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03-26 7:30 am Community Matters

Mar 26, 2017|

WWL’s Monica Pierre discusses various community projects and services that benefit the infrastructure of Greater New Orleans.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Good Sunday and welcome to the show thank you so much for joining. The Monica thing here on the one of the biggest disservice to our culture. How can you know people suffering from addiction and. Details on how one organization is nothing goes directly impacted by addiction. If families and the public face. And her designation as an organization nationally is we're trying to give you introduce. Program that. From the gulf war on first he's youth of golf and she's the lives of young people. The numbers are alarming reportedly more than 45 million Americans and their families are directly impacted in some way by addiction. So how we bring together the best resource is in the field. To reduce the human and social costs of addiction are joined by Greg Williams is an award winning filmmaker and a recovery leader. Craig is in New Orleans just the few days ago he spoke to the residents of brick house Gray's house about recovery. Greg thank you for being with this morning Monica thank you for having me. The numbers are alarming so why so many people impacting it yet. Addiction is one of our country's leading public health crisis certainly the folks down here in Louisiana. You know at first hand. In down I think addictions been around for very long time to alcohol and other drugs. Over twenty million today. Are suffering and over 23 million earn recovery. And you know it's it's a hard thing to know exactly why that numbers so high. And but we know that that one in three households are impacted and and it doesn't just impact the individuals with the families and communities and so I think that's the part. That we all need to work hard that it to try to solvent and build a better system for people. My observation has been that perhaps. Now we've pulled the cover off Ali no longer fooling ourselves as to who is. A impacted by addiction we know we had this idea or head that it was those are the people. But now we are realizing it's her coworker it's brother is our sister. It's us do you think that that has happened that we're re coming face to face with the reality of who is impacted by addiction. Yeah I think it is for years. You know we had some media messaging and in the 1970s and 1980s that. They're really painted a picture. You know who is a person who's impacted by addiction. And and who is who is not in and it certainly divided. People's perception of of that as well is also associate the word criminal with the word addict and and I think that's really. One of the biggest disservice to our culture and our communities that that's ever happened is the notion that. That people suffering from addiction are criminals and that is just not true it's people suffering from health conditions surgeon general released the first ever report. Last year long overdue for it. Now we have the surgeon general the United States declaring that this is. A top public health crisis in and a chronic disease of the brain not. Not a personality flaw are character flaw so I think coming to understand that people understanding the science and research. Is really important in understanding that. 70% of people. With addiction are employed. And and so are a lot of our public perception is is is willfully wrong. You spoke to the residents of bridge house grace house about recovery what was your message. It was wonderful I a got to speak to about eighty men at bridge house. The other night in and it was saddened. You know really fun for me I got to tell my own recovery story which is as a person in recovery path from seventeen I'm blessed to. Has entered recovery at seventeen and also sustain my recovery. I'm lucky to be alive I mean I really believe that I mean I buried. 56 friends in my first five or six years a recovery and and it's down this is the really had a blessing to be alive and have a purpose today is of trying to help other people in and carry a message and the best part of that deny it was Dan have a conversation with with people down here don't live in New Orleans and from. Up north and didn't get around Connecticut embracing them earlier. Bad pass a so so it was great to can hear from them. What is their challenges with the community what what are some of the system issues that they're facing in in the recovery journeys as the recovery journeys are just beginning. And that we had a great dialogue with its great questions and answers and and it's it's a very spiritual place they have a wonderful spirit there of recovery in the staff was was absolutely wonderful. We're joined by Greg Williams co-founder and vice president of facing addiction began to talk about that a little bit more about his recovery journey. And this really impacts so many people. Grade you talked about a little bit about your recovery journey so what is facing addiction all about. Facing addiction is is a national organization trying to fill. The vacuum that for further this issue. Of having. That one place to go with trusted information resources linking. Lots of community partners like bridge has praised house is one of 500. National action partners across the country. The just like and far in American heart in American cancer. Everybody knows with those other health conditions kind of if your family and member gets impacted by this where to go where to get trusted information. And right now. Prediction most people don't know. A national charity independent voice where ago and so we're providing that platform for people. Ways to find. Resources in your community but wasted today advocates and and start to change the system I think. There's a huge need to build a movement of people who are willing to. Say the criminal justice response to addiction is wrong and we need to start to do a public health response and that's gonna require a lot of people coming together. And organizing at the state level at the national level and so were providing a platform and for