Affirming the effectiveness of peer-driven support services for individuals in recovery from substance-use disorders, Spectrum staff members serving as the directors of two peer recovery support centers were recently recognized by well-respected organizations at both the state and national levels with awards for their contributions.

faris_haddon_brown2Athena Haddon, director of Everyday Miracles, a peer recovery support center hosted by Spectrum Health Systems in downtown Worcester, Massachusetts, was on the red carpet in Los Angeles to receive a national award from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for her work with individuals with trauma histories and addiction. In August, Haddon was one of five Consumer/Peer Leaders in the country to receive a 2011 SAMHSA Voice Award. The Voice Awards convenes representatives from the entertainment industry and the behavioral health community for an evening of education awareness about the societal contributions of people living with behavioral health issues.

"I love having an impact on people," says Haddon. "I talk with a lot of people who are in early recovery, some who just relapsed and some who are still using but trying to get clean. These guys don't trust easily, but they know they can be brutally honest with me. I never judge and I'll still be here even if they're not ready yet."

Haddon's powerful impact in the community can be seen in her organizational efforts for the Worcester Cares About Recovery Walk & Celebration, held September 17th this year. Nearly 1,000 people participated in a successful day-long event aimed at supporting substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery in the community.

dalessio_bigby2On October 21st, Angela Dalessio, director of The Recovery Connection, a peer recovery support center hosted by Spectrum in downtown Marlborough, Massachusetts, will receive the Moe Armstrong Award for Peer Leadership at the Association for Behavioral Healthcare's (ABH) annual Salute to Excellence event. The ABH is the leading advocacy organization in Massachusetts' mental health and addiction services arena.

"It's an honor to be recognized by the ABH," says Dalessio. "It's important to recognize that it's the members who own this center. Without their hard work volunteering and their dedication to recovery, The Recovery Connection would not exist," she adds.

"Athena and Angela don't just walk the walk, they talk the talk," says Spectrum Health Systems President & CEO Charles Faris, adding, "They are role models for all of us."

Spectrum's two peer recover support centers were established in 2008 under a contract from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Abuse Services. The centers provide a safe and welcoming place within the community where individuals can obtain peer support from others who are also in recovery.

Spectrum Health Systems, Inc. is a private, nonprofit substance abuse treatment and mental health service organization with corporate headquarters in Worcester, Massachusetts. Spectrum currently operates more than 110 treatment programs in community and institutional settings throughout Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland, Georgia, Tennessee, Iowa and Washington State.

Andrew Strecker, Development Associate 
(508) 792-5400 x7113

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