Community enjoys a day of community engagement at Tracy Park



PORTSMOUTH – Community Engagement Day 2021 took place at Tracy Park on Friday, September 25, 2021.

The event was held to reach the homeless and those in need in the community. There were open tents set up in the park and each tent had free things or services to offer to those in attendance. The event took place from 10:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

One of the tents set up was Ascend Counseling and Recovery Services – an outpatient treatment provider dedicated to a holistic, evidence-based treatment pathway for substance use disorders and mental health disorders.

“We have an inpatient and outpatient program, we are able to provide information to anyone who needs help,” said Michelle Newman. “We can call them or go through the program and help them with what they need. Whether it’s with the court or whatever they need, we do some liaison work, whatever we can do to offer our help and support.

Another tent set up was Hopesource, which offers residential, individual and group treatment and counseling. The organization is a provider of mental health and addiction treatment in Portsmouth, Ohio – a team of professionals dedicated to providing quality care.

“I provide services for our women’s transitional life as well as for residences,” said Tracey Hairston-Peer Specialist with Hopesours. “We have houses for men and women, we have residences and transitions for men and women, as well as outpatient consultations. “

Yvonne Hale with Operation Grace was also present and she said that whatever food they didn’t donate for the event, they would give it to Operation Grace. “We will find people who need food and donate it to them. We continue to receive donations from businesses and some individuals. We help schools with things like personal hygiene items and things like coats that are donated by the state of Ohio and we donate over 500 coats during the winter.

Speaking to Jeff Swords, court administrator and chief probation officer at Scioto County Juvenile Court with Judge Alan Lemons, he said they were here on Friday to help feed the needy and homeless .

“This is the third year that we have been doing this, so we hope for a good turnout, the weather is wonderful. What we are trying to do here is let people know that we are there for them and for the community and let them know about the resources that are here in County Scioto for the homeless, the needy, for detox, ”Swords said. “We are not only, when you think of court, you might think of not so good things, but we are there for people and changing lives.”

Justice Alan Lemons wanted the DailyTimes to speak with one of the young men who went through his drug court program, Jonathan Blevins, who went through family reunification (drugs) court.

“The big advantage for me was the responsibility. When I think I have things under control, it’s when my addictive thinking gets me into trouble. I didn’t think I had anyone in my corner, ”Blevins said. “I thought I was doing this on my own and with the group of people I met who were there for me emotionally and physically, as long as things were sorted out and getting me back and involved in my children’s lives was unbelievable.” He said he was in trouble and should have gone to jail, but with the drug court he now works for the counseling center and has temporary custody of his four children and is preparing to return to front. the court for full custody.

Lemons also shared his thoughts on the event.

“We just had this idea of ​​feeding the homeless, because I give penalties, if they don’t do exactly the right thing in the drug court, they are punished and it’s community service. for them to serve the food, ”Lemons said.

He also explained how Dennis DeCamp from the Ohio State Extension Office helped organize this event. The event was created by Swords and Lemons. Swords added that they had a ton of great sponsors for the event which also made that possible.

“We did it in July before, but it was so hot, so we think doing it in the fall is probably best.” He added of the day: “I have never been thanked so much as to be here and with these people.”

These ladies from Ascend, (left to right) Kaitlin Mingus and Michelle Newman were on hand at the event to reach out to the audience and let them know what services were available to anyone in need of assistance.

(left to right) Dennis DeCamp-Ohio State Extention Office, Judge Alan Lemon, and Jeff Swords-Chief Probation Officer for Scioto County Juvenile Court.

This young woman drew caricatures for anyone who wanted their caricature done. There was a queue to do it and what a treat it was!

Some of the tents set up for Community Engagement Day. You can see the catering table set up as everyone had a meal while they were present.

Join Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928

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