that space. Do you find that there are many people like you who have a long history of recovery. And create something like facing addiction. I do most people just really focus on their own recovery and that's who the most most they can do a find ways to perhaps give back in other ways. With a great question I I came to facing addiction. After being a filmmaker of a film called the anonymous people and and that was that film was really an exploration of the notion that there's twenty million people are sick at 23 million recovery. But we don't see people often in our. You know newspapers and magazines who are in recovery we see the wreckage of active addiction and the is the why was that to the film explored the notion of this this anonymity and and being anonymous and and what some of that was about ten it was a real called action for people in recovery that bit. You know compete work every see the flaws in our system and they see the gaps of of not enough treatment axis and you know. The law enforcement response they see that overdose crisis firsthand. And they they have firsthand knowledge about what worked for them and often their voices are at the tables. Making these decisions on how to better spent our resources on this issue. And so the film really was. A call to action for people and recovered it come out and be part of the community. And in the core issue for most people isn't. You know the notion of anonymity or anything it's the shame in discrimination I think that people face and so. Just because I tell my story doesn't mean the next person. Is willing or able to tell their story because of of this shame associated with this and I had a question average house the other night. Where somebody said you know I don't think I could go out and an advocate the way that you are because. What my community or what my family you know would say about that in and and that's sad to us that it but I also understand it you know it's not. Every person with HIV in the late eighties stood up but those who could stood up for those who couldn't and I think that's the place that we're getting too with addiction is that. The voices who can need to. The mission of facing addiction is to rebrand addiction. How slow and how close do you think we ought to re branding addiction to. Well we have a long way to go it's it's such a massive issue and tonight I think we're starting to turn the tide a little bit I think last year we launched on the National Mall with a with a concert with. Steven Tyler and Joseph Walsh and Sheryl Crow and we had 40000 people bunch of people from Louisiana came up and we Allen. You know and then we'd launch with the surgeon general's report last year so we're starting to build some momentum around. This conversation as a as a public health issue but we have a long way to go people don't mean we've we hear from donors all the time corporations all the time. We'll addiction you know we we don't you know we don't like that werder so now it has some negative connotations it's hard to get. XYZ bank involved to support this cause wing you know they'll jump in the breast cancer and and diabetes and heart disease no problem. Even though those illnesses are not the most pleasant thing either. Yeah you know and so we have a long way to go to bring culture around to the notion of a supporting that but. You know two to bring out of the shadows is the first step in and bringing down powerful spokespeople I think is really important celebrities and and other. And cultural icons athletes who who've. Been impacted by this and are willing to speak is is going to be keying green. And moving him the ball forward that we have a lot of work to do. Moved and we are talking about addiction and the numbers are aligning great Kentucky by the twenty million or so people know directly impacted. We can't forget about the families because you really not in it alone correct. That the family members the friends trying to do the best that they can to help. For on that recognizing that the person is different and sometimes you really can't go at them in the same way they and that I just prayed enough and and love them enough that this will be enough I mean you do you do need some kind of intervention correct most times. We absolutely every case is different. But so many families. Struggle with the notion of like taking it personally like it something they did and that's the first place you know mom or dad with a young person goes this is what I do wrong. You know and they and they take it to this personal place where. That's our culture ran native if somebody turned out addicted. Bad parenting you know and and that's just fundamentally flawed thinking and and I think the notion that we need to get people to. In the race. Their loved ones without shame and without blame doesn't mean that you. Allow them and and and create an environment where their active addiction continues you definitely need to work with professionals to get healthy boundaries and and figure out what's best for your families have the best advice. We give people is is really you know talked to a its talk to a professional talked to somebody working in the field you'll find. A counselor or somebody who understands this to kind of talk through you work you were finally system in your dynamic. And how best approach that family member but certainly you know the old strategy of taking them to the curb in and hoping that yet they get better. You know it's more complicated and especially with GOP crisis we're seeing overdoses in just record record numbers in and families need different tools today. Then then perhaps years ago when it was really primarily alcohol. And other drugs that Ethiopia crisis certainly. It is is a killer very quickly for young people. You were talking about some of the other recent accomplishments the National Mall that was in 2015. What are some of the other accomplishments. From a facing addiction. Yeah that we anyone could I think that it is coolest thing is is what bridge house and grace houses involved in as is our action network. And down to facing addiction you know it is a national nonprofit trying to build a platform