The Volunteers of America Men’s Residential Center (MRC) is a 52-bed substance use treatment facility for men referred by the Multnomah County criminal justice system. Many began using substances as early as age 10 and have never known lives without crime.
During six months of intensive, tightly-structured treatment, the MRC counselors develop therapeutic relationships with clients and begin to help the men learn more prosocial living skills. When these six months are finished, men can choose to participate in another six months of nonresidential care at the center that gives them a continuing opportunity to be a part of a supportive and safe environment.
Staff and counselors become role models for the men as they develop meaningful relationships with one another. In group and individual counseling sessions, clients can discuss the root causes of their addictions and criminal behaviors, learn how to monitor their own thought processes in order to recognize and prevent relapses, and practice anger and stress management tactics. All of these processes contribute to the learning of vital communication and independent living skills.
If one can measure a program’s success by the loyalty and gratitude expressed by former participants, then the Men’s Residential Center (MRC) is doing something right.
A recent Alumni Celebration—the largest and most notable event of the year for the MRC—brought 139 men together to reconnect with staff and friends, share success stories, and celebrate participants’ courage for having turned their lives around. Together, they represent over 675 years of sobriety! That is quite a feat to celebrate and be grateful for.
Not only do these men attend alumni events, many have also returned to the center to be mentors for current clients. As these alumni were able to turn from a life of crime and addiction, they act as wonderful role models for current clients who can see what they are capable of.
“We are grateful to our alumni for all they do in supporting new clients entering treatment at the MRC, and for the strength they’ve shown in their own recoveries,” noted Greg Stone, Program Director. “They’re helping spread the possibility of recovery and empowering others to become more accountable, and they’re helping create a safer community for everyone.”
Congratulations to Greg, his staff, and to the men who are giving back in appreciation for all they’ve received at the MRC.
Participants of the Men’s Residential Center typically spend six months in residence. During the initial phase of treatment, they participate in a highly-structured program which focuses on skill building and the changing of attitudes, behaviors and beliefs that could lead them back to drugs, alcohol and criminal behavior.
The second treatment phase provides participants with opportunities to practice their new skills through vocational training and other pro-social activities, both in and out of the program. They seek housing, employment, reunification with family, build strong outside support systems, and many strengthen their recovery through service work.
After a successful transition back into the community, clients participate in an outpatient aftercare program for six more months.