For its dedication to eliminating barriers to recovery support services, SOS Recovery Community Organization was presented with the 2019 Harvard Pilgrim Community Impact Award during the Nonprofit Impact Celebration held recently at the Manchester Country Club in Bedford.
About 180 people attended the event held to recognize the impact of nonprofit organizations in New Hampshire.
“We’re inspired by this organization’s commitment to providing new possibilities in peer recovery supports,” said Dr. William Brewster, vice president, NH Regional Market for Harvard Pilgrim in Health Care, who presented SOS RCO with the Harvard Pilgrim Health Community Impact Award.
Brewster also praised SOS RCO for its commitment to building the recovery workforce by training more than 200 Recovery Coaches in New Hampshire; as well as its commitment to reduce stigma and treat substance use disorder as a disease and not a personal defect.
Reducing the stigma and harm associated with substance use disorder (SUD) is part of the mission of SOS RCO.
“Stigma goes well beyond the word stigma, it is really discrimination,” said John Burns, director of SOS RCO. “When it comes to recovery supports and when it comes to mental health, I often say that the individuals we serve are often so stigmatized and discriminated against, that we beat them down, we use language that never should be used in regard to any human being and then when they are beaten down and are separated from all their connections in the community, then we use that as justification as to why they shouldn’t receive treatment, So the mission of SOS is really about hope and providing the recovery support people need and the strength to come through our doors and see that people do recovery. In fact, there are 23 million people in long term recovery today.”
In addition to staff, volunteers, advisory board members and members of the SOS community, Burns attributed much of the success of SOS programs and service to the Strafford County community and the collaboration of so many individuals and organizations.
Others receiving award were Jane Difley, president and forester at the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, for her leadership increasing the pace of land conservation in the State; Julie McConnell, director of Child Care and Community Facilities Lending at the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, for her significant impact on early childhood education in the state as an advocate, lender, trainer, and Laurie Harding, board president of Headrest for her exemplary board service and leadership on public health issues.
NAMI New Hampshire (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and Krempels Center also received Nonprofit Impact Awards, recognizing exceptional service to the community.
NAMI New Hampshire was lauded for its commitment to improving the lives of all people affected by mental illness and suicide through support, education and advocacy and the Krempels Center was honored for its innovative and collaborative approach to addressing the complex and unique needs of brain injury survivors in New Hampshire,