for a lot of local community organizations. Like brick house who were providing service on the ground. Two people in in. Communities locally. But they don't have a national voice and so. Providing international agenda you know bridge has graced us has a lot to say to the folks in Washington about what's working what's not working. For the health care system for them. And providing them that conduit in providing them that voice. And we have over 500 organizations now like that across the country who are reaching over thirty million people and it's it's the beginning it's the beginning of of building a very powerful network a powerful network that can. Phil. The halls of state capitals. And and national capitals the day after the concert in Washington. October 5 we had 400 families. From around the country visiting with the members of congress and it was that moment there was a turning point to a piece of legislation called comprehensive addiction and Recovery Act that got signed by President Obama. In July as of 2016. But do you. Think at this point that members of congress are willing to not only hear the stories. But listen yet. And they were very concerned with. You know some of the healthcare conversation right now that that mania. Roll backs and access to coverage on depending on what happens with this this. Debate going on right now in in Washington. However we are we're a little bit optimistic as the opiate crisis and the you know it's really a nonpartisan issue and so. It's it's impacting you know red and Blue States all the same and and different ways played in. Every elected officials not talking about this which is brand new and I think you asked me questions before about. You know what's different today than then years ago and I think. You know in the 1980s that deleting message from from elected leaders was. You know it did you know people using drugs or public enemy number one and and we need to. Be tough on crime and they got elected to be tough on crime and and now the leading message from from. The although it's still alcohol and drug problems that that they're struggling with deleting messages is we need a public health response you know we can't we can't incarcerate her way out of this and and so that's in the big shift I think in in the conversation. And so it's heart warming at some level the allow work to be done. That the the political leaders are really talking about this issue is a key driver in the health system in in public policy. And in our constituents are being hurt because they're seen as a constituency of consequence for the first time ever because people just didn't think people with a diction vote. Mean that's that's the I mean that's the stigma. That's the discrimination as they did people like me didn't vote so why do I need to enact policies for you if you're not gonna be the person who elects me and and I think that's. Politicians are coming face to face with that reality that that's just simply not true one in three households in America and and certainly. You know. A ton of voters what was the turning point for you a tree at 45 mile. Now our punt you know Mike I get in or near fatal car accident and at seventeen and in and I'm lucky to be alive I. You know that was the physical. Object that put me in the hospital and and and created a turning point. But it the real turning point I think was you know I was blessed my family was really involved and kind of put up boundaries and and really. Fought to get me access to care and they they overcame their shame and fought. And pursued treatment for me as an analyst at in ways that that famous have to fight for this condition like no other. In terms of getting their insurance cards to work even if they have the benefits. You know or. Some people have to mortgage their homes and you know lower or. You know it's it's really hard on families to get their loved one access to care of my family thoughts I was blessed and you know I had an equality adolescent treatment and in that program where's. Where I was able to to really be physically removed from. The substances and and start to look at my life and where you know. It was going nowhere fast and and and they are kind of you know I knew a lot about how to use drugs sell drugs you know by Jones but I didn't know anything about our country. And I and I started to get broken down to the notion that I didn't have all the answers and and that these people who are trying to carry a message of recovery Timmy might have. I know a little bit more than I did a bad outing it's over in and live a different life in and they attracted me to add to that lifestyle in that programming and and that was really you know the turning point in and I would also say that. Getting involved with young people in recovery has has and fifteen years in recovery now in and went through college. Without a drink or drive him and it was so important. The culture and certainly being in New Orleans in a down the street firm from urban street here you know it's it's. A lot of people who don't drink and there's a lot of people who aren't using drugs and and we need to celebrate dad and and not get a comfortable you know if somebody's you know goes out toolbar goes to your house. And and says you know no I don't drink on the recovery you know and we need to understand that that some people can drink. And others can't and you start to accept that similar to. You know type two diabetics who some people can eat cake and others can't we don't get them comfortable and we don't chain and you know and and Sweeney's accept the notion that that one in ten people drink alcoholic and become alcoholic and it's just the numbers and science and and and we don't need to be uncomfortable by people who earn recovery. That's amazing we talked about your documentary of we've been joined by Greg Williams co-founder and vice president. A facing addiction also an award winning filmmaker. Recovery leader. The anonymous people as your documentary. Is there a documentary and part two what's gonna keep happening with the film making. Yeah we just launched a new film. That we're gonna hopefully showdown here very