By Alison Jones Webb
Business owners play a crucial role in creating recovery friendly communities. They can be change agents when it comes to supporting people in recovery and creating opportunities along their journey to wellness. In addition to proactively employing people in recovery, business owners can use their influence in the community to set an example and make recovery visible.
There are many touch points along the recovery journey where businesses can offer support. Business owners can consider where the services they offer it into the eight dimensions of recovery wellness -- emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical,
social, and spiritual -- and then reach out to people in recovery to provide services.
Business owners can be strong recovery allies in the form of “giving back” to the community through free services to people in early recovery, and also in ways that may be beneficial to the business. Here are some examples of how business owners can become involved.
Consider what your business offers, and then reach out to people in recovery.
Local credit unions offer information and education to all of their customers, and they can reach out to people in recovery specifically for this service. Town and Country Federal Credit Union in Portland, for example, has worked with the Portland Recovery Community Center to host workshops at the center on financial management. Workshop participants learned the basics of budgeting, as well as how to improve credit scores and options for consolidating debt into manageable monthly payments. Many credit unions will open accounts for people in recovery (and others) who have a bad credit history and help them on their way to financial wellness.
Offer recovery-support services for free or on a sliding fee basis. Businesses that specialize in self care and personal growth such as yoga and counseling can create safe spaces for people in recovery to explore their spiritual and emotional lives. In Portland, Sea Change Yoga offers free classes to people in recovery and supports this service through donations. Arcana, a business in Portland, offers yoga and other healing arts on a sliding fee schedule. Similarly, local gyms can open their doors for free to people in recovery, one day a week, for example, as a way to support their journey to physical wellness.
Participate in events specifically for people in recovery who are seeking employment. Last year, ENSO Recovery (a treatment agency) collaborated with the city of Portland and local sheriff’s and police departments to hold a Recovery Job Fair at the Portland Expo Center. This event brought together employers and people in recovery to learn about employers could partner with agencies that provide treatment and recovery support services to host their own job fair for people in recovery.
Participate in fundraisers. Business owners can support the recovery community by donating goods and services to events designed to celebrate the hope that recovery brings to individuals, families and communities, such as the annual Rally 4 Recovery each year in September and similar events around the state. They can also donate to organizations like recovery community centers.