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The Story

Scott has been working for GTB for four years and has nearly 15 years of sobriety after decades of lived experiences that contribute to his ability to help the tribal community. Scott is distinguished as a national trainer who trains other peer recovery support specialists across the United States, he has been recognized for his passion and efforts as a Peer Recovery Coach for the GTB community (both locally and nationally), and the recovery community at large. Scott has persevered through challenging times with significant departmental change, including the covid pandemic and adapting to virtual and alternative methods of contact; four management changes in four short years; and severe staff shortages, including currently having no counselors on staff in-house. When GTB lost several counselors due to the competitive market in Northern Michigan, Scott was able to adapt and find creative solutions to meet the needs of clients and the significant increase in the need for peer mentorship and advocacy for those in recovery. Scott has been instrumental in developing options for outsourcing services, creating partnerships and collaborations, and finding local community resources to provide continuity of care for his clients. Scott's ability to pivot through adversity has proven his dedication to the tribal community and his strong desire to make a difference in the healing and wellness of the community, one client at a time. As the Peer Recovery Coach with many years of lived experience, Scott understands the need, and has found solutions to persevere through a less than ideal situation. Scott has been able to facilitate opportunities of collaboration and partnership with Addiction Treatment Services in Traverse City for a wide variety of outpatient services and has developed a strong relationship with Seven Arrows Recovery in Arizona for inpatient treatment, which provides a strong cultural component to the healing of GTB tribal members. Scott has also initiated collaborations with other recovery agencies and resources to ensure continued quality services for clients despite the internal staff shortages. Scott's reputation has allowed him access to county jails, that have otherwise been closed to outside visitors since the covid pandemic, which has allowed him access to clients and provided opportunities to coordinate intake assessments and referrals for clients going to inpatient treatment in lieu of incarceration. Scott's advocacy in sending several of his clients to Seven Arrows Recovery inpatient treatment facility is now buzzing through the six county courtrooms with judges and prosecutors seeing the success of GTB clients who have been through treatment, who have demonstrated a decrease in recidivism rates and having a higher success rate of achieving a sustained lifestyle of recovery. GTB is fortunate to have Scott as part of the Behavioral Health team; the GTB community is fortunate to have a Peer Recovery Coach whose passion is to promote awareness and healing; as the department manager, I am fortunate to have an employee so willing to adjust to the everchanging employment challenges without missing a beat. 

Having only been with the organization for a year, my historical knowledge is somewhat limited, however, the current staffing situation is unprecedented, in that GTB currently does not have any in-house counselors on staff, and the Behavioral Health Department only has three employees: an Office Coordinator, a Prevention Specialist, and a Peer Recovery Coach. Despite the staffing challenge, in the last year, the community events relative to peer recovery, advocacy, prevention, and awareness have included: Jump into Spring (held at each of the satellite offices), serving 53 members; Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP) event, serving 112 participants; Community Dance, 138 participants; Sobriety Camp Out, 100 participants; Michigan Adventure collaboration day with Youth Services, 316 participants; Addiction Treatment Services Recovery Month Porch-a-Palooza collaboration day, roughly 250 participants; Annual Membership Meeting, with approximately 300 in attendance; Community Readiness Plan, with 15 collaborators; local drug coalition advocacy meetings with more than 12 other community organizations; hosting and facilitating community trainings such as Mental Health First Aid, Adult Life Skills, Suicide Prevention, Naloxone Administration; cultural crafting events; Traditional Healer Appointments, Meet & Greet events, and Sweat Lodge Ceremonies, with hundreds of members utilizing these cultural activities; Powwow and Round Dance events with more than a thousand in attendance. And, most recently, GTB Peer Recovery is creating a recovery podcast, Reservation Conversation, to provide a digital resource that is relevant, relatable, and accessible to the entire tribal community. 

Scott, the GTB Peer Recovery Coach, is a strong advocate for recovery starting at home, on the rez, and branching out to the greater local area, collaborating with other in-state tribes, and searching for ways to make a greater impact through connections with leaders on the local and state level. Scott is preparing to attend an event in the state capital in May for recovery advocacy, meeting with state representatives and discussing the drastic increase in drug crisis impacting the community. Through his peer recovery efforts, Scott is working to reduce the number of mothers who must bury their child, or children who lose their parent by bringing awareness to the drug crisis plaguing our country by providing resources, prevention, mentorship, and hope.

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