At our annual Homecoming in September, a giant of a man named Richard hugged me and whispered into my ear, “Ashley saved my life.” At Sunday Mass on November 19, 2017 a visitor celebrating one year of sobriety stood up and through her tears of joy proclaimed, “You saved my life.” Every time I hear a current patient, an alum or a family member say “YOU SAVED MY LIFE” I am reminded of our brand promise, Everything for recovery because recovery is everything!
The gift of recovery is a wonderful and joyous thing and I am inspired each and every time I see that gift bestowed upon another.
As we move through the holidays and into the new year, I am thrilled by the opportunities the Ashley organization has to continue to grow, and to save more lives. Rebecca J. Flood will join us on January 2nd as our new president and CEO, and I will move into the position of Chief Mission and Legacy Officer. In this role, I will walk in the footsteps of Father Martin, providing spiritual support to the entire Ashley community, and perpetuating the rich legacy of our co-founders, Father Martin and Mae Abraham.
Becky and I are wholly committed to this legacy of treatment with dignity and compassion. But even more than that, we believe in putting compassion into action. This is something that is demonstrated here every day in miraculous and inspiring ways. It comes from our drivers, who are often patients’ first contact and their personal chauffeurs while in treatment, offering an amazing expression of hospitality, warmth and welcome; and from our grounds keepers, housekeeping, support services and maintenance staff who work tirelessly to maintain an environment that creates beauty, gives love and helps people find peace. It comes from our counseling, nursing and medical staff, and from our kitchen and dietary teams – and from everyone in between!
I could go on and on. Every day I am fortunate enough to witness great kindness, abundant empathy, and heartfelt compassion in action. And all of this extends to our alumni, donors, families and friends as well, who continue to remind us that Ashley is a place with purpose.
In this season of giving, I encourage all of you to share the gift of recovery with those closest to you. And I sincerely thank you for being a special part of the Ashley family.
Best wishes to you and yours this holiday,
Fr. Mark Hushen, O.S.F.S.
Ashley’s Newest Additions – The Fab 5
The Young Adult Extended Care program at Ashley recently received a gift from a wonderful donor in the form of… goats! They traveled to us all the way from Split Creek Farm in Anderson, SC to bring hope and unconditional love to the young men in the program.
The goats, known collectively as “the Fab 5,” were donated to our YAEC program to teach young men coming through about responsibility and caring for another being besides themselves. And Bubba, Oliver, Prize, Walter, and Smudge, will most importantly give the men unconditional love, companionship and purpose. The young men in the program will be responsible for daily feedings, upkeep and fun activities such as goat yoga.
Sandra C., an employee of Split Creek Farm and an Ashley alumna, delivered the goats personally to Ashley and stayed to help get them acquainted with their new surroundings. Sandra has been at Split Creek for two years now and in an interview with Independent Mail said, “It was the weirdest, craziest thing. The goats helped me get my soul back. I was dead — I was dead inside.”
The Ashley Young Adult Extended Care program is recommended to young adult males ages 18 – 25 who have successfully completed our campus-based, 28-day residential treatment program. Through innovative clinical modalities, training in life skills, and 12-step recovery immersion, we motivate and guide young men to become strong, active family and community members.
Housed in a supervised, community-based living space, the program provides the tools and knowledge needed to help make the transition to a substance free life.
Thank you to Split Creek Farm for giving our Young Adult Extended Care men the opportunity to learn and grow in their time at Ashley through caring for the Fab 5.
The end of the year is a wonderful time to celebrate the Gift of Recovery and consider our year-end charitable contributions. Watch your mailbox for a letter from Ashley telling the story of Brittany, a recovering heroin addict and a graduate of Ashley’s Young Adult Program. Brittany recently celebrated her one year anniversary and is doing really well. She has a part time job, she’s going to school to be a graphic designer, and she has renewed her relationships with her parents and siblings.
But the most amazing thing about Brittany is that she contacted us to ask what SHE COULD DO TO HELP! Here was this extraordinary young woman who, just a little over a year ago, had nothing – no hope, no opportunity, and no resources – and she was offering her help. Stories like Brittany’s inspire and remind us of the promise we make each day: “Everything for recovery, because recovery is everything!”
Please consider sending back the reply card in your letter and make your tax-deductible gift to Ashley. Or visit our donation page at www.AshleyTreatment.org/donate.
Another smart and simple way to support Ashley while doing your online holiday shopping (and throughout the year) is with Amazon Smile. Just visit smile.amazon.com and select Ashley Inc as your favorite charitable organization. Amazon will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the Ashley Scholarship Fund.
Since 2008, Ashley has provided more than $27 million in financial assistance to those in need. It is with your help and contribution that we are able to help those suffering find their way back to health and happiness.
We could not be more grateful for your support!
In this season of giving, the Ashley Alumni & Community Services team would like to share an example of the kinds of miracles we often experience here at Ashley. Several years ago, we established a tradition to bring real festive spirit to the patient community members spending the holidays in our care.
On Christmas night, following a special holiday dinner, the entire community, staff members and volunteers on campus assemble in Abraham Hall for a Patient Holiday Gift Exchange. Last year, fully 100 patients participated, with an amazing array of gifts being opened, claimed and then re-claimed, in a white elephant exchange format.
The warmth, joy and humor were palpable, as the patients took a few hours away from their normal schedules and opened gifts ranging from leather-bound journals; hats, gloves and scarves; coloring books and assorted art supplies; and many more. One fashionable yet practical wool scarf changed hands at least 5 times! It’s chilly on campus in late December!
A few months following the event, we received a letter from a grateful alumnus who thanked us for pulling the event together, and said, “I was feeling bad about being in treatment and away from my family during the holidays. The gift exchange cheered me up and reminded me of why I was there. I am so grateful!”
The alum included a generous donation toward the Ashley Scholarship Fund and asked us to please continue the tradition. We promise!
Other activities keeping the Alumni & Community Services team busy are Strengthening Our Recovery speaking events in December in Wilmington, DE and Plymouth Meeting, PA. And in January, we’ll be in Annapolis and Washington, DC! Look for us in a town near you in the months ahead!
Finally, our next Recovery Enrichment Day (RED) is set for Saturday, January 20th. Join us for an interactive presentation entitled, Connect. Release. Rejoice!! A revolutionary approach to recovery through mindfulness movement!
Registration is required for RED events, so please visit our website at www.AshleyTreatment.org/events for information on all of our programs and activities. We hope to see you out there!