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Embracing change. Empowering futures.

The Magic of Christmas

At this time of the year, I am always in awe of the spirit of generosity that blankets The Center for Great Expectations, and the sense of gratitude that fills its residents.

It’s Time to Go Inside

In the northern hemisphere, it’s the time of year when we move from light to dark, from the radiating, outward energy of the summer sun to the reflective, inner realm of the winter moon. Earlier and earlier each day, I find myself calling out to my children in the yard, “It’s time to go inside!” In some communities, we see candles in pumpkins, lights strung on porches and tables prepared for harvest gatherings. As the days draw short, we find ways to bring light to the long dark days.

Getting a Headstart

CGE’s Early Relational Health Specialists refer children over three to our local Head Start Program, informing clients of the program’s many benefits available to them as they transition back into the community.

Recovery Month Reflection

A stone ceremony is a tradition that CGE has established to honor a mother’s time in our care. Each stone has a different message: Heal; Serenity; Love; Let go; Breathe; Wisdom; Inspire; Pray; Imagine; Pause; Faith; Relax; Trust.

You again? The stigma of addiction I experienced firsthand.

Stigma is defined as “a mark of disgrace or infamy.” The stigma of addiction – or the mark of disgrace or infamy associated with this brain disease – stems from negative attitudes towards people coping with substance use disorders. This discrimination comes from institutions, like treatment centers and hospitals as well as from family, friends and the general public who openly express their negative attitudes, thoughts and actions towards people living with the disease of addiction.

It’s 2022. Why are minorities still finding it hard to receive adequate mental health care?

July is National Minority Mental Health Month. And it’s time those of us who are not a part of the minority community recognize the barriers this population faces when seeking quality mental health treatment.

Lack of insurance. Lack of diversity among providers. Limited understanding of the different mental health needs across minority groups. Cultural insensitivities. All if these issues contribute to the lack of quality mental health care. Now add the stigma associated with seeking treatment for mental health issues and you start to see why minority communities are experiencing adverse mental health outcomes and increased suicides.

Using music to heal.

Sitting in a church graveyard using drugs, this particular CGE client would tell herself over and over that tomorrow would be different. That thought she said, “Kept her alive.”

Love with limits.

Room searches suck, to put it bluntly. They can feel intrusive and invasive. And can be anxiety-provoking for staff and clients alike. So we try to do them as minimally as possible. But when there is reported contraband in the house, they happen.

Like spring, our Stone Ceremony is a sign of renewal.

Encouraging words are spoken. Laughs are shared. Tears are shed. Our Stone Ceremony is a deeply moving and powerful moment for CGE’s graduating residents.

This special celebration is held whenever someone is ready to leave our women’s residential program. The clinical staff, the graduating resident, her peers, family members, sponsor and anyone else the graduate feels is part of her circle of support is invited to be there.

Build Back Better Maternal Health Provisions

The Build Back Better Maternal health provisions are long overdue and eagerly anticipated. Several organizations have formed in an effort to combat the rates of maternal mortality in our country—and, as noted in the Call to Action, they are among the highest in the developed world, and are especially high among Black and Native American women, regardless of income or education. New Jersey is ranked 47th in maternal deaths—or third worst in the nation.

Surrounded by friends. Yet still feeling engulfed by darkness.

“Why?” That’s always the first question. “Why did she do it?” “Why didn’t she go get help?” “Why didn’t she tell anyone she was hurting?” That’s often followed by “How”. “How did we not know she was in trouble? “How could nobody have known she was so sad”? “How could someone so young, so beautiful, so accomplished, so special have chosen to end her own life?” Then of course, “What”, usually comes next. “What did we miss?” “What could we have done?” “What do we do now?”

Santa Has His Elves. CGE Has Its Volunteers.

Santa has his elves and CGE, its volunteers. All are known for their hard work and dedication. Our volunteers make it possible for this season to indeed be “the most wonderful time of year” for clients and residents in all programs across CGE’s continuum of care.

Bringing ARC to Life at CGE

We know that trauma impacts development; CGE uses the ARC model (Attachment, Regulation, Competency) as an integral part of our Trauma C.A.R.E model. Developed by Margaret Blaustein and Christine Kinniburgh, ARC is a framework designed for intervention with youth and families who have experienced complex trauma.


Wrapping Up Wellness Week!

National Wellness Week is September 11-17. This initiative was launched utilizing the “Eight Dimensions of Wellness,” established by Dr. Peggy Swarbrick, Associate Director at Rutgers’ Center of Alcohol & Substance Use Studies and Research Professor, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology.

Recovery is Possible.

Recovery Month is a national observance held every September to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the emergence of a strong and proud recovery community, and the dedication of service providers and community members across the nation who make recovery in all its forms possible.