2017 UFAM Rally Speakers visited the G. Robert Cotton Facility at the Jackson State Prison on May 17th.
Three National Speakers were fortunate to speak to over 400 prisoners at the G. Robert Cotton Facility at the Jackson State Prison, a part of the Michigan Department of Corrections and over 100 prisoners at the Ingham County Jail.
The reception by staff and inmates for Matt Butler, John Shinholser and Scott Masi, was overwhelming. Brighton Center for Recovery is in it’s 6th year of doing this, including a visit to the Oakland County Children’s Village.
Below are a few poignant, supportive and hopeful kites (letters), that Warden Shawn Brewer, of the G. Robert Correctional Facility, shared with UFAM organizers:
“Thank you for allowing the Unite to Face Addiction presentation. I lost my mate to an overdose; I’m here for purchasing drugs for her. She did not have to die. I hope I can become peer support through an organization like this. Thank you for all that your staff has done to help me – to help myself.”
“I hope my letter finds you well, and those you love. Sir, it’s my deepest desire to reach out and help others whom may have experienced addiction, family members that suffer from addictions, losses from addiction, and recovery. In addition, someone may have experienced the loss of child/children to state/count due to active addiction. Sir I have a testimony to share, hopes, strengths, the arrest of my addictions in prison where substances can be abundant, behaviors that dictate returning to active addiction if not addressed presently. I have a background that inside the walls dictates respect – however for I may be from old behaviors, it’s the new lease on life, and the freedom from active addiction that gives me my spiritual awakenings. This may sound crazy to some; I am right where I’m supposed to be, at this time in life. There is but one thing that can change the very essence of man. That is time. It does not occur instantly, so, for my time I am blessed. If at any time before I am released I may be of assistance to one’s recovery, both inside or out – I would be honored to do all I can via my story. I’ve tried several things in life to maintain my recovery – all what I am supposed to do – give back. Thank you for your willingness for progress and events.”
“Hello and God Bless. I am writing today to thank you for helping to set up the meeting today. It was very helpful to my recovery to know I can and will make it and to know there are people within the MDOC and here at JCF/Cotton who care about the prisoners. And about how we will do once we are returned back into the community. I thank you for this and everything else you do here at JCF/Cotton. NA-AA meetings are big for me and helping in my recovery and to be able to help others with the same issue I have had but also to hear success stories of coming back from the dark and into the light. I am a success story in the making. I believe in myself. Thank you from me, my son and my family. Thank you so much for your help in becoming the person, daddy and hero I know and will be for my son and myself. God Bless.”
“Thank you for bringing in the Unite to Face Addiction Program today.”
“Hello and God Bless. I am writing today to thank you for helping in making the meeting happen today. That is what we need in here. Real people who have been through it as we have. That has come from the dark side and went to the light and has stayed there. I know it will not be all fun and games once I am released and this today helped me. I will be paroling very soon so I needed this. I am a recovering addict and I am and will be a success story because I am really wanting my recovery for me not anyone else. If I cannot do it for me or love myself how can I love or do it for anyone else. I cannot wait to get back home to my son. I will be there to be his daddy, father, and hero once again. All of these resources will help once I am released so I think you again. And so does my family and my son in helping in my recovery and not hindering it. Thank you so much for your help. At least there are people here that care and are willing to help us become a better part of our community. God Bless”
Thursday, May 18th a few thousand people will gather on the lawn at the Michigan State Capital Building for the Unite to Face Addiction 2nd Annual Rally & Advocacy Day. And with a slogan like, “Be the Voice of Change,” and opening remarks from Michigan Lt. Governor Brian Calley, it promises to pack a triple punch of entertainment, education and advocacy.
One of the special events at the Rally will be free Naloxone training in the Resource tent on the North lawn. And three educators: Dr. Michael Mullins; instructor Jeannie Richards of Brian’s Hope; and instructor Kathy Redding of Capital Area Project VOX will conduct the training. Training is at 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM and you can register before the event.