soon it's called generation found and it's a film about Houston Texas. And young people obviously as you can tell my. My. Story of use recovery is a passion of mine and and I found this community in Houston Texas that was helping young people. In a way that few communities work. They have to recovery high schools and they have these things called alternative peer groups and they built a community of systems and supports. For adolescents that is pretty. Unparalleled around the country and so we got two years we we we invented a camera crew with with this community we follow the young people and their families. And that film is called generation found in and it's. An unbelievable story of how. It's not rocket science it's building community and how you can build community and a positive peer culture around. Not using drugs and apologists you know the same way gangs work insanely negative peer pressure works is the same way how you can build positive peer culture and. And we have documented proof of a group. Of the possibilities of that and in Houston Texas and dad to that film is being released on April 4. On digital platforms and people can. You know it'd get to watch it then. Looking forward to. On the during that message and I know there's a bunch of people down here who were fighting for. You know building a school in continued recovery supports. It is amazing grace thank you for being there and also if you thought that you do in this area and opening. And we are in this. History to be here thank you Monica. We're joined by chip Patterson the executive director of the first tee of greater New Orleans. Chip thanks for being with that thank you so much for having me greatly appreciate being here this morning I did wasn't really aware of the first tee of greater New Orleans he was a little bit of background. NASA the first tee chapter here has been around since 2004. The chapters had some ups and downs over the years obviously after Katrina a lot of the local golf facilities were closed down for a little while for a couple of years and so the chapter had some struggles there. And then after that BP oil spill they lost some of their funding from some of their sponsors. And the program kind of stop operating in 2012 as a result of that and so I was brought in at the end of 2013. To revitalize the chapter here in New Orleans area and so when I started. A few years ago we had about forty kids in the program. I'm working out of two local golf facilities. And since that time this year we X anticipate working with a about 12100 students and are out of school time programs. And we have about 30000 students will take part in our national school program working with about fifty to sixty local schools. Bombed so we've grown significantly over the last few years. And it's better result is just building relationships. With our golf facilities and kind of community with reaching out to schools. I'm sort delicious to get as many kids introduced to our program as we can. As you mentioned we teach character education life skills and helping habits and we use the game of golf has really to hook to get kids engaged. And their goal was to make them just better people in the community what is it evolved. Golf that such a great hook. Yes I mean I grew up playing a lot of different sports but the game of golf really lends itself well. On to teaching the first tee nine core values and so I mean like it we got concepts like honesty and integrity and perseverance. That are really a part of the game of golf so it's not a stretch you know we sit down and talked to a kid about. Integrity and and how you demonstrate that on a golf course. Because it's a sport where your yourself officiated there are no rules calling penalties against you you have to call penalties on yourself so. Tom we teach those concepts on the golf course but then we really incorporate that into our lessons were were working with kids and we we can transfer those skills over to their life or their schoolwork on -- able Ian eater showing them you're demonstrating integrity on the golf course how might she do that at home or how much you do that in the classroom how much you do that with your friends so. I'm were really making those connections to those core values. On and also with our nine healthy habits and so we're teaching about why you should stay hydrated over the course of today or getting exercise or or stretching or on proper nutrition go out and play a physical activity so. I'm wheat we teach all the skills around the game of golf but they really lend themselves well to transition over to what kids are doing as part of their the regular life's. We're joined by chip Patterson the executive director of the first tee of greater New Orleans. And this is the busy time for you what are some of the program that you're involved with. Yes so we actually just we've started our spring program session. So we do a spring after school session and a lot of the local golf Sony's reaction work out of ten local golf courses right now. On our spring session started right up after Mardi Gras the first week of march so we just close registration for spring session. Com we do a nine week program so again we have our nine core values and our nine healthy habits. So we do and nine week program session and all of the local golf facilities. We do after schools during the week in the we do folding programming on Saturdays. Around the greater New Orleans region so we got that program it's up and running right now. Why have a summer session that'll come up starts the first week of June that we'll have registration opened up on our website the first week of April. So again we do summer camps and then we'll do weekend programs during the summer months as well during June and July. But before we get started with our summer programs are our big kind of event coming up is the Zurich classic. On the PGA tour event that takes place out at TPC Louisiana. On out and Annandale. It's kind of our Super Bowl week where we have all of our kids that we get out to the golf course. They do a women's executive day where we have some of our female participants get to go out and