Courage to Change continuing to grow

PARKERSBURG – The Courage to Change Community Recovery Center is expanding its offerings of classes at its Latrobe Street headquarters.

The nonprofit Courage to Change offers free services, education, prevention, intervention, recovery and referral to addicts. Last spring the program moved to the Lynn Street Church of Christ Annex at 1721 Latrobe St.

“It’s like a dream come true. I’ve been working in counseling, teaching for more than 40 years,” said Glenna Tucker, program founder and coordinator. “We are very excited about the way the program is growing. We have close to 700 people a month coming through here with all the classes, groups and life skills.”

Tucker is a retired addictions counselor.

“We are partnering with the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, offering cooking skills, menu planning and nutrition help in connection with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program,” Tucker said.

The classes will be offered this summer at the Lynn Street Church of Christ. Megan Buskirk, community health educator with the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, will work with the classes.

“This is to help them learn to budget, meal plan, and choose and grow healthy foods. It is open to the community at large; our target audience are those who would be eligible or are on S.N.A.P.,” Buskirk said.

“It helps to save money. It teaches meal planning, and if you grow your own vegetables, and you can use S.N.A.P. funds for seeds, that also helps with the grocery budget. But if you don’t know how to cook something, they aren’t going to buy it, so we also introduce them to new foods they may not be familiar with, and provide recipes.

“We show them how to prepare the food and we cook it then taste it. They are given information on the nutritional information and recipes go home with them,” Buskirk said. “Some of those who come through have never had these skills and it really empowers them; everyone wants to make positive changes in their life.”

For more information on S.N.A.P., call the health department at 304-585-7374.

Other classes offered at the center include Al-Anon, a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics support group; Alcoholics Anonymous; Courage to Change, a faith-based holistic 12-step program for moving into recovery; Gamblers Anonymous, and Adult Children of Alcoholics.

The Courage to Change Center has a resource library with books and other materials that can be checked out.

Tucker said the center will begin offering a literacy class.

“We have had high school graduates coming in who couldn’t even read well enough to do the recovery program. We are also trying to get computers in here to work with those as well,” Tucker said.

“There are classes going on in here everyday, sometimes two a day. We moved the center to this location to be more accessible to people who needed the services.”

The center is partnering in sponsoring a community garden at the church.

“It’s really all about getting the community together to use each other’s resources,” Tucker said. “We have about 30 people from the community that we partner with that offer all types of lifestyle skills types of classes.”

The agency is bringing in an overeaters’ anonymous group and Narcotics Anonymous, Tucker said.

Basic skills for single fathers, anger management, divorce recovery, stress management, and domestic violence are all coming soon at the center as well.

Tucker was recently invited to and attended U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s roundtable at the University of Charleston. Rockefeller is co-sponsoring the bi-partisan Excellence in Mental Health Act, which would provide funding for mental health and drug addiction treatment in West Virginia.

According to state estimates, there are about 150,000 West Virginians who need treatment for drug abuse problems.

Tucker said the center and its services have been a long time coming.

“This center and its services didn’t come overnight. I’ve had a lot of doors slammed in my face on this road,” Tucker said.

The center primarily operates on contributions, donations, grants. For $15 a month, Tucker said a donor can sponsor one person in the program.