Oct 4, 2013 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff WriterThe facility is now operated by the Volunteers of America -- Northern Rockies.
Three months and two days after a signed agreement merged the Volunteers of America-Northern Rockies organization with the Fremont County Alcohol Crisis Center, the facility is now officially the Center of Hope.
During a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday, the center celebrated not only the change of name and improvements to the facility, but also the new services to be provided now that new team members have joined the program.
"(There will be) a philosophical adjustment to the services offered here," said Todd Richins, division director of the VOA --Northern Rockies.
He said the center will focus on more social interactions like group talks, clinical evaluations, assessments and physical and mental exercises in an effort to help people transition to sobriety.
"We're bringing people together; (they) need guidance," Northern Arapaho tribal elder John Goggles told ceremony attendees before blessing the center. "We can do it; it can be done."
Ron Blumenshine, who was a FCACC board member for 12 years, expressed optimism about the changes.
"They've enhanced everything," he said of the VOA group. "We're trying to get out of that revolving door."
Richins said the changes will help staff identify the level of care each client needs in a shorter amount of time. He said his group already has referred five individuals to treatment centers since the July merger. In the past, five referrals would account for a year's worth of work at the FCACC.
He hopes the work will affect the population for years to come.
"If we can change lives, we can change generations," Holsinger said.
'Share the commitment'
Mayor Ron Warpness commended the functionality of the program before it became the Center of Hope.
"They held the line for years in a very professional manner," Warpness said.
Fremont County Commissioner Keja Whiteman also commended the group's work in the past.
"I want to thank the staff for planting the trees in this community," she said.
Jeff Holsinger, president and chief executive officer of VOA --Northern Rockies, said his board wants to "share the commitment" to serving people in Riverton.
"There was passion, there was love, there was interest in saving lives," he said of board discussions. "We cannot do this alone; it's a community endeavor."
He thanked the city, county and state for funding help, and he acknowledged others who have contributed their ideas, time and services to improvements at the new center.
On the inside of the building at 223 W. Adams Ave., walls have been extended, glass windows have been installed, work stations and computer systems have been updated, two new officers have been added and a full-time clinician has joined the team. Merle Yellow Kidney is the center's new director.
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