As it approaches its second anniversary as a national grassroots advocacy organization, fast-growing Young People in Recovery (YPR) has embarked on a partnership that it believes will fortify its goal of creating “recovery-ready” communities, as well as place larger sources of financial support within reach.
YPR leaders learned at week's end that the organization has affiliated with the Association of Recovery Schools, in a move that officially took effect Oct. 9. Both organizations will retain their status as separate nonprofits with their current leadership teams, which makes this arrangement different from a previously considered YPR merger with Faces & Voices of Recovery that was shelved late last year.
In an interview with Addiction Professional, YPR president and CEO Justin Luke Riley said the prior talks with Faces & Voices, which he said may have reflected a case of trying to be too bold too fast, served to inform the more recent discussions with the Association of Recovery Schools, which provides resources and best-practice guidance to recovery high schools.
Riley adds that YPR continues to work on numerous joint projects with Faces & Voices, and even suggests that discussions of a closer partnership between the two organizations could be resurrected in the future.
An Oct. 16 communication to YPR leaders about the affiliation with the Association of Recovery Schools states, “This partnership will improve the recovery landscape for young people across the country by increasing the capacity of both organizations to more efficiently and strategically serve the needs of young people and create recovery-ready communities.” YPR defines recovery-ready communities as those with ample access to employment, housing, education and other resources for individuals who are emerging in their recovery.
Riley says Young People in Recovery has seen striking growth since incorporating in November 2013. The organization now has around 80 chapters across the country, more than 700 members, and more than 4,000 supporters not in recovery who simply want to play a role in a recovery-focused movement. “There has never been a place for caring community members to put a flag in the ground,” he says.
YPR currently has a budget of around $1.5 million. It secured the largest grant in its brief history over the summer when South Florida-based Life of Purpose, which operates the only residential treatment facility on a college campus in the country (at Florida Atlantic University in Palm Beach County), awarded it a $1 million gift. In an arrangement separate to the unrestricted gift, YPR will be implementing its Evidence-Based, Peer-Delivered, Individually Focused and Community-Based (E.P.I.C.) program at Life of Purpose's current and planned facilities; Life of Purpose is getting ready to open a new center in Texas.
“We have a curriculum inside a treatment center that allows clients to be hearing the message of recovery even before they leave treatment,” says Riley. “They're not just stepping into an abyss when they're in treatment.” In addition, “They will be getting a YPR coach for a minimum of 90 days upon discharge,” he says.
While YPR's mission focuses largely on nurturing recovery resources in communities, Riley says treatment also constitutes an important part of the organization's agenda. “For those in active addiction, we have a huge role there,” he says. “Our chapters play a triage role,” in helping desperate families find appropriate treatment resources for a loved one.
Under the newly announced affiliation agreement, YPR will offer the Association of Recovery Schools day-to-day administrative support, while it will have access to the recovery school organization's professional expertise. Riley believes that by joining forces, the organizations will receive a significant boost in their ability to secure support from larger donors who are committed to their mission.