Sacred Creations is a statewide organization in Illinois devoted really to two goals: helping people find and develop their own path of recovery and trying to make the system in Illinois more recovery friendly. They seem to know that it is really different sides of the same coin. Individuals not only affect their reality but that of untold people their lives touch. In the end slowly the system changes. But addressing the larger context in and of itself also lends new possibilities for each individual. Their focus seems clear and productive.
AJ French is the director and we first connected through this blog. This is her description of her program.
“Sacred Creations is an organization based on the principle that all people are sacred creations of God. We are a statewide network comprised entirely of persons with mental health conditions. Our membership consists of persons from diverse faith communities and individuals who are not part of a faith community.” I like a couple of things about her description. Hers is one of the few programs I know of that starts with the explicit assumption of the worth and dignity of the people they serve. It is not a doing to people, but a doing with people. And the door is open. All are welcome. All are worth caring for. They are faith based but in a different way. So often that term is used in apology and as a designation that separates people. They know that real faith unites people based on their common humanity and does not demand any kind of true believer role from its members.
And they are boots on the ground people. Together as part of a broader coalition they are trying to make the notion of peer support an integral part of the Illinois system. Partly as a result of their efforts any hospital that gets state money in Illinois has to hire certified peer specialists as part of their program. They are also part of an effort that would broaden the role of certified peer specialists into other areas like corrections, independent living and child and family services. All in all a very impressive effort.
They know that lives are remade in the context of community and they are serious about community. If you live in Illinois and dont know about them you need to. If you live outside Illinois they provide a model and a resource that can only help your state. I hope you contact them. Thezir website is http://www.sacredcreations.org.
I am glad to call AJ French friend and if you reach out I believe you will be glad too.