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Community organizations will link Clark Co. inmates to addiction recovery resources

Posted at 11:27 PM, Sep 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-10 23:55:33-04

WINCHESTER, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Winchester non-profit is part of a new program to partner Clark County inmates with addiction recovery resources.

Peer Support Specialists at Achieving Recovery Together, also known as A.R.T., will work with inmates to offer help with housing, employment and other services for inmates when they're released.

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"Just whatever it is that they need so that when they get released from jail they can go ahead and move on and not go back to their old lifestyle," said Juanita Everman, Executive Director and Co-founder of A.R.T.

The program, called First Day Forward, is made possible by a $1 million federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration awarded to the Northeast Kentucky Substance Use Response Coalition, according to the Northeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center.

The coalition includes representatives from organizations like A.R.T., The Clark County Health Department and St. Claire Healthcare.

Everman said that many of the Peer Support Specialists are in recovery themselves, and relate closely to the people they work with.

"When I was incarcerated and I got out, I didn't know there was a solution,' said Cassie Stephens, a Peer Support Specialist at A.R.T.

In the community where she struggled with addiction for years, Stephens hopes her recovery can inspire others.

"We're there to just give them hope and let them know that no matter what it looks like on the inside, there's people outside waiting for them to help hold them up and walk them through this," Stephens said.

The non-profit will host two fundraisers later this month, an art show on Friday September 18, and a 10k or 5k run on September 26. More information about the events is available on their Facebook page.