alumni event this Friday. I really am looking forward to going to Universal Studios Haunted Horror Nights with all my new friends I have made at Visions and to see all the alumni kids. It’ll be a great night for sure.”
“I can’t wait! I’m so ecstatic. I personally don’t like scary things, but I’m still so excited.”
“I like haunted houses and stuff so that will be cool. I like sober fun and going with my friends. It will be fun.”
Whether you are alumni, a current client, or staff member along for this scary adventure, Halloween Horror Nights will be a night to remember. What a cool opportunity to be a team: stay together and enjoy the ride! This is what sober fun is all about!
The National Youth Recovery Foundation is going Over the Edge for youth recovery and we are a proud sponsor.
The National Youth Recovery Foundation partnered up with Over the Edge, an innovative fundraising organization that partners up with non-profit organizations and sends “participants who’ve raised pledges rappelling down an office building.” Wow! This coming Saturday, in an effort to raise money for young people in recovery, 76 brave folks will rappel down the outside of the W Hotel. The National Youth Recovery Foundation is on a mission to raise awareness and affect change–we are looking forward to this event.
The National Youth Recovery Foundation is a citizen-run non-profit organization that supports young people in recovery, ages 15-30. The NYRF “funds and promotes programs and initiatives that increase young people’s access to treatment and aftercare.” Their work encourages continuing education, career building, social networking as a means of support, and community building so that young people have a means of breaking barriers and creating sustainable, long-term recovery.
Are you interested in participating? The registration fee for National Youth Recovery Foundation’s Over the Edge event is $25, which will go toward the $1500 fundraising goal. There’s only a week left, but anything is possible! Join and fundraise or come down to support the event!
This is where it’s all happening:
Saturday, October 19, 2013
9 am – 6 pm
W Hollywood Hotel
6250 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028
The Visions Alumni weekend is fast approaching and we are really looking forward to three days of sober fun! Each year, alumni get a chance to reconnect with their fellow alumni, challenge the staff to a softball game, and engage in team building activities that are chock full of laughter and joy. For us, it’s a pleasure to see the evolution of our alumni as they gotten more rooted in their recovery.
This Alumni Weekend is going to be stellar. Day one: We start the weekend off with an amazing dinner and bowling. Day two: There is an opportunity for service work during the day and a 12-step meeting in the evening. Day three: Softball and the pièce de résistance: we have the Grilled Cheese Truck firing up their griddle and making us sammys! I anticipate great fun.
Many alumni have called asking which staff members will be there because so many folks are looking forward to reconnecting. This is one of the many areas where we shine! We are the Visions family, and with that comes the inclusion of alumni past and present who rely upon us to be the bedrock in their recovery experience.
Without further adieu, here’s some baseball inspiration. We aim to for silliness and fun and we know you do too!
The 55th ICYPAA Convention (International Conference of Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous) is happening and it’s in Phoenix, Arizona this year! ICYPAA is an annual gathering for young people to celebrate and honor their sobriety. Over the years, we have seen an increase in the numbers of young people coming into recovery. ICYPAA has been a consistent resource. ICYPAA provides a huge pool of experience, strength and hope for young people, allowing a safe space for those walking similar paths and trying to better their lives to be amongst their peers in a fun, entertaining, spiritual, hopeful way.
Being of service is something you can do no matter how long you’re sober: it can be a day, months or years. It simply doesn’t matter. Putting your hand out and helping someone else gets you out of yourself. Being at an ICYPAA convention is a neat way to approach fellowship and service work because you’re in a huge container for the process to unfold. You are essentially hanging out with other people for an extended period of time, and all are on the same path. It can be a truly wonderful experience. But nothing says it better than this:
“ICYPAA and its attendees are also committed to reaching out to the newcomer, and to involvement in every other facet of AA service. ICYPAA participants can often be found serving at the national, state, area, and group levels. Newcomers are shown, by people their own age, that using AA principles in their daily lives and getting involved in AA service can have a significant impact on a lasting and comfortable sobriety.”
I got to spend some time at our Day School, and the kids were abuzz with excitement and anticipation about the weekend ahead of them. The members of the staff that are going are excited too. Sober conventions are an experience! When I asked Will, one of our tutors, about his thoughts and expectations venturing off to ICYPAA, he said,
“I’m just as excited for the road trip as I am for the actual convention. This will be my first conference, so I don’t quite know what to expect. My plan is to go to the meetings and interact with as many people as possible. I think that people from other parts of the world have a different perspective on sobriety. It’s always interesting to hear someone else’s point of view.”
How amazing is it to get to experience the world with open eyes, and an open heart?
It looks like this is going to be an amazing weekend of sober fun, meetings, and support. From what I hear, it’s also monsoon season in Arizona, so it will be hot, muggy, rainy and absolutely beautiful. Life is infinitely better when you can be present for it!