learn some some from some really great female leaders in the community. They do a pro am event where the professionals are playing with amateurs and we had our kids be able to play alongside the pros. Out of the pro am. They do a caddy day where we get our kids out there and they're heading for the professionals during the tournament. We do a junior clinic where one day with a couple of the pros like the come out works specifically with the kids in the first tee program. And in the dead PGA tour event on Thursday through Sunday we get our families out and we do field trips basically for a lot of our school organizations to get them out and tour the facilities and get to see some of the golf out there are some. That's a really big week for us coming up. April 26 through the thirtieth so we're we're excited about that opportunity as well. How does a young. Kids come to you that holiday first introduce that in an. Arab readying aspiring golfers you know what we actually get a lot of kids who were not associated with the game of golf. So I mean the first he's mission as an organization nationally. Is we're trying to get kids introduced to our program that are not typically from golf families and so we target minority participants we target female participants and we target older teens to get involved with the program. Because golf is a sport that if you don't grow up with somebody in your family taking you up to a golf course it's not like a football or basketball or you to shop at a park with a basketball in your playing basketball you know if you have somebody that's taking you to a golf course as a kid. A lot of people just never got introduced to the sport so our goal is to do outreach in the community where we're inch reducing our program to kids who would have typically not been exposed to the game so. We start with a lot of 56789. Year old that have never seen golf they don't know anything about the sport they never touched a golf club. On and that's okay kids don't have to have any prior experience to come into our program. Like I said our goal is to get kids were typically not been exposed to the game because it's a really funds for. And a lot of times parents think the barriers the cost to participate in the sport of golf for the can be very expensive. But with the first team we make that spore excess fooled everybody by eliminating this cost barriers. So for example we have scholarships for any participant that joins our program the qualifies for federal free and reduced lunch that their school's biggest scholarship and they can. Output to stick our program at no cost. We have partnerships set up with all of our local golf courses. Where the kids once they become certified first tee participants which mean they know the rules of the game they know the etiquette and have the skills to play. They get discounted or free rates to go play and all of our local golf part of courses so and then we also provide obviously on the enters and role models were working with the kids throughout their time in the program. We have donated equipment that we can write sets of golf clubs for the student so there's there's literally no cost. For the most part to participate in our program. For the kids that you paid into our per and it's seventy dollars to the entire ten week current session and so it's affordable for anyone. And again we're we're looking to get kids introduced to the sport because golf is a little different you know it's a lifetime sport that kids will be able to play until their hundred years old you know we've got. Coaches and volunteers who work with lesser eighty year old to come out and this is what they do to stay active his golf player on the gulf everyday and so it's a lifetime sport. But we told the parents and the kids that golf has really. A networking activity. You know you're gonna meet people that she wouldn't necessarily have meant to other walks of life you know at the being involved with the game of golf. And that's really that's so much deals are made on the golf course deals are absolutely made on the golf course that is not a lack we bring kids together from all sparked a town you know we have. Our programs in Jefferson Parish and plaque men's and and saint Tammany and Orleans. And so bringing kids from different geographical locations. We have all ethnicity is represented in our our program. We have almost 40% female participants we have older teens in the program we have all different levels associate comic status as. So there's not a lot of programs out there are like our like the first tee. Where you're bringing kids literally the cross section of everybody from the area of greater New Orleans so. I'm that's what I really like most is that we bring these kids together. And they become friends the participating in this program and they're gonna stay friends because they're gonna go out and play golf together eventually you know once they move on past or current a lot of enthusiasm champ how can people learn more yes our website is Debbie Debbie Debbie -- the first tee no luck and OLA. Dot org. On and all of our information is available on our website we have information on how to get involved as a volunteer if you're dressed in coming out working with kids. We have information on how to make a club donation of got old golf clothes that you wanna give to us. On that we work with their students to provide. Were always looking for donations. So our organization is a community funded organization like most nonprofits. So we're always looking for foundation grants. Corporate sponsorships individual donations and so if you wanna make a donation to the first tee you can do that there or through just interest and registering at a student. Com for our programs like a setter spring session just closed but our summer session will be opening up and. April so you can go online web site to register what does that include they decide to eighteen were looking to get him involved. The Greek ship has been a pleasure having Michelle thanks so much I appreciate that is our show for today thinking so much for joining us until next time enjoy this Sunday and the rest of your week.