The no needle, auto-injection products were graciously donated by Kaleo Pharmaceuticals and Adapt Pharma. And each participant will leave with two auto injector naloxone or two Narcan nasal spray products. And clear instructions on how to use them and save a life.
Opioid overdoses have become a national epidemic and they are the leading cause of accidental deaths in Michigan. Opioid overdoses happen when there are so many opioids or a combination of opioids and other drugs in the body, that a person becomes unresponsive to stimulation or is unable to breath. The kits pictured below could save the life of someone who has overdosed. And Naloxone can reverse opioid overdoses if administered quickly.
Instructor Kathy Reddington says, “I’m not sticking to a strict schedule and I will train stragglers until 1:00. If any one comes to the Resource Tent who has not registered, I’ll train them. It is really important that these kits get into the community, there are programs for high schools and police stations in the area. And UFAM is a great opportunity for us to educate a large audience.”
Mark has performed in all 50 states and 10 foreign countries. From world-renowned musicians, heads of state, fortune 500 companies to rehabilitation centers and convicted felons, Mark has truly entertained on the world’s stage.
He’s appeared on Comedy Central, Showtime, A&E, CBS, and NBC. Mark wrote and performed his own one-man show off-Broadway in New York City reaching critical acclaim, and in his spare time created the now staple DVD series ‘Humor in Treatment’ and the Recovery Board Game.
On June 2nd last year, a thousand plus recovery advocates gathered on the lawn of the state capital building in Lansing, Michigan. It was the inaugural rally for, Unite to Face Addiction Michigan (UFAM). UFAM is a non-profit organization, established to alert lawmakers about the unique needs of the 23 million people in recovery in the United States. UFAM’s mission is to create strength in unity; eliminate the stigma of addiction; improve access to treatment; support prevention; and promote recovery through advocacy, education and outreach.
The UFAM Mission…
Last year, Unite to Face Addiction Michigan brought together people from all walks of the recovery world: treatment centers; recovery allies; people in recovery; addiction professionals; law makers; educators and specialty groups.
Speakers included Craig DeRoche, former Michigan Speaker of the House and person in long term recovery; Judge Jodi Debbrecht Switalksi, a Senior Advisor at the Stuntman Group and advocate on addiction, who encouraged the crowd to get out and “do something” in order to promote change; and rally organizer Scott Masi from Brighton Center for Recovery.
2017 is Bigger and Better
With hashtags like #strengthinunity, #togetherwecan and #silentnomore, UFAM is showcasing its collaborative effort this year. Organizations from all over the state, Michigan lawmakers, and private individuals have been instrumental in organizing this year’s rally. UFAM is dedicated to unifying the voices of the millions of Michigan citizens impacted by addiction. As well as give a voice to the many organizations working to change the way addiction is perceived and treated in our state.
Holistic Tent with Yoga, Acupuncture, Reiki Therapy and much more!
Some of the many Speakers and Performers…
Mark Lundholm – Acclaimed Comedian and Motivational Speaker
Craig DeRoche – National Director Justice Fellowshipember
John Schinholser – Director of McShin Foundation, Virginia
Judge Jodi Switalksi – National Advocate Stutman Group
Michael King – National Organization Facing Addiction
Matt Butler – Musician, Generation Found Documentary
Tommy “Gunz” Kraus – Artist, Recovery Unplugged
Judge Clinton Canady – Ingham County Circuit Court
RISE Recovery Community, Recovery Performance
The UFAM Goal for 2017
And the rally’s chief organizer and founder Scott Masi says, “This year we want the Untied to Face Addiction Michigan rally to be a platform for everything being done in the state to advocate for addiction and recovery. Sure, we want to stage an entertaining, successful rally. But our primary goal is to educate and create awareness at the state level. And we want to showcase the family perspectives on addiction – parent to child and child to parent. I could not be happier with the response I have gotten from those organizations and individuals who have stepped up to help. There is truly strength in unity. And strength in this amazing collaborative effort.”
Join us at the capital building in Lansing, Michigan!