Each month, our team of PAARI Recovery Corps Members share a short write up of the month’s activities. We’re pleased to share Elizabeth Ma’s write up for June 2020 to give you an inside look of what it’s like to be a Recovery Corps Member, especially during COVID-19. Elizabeth is serving as a Program Development VISTA with New Bedford Police Department in Massachusetts.
June 2020: Rewarding Month
During the month of June, I was finally able to go back into serving at the police department and continue my service to better help my community, after teleserving for a few months due to COVID-19. During times of quarantine, it was hard to reach the at-risk individuals suffering from substance use disorders. As a way to make sure they were aware that we have not forgotten about them, I continued outreaching Monday-Friday to try to connect with individuals and assure them that there is help available. We also made phone calls to check up on their status and well-being. Also during the month of June, I put together communication plans, multimedia visual aids and other educational materials to expand community awareness, engagement, and participation. My hard work has been paying off since a trifold that I put together in June for the department has been finalized and published.
Being back and present at my host site encouraged me to do even more for the community because I did not have the ability to do so while teleserving. The opportunity to go back to outreaching in the community has allowed people to know we’re still here for them and we will serve them the information they need to help overcome their fight with substance use disorders. The ability to report back to my host police department enables more opportunities to expand my capacity to provide help and support to individuals who are suffering. My commitment and determination to serve the community and my host police department is more than I can ask for in my personal and professional development, and to me, it is more than just due diligence. I have learned that no matter what hardships arise and what obstacles I may face, motivation and passion will get me through it.
In the month of June, I helped more than 50 individuals indirectly and directly through outreach, check up phone calls, distributed NARCAN and fentanyl test strips, trainings, and wellness education and resource services. I gave out 34 fentanyl test strips kits and we also added the masks that were given to us by PAARI’s Program Manager Vanessa, who is in charge of the fentanyl test strip pilot project. Those masks were a huge hit! I also distributed 16 cases of NARCAN to the public.
During difficult times, it is beyond incredible to have a team that is always committed to helping others at any means necessary. When I was asked to share one piece of advice to pass down to new Recovery Corps members, it would be that no matter what life throws at you, your commitment to serve your community will help you overcome it.
Check out our other Recovery Corps members who are working to make a difference in their communities every day. You can also learn more about our Recovery Corps program and see all currently open positions here.