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Mark Helijas
Executive Director
mhelijas@secondwindfound.org

Sheila Young
Willow Grove Director
syoung@secondwindfound.org


Mission


Our mission is to advance recovery from addiction and addictive behavior. We offer recovery support services, education and advocacy for social, cultural and health care parity with other illnesses.

Our focus is on peer support, because of its effectiveness, affordability and sustainability. Our efforts are inclusive. We support a variety of recovery services by filling the gaps among existing programs as well as providing our own.

We seek to foster an environment in which people with addictive illness are accepted, treated and supported as any other patient, whether in a hospital, workplace, neighborhood or home.

Premise

Addiction and addictive behaviors permeate our society in every neighborhood, in every community and at every socio-economic level, causing immeasurable damage that affects us all.

Progress in accepting the nature and the extent of this crisis has been made. Addiction is increasingly understood to be a chronic condition, and recovery is finding its way into the mainstream of American life. While recovery-intensive events such as in- or out-patient treatment continue to play a critical initial role, and often help transition patients into Alcoholics Anonymous and other recovery programs for the long term, treatment is, by its nature, time-limited.

Recovery is a lifetime.

Happily, recovery can be the basis for a very good lifetime, and a key component in successful recovery is peer support. Peer support is effective, and ultimately necessary for long-term recovery. Peer support is affordable, and peer support is sustainable.

The Second Wind Foundation —once known as the Upper Valley Substance Abuse Foundation— seeks to develop, improve and expand the availability of programs that advance recovery by making use of the unique experience of people who are in recovery themselves, in cooperation with a variety of recovery programs, as well as medical, social services and corrections professionals.


History

The Second Wind Foundation has its roots in the original Turning Point Club, which was established in 1992 as a place for Alcoholics Anonymous members to meet, and gather between meetings, at the Tip Top Building in White River Junction, before that building’s renovation, and White River’s overall renewal and resurgence of growth.

In 1998, a manager was hired at the Turning Point who had the idea of making it more inclusive. A variety of recovery groups were approached, and soon larger quarters were needed in order to handle growing demand. Funds were raised which allowed the Turning Point to be moved to newly renovated space within the Tip Top Building, which included a large meeting room, kitchen, library, lounge area, pool table, small office, and eventually, a few public access computers.
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Use of the Turning Point continued to grow, and the concept was taken to the State House, which resulted in the formation of the Vermont Recovery Centers Network in 2002. Eleven Turning Point centers now operate throughout Vermont; in Bennington, Brattleboro, Springfield, Rutland, White River, Middlebury, Barre, Burlington, Morrisville, St. Albans and St. Johnsbury.

In 2004, Willow Grove, a women’s transitional housing facility, was established in Wilder, Vermont, to extend support to 24 hours a day for women in early recovery, a particularly vulnerable group. The goal of the Willow Grove program is for residents to strengthen the foundation of their recovery and move toward independent, productive lives.

In 2005, Mark Helijas, Executive Director of the Second Wind Foundation, was one of eight national recipients of the Johnson Institute’s “America Honors Recovery” award, at a ceremony in which his work in expanding the potential of the Turning Point, nurturing the Vermont Recovery Centers Network, and establishing Willow Grove were celebrated at the National Press Club.

In 2007 New York State established its own recovery centers network, modeled on Vermont’s, which was the first statewide recovery centers network in the nation, and to the best of our knowledge, remains the most extensive.


Status

The Upper Valley Turning Point—which was relocated to the Wilder/Norwich border in the summer of 2008, as a result of a need for more parking space—has become a community center for people in recovery and their families, providing a place where those with substance abuse, addiction or addictive behaviors can find fellowship and support among peers throughout the day and evening, in addition to attending meetings of various recovery groups.

Willow Grove has become a model of effective, affordable and sustainable transitional housing in Vermont, providing case management and peer support in a family atmosphere.

Vision

Second Wind's vision for the future includes additional Willow Grove locations, each convenient to a local Turning Point Center, in order to expand around-the-clock access to peer support for women early recovery, plus transitional housing for men as well, in a manner that’s effective, affordable —for those afflicted, those providing services, and society as a whole—and sustainable.


The Second Wind Foundation
200 Olcott Drive, White River Junction, VT 05001 • (802) 295-5206