Weekly Feature



2017-03-01 / Lifestyles

Save the Michaels House of Hope presents ‘BUFFALO STRONG!’

by NICK KONOTOPSKYJ
Reporter


This portable memorial wall is used by the House of Hope and is taken to various events. The wall lists the names of different family members who have died because of addiction. To learn more, visit the organization savethemichaels.org. This portable memorial wall is used by the House of Hope and is taken to various events. The wall lists the names of different family members who have died because of addiction. To learn more, visit the organization savethemichaels.org. Save the Michaels of the World Inc. is an education organization that was established in 2011 to create awareness of prescription drug addiction, overdose and suicide. It was formed in memory of 20-year-old Michael David Israel to bring attention to the devastating effects of opioid medications.

In January, the organization opened the House of Hope and Community Resources Center, at 11 Summer St., Buffalo, to offer the services of trained volunteer peer recovery coaches to treat patients who are coping with drug addiction.

Since then, the House of Hope has been gaining recognition, which should continue with the free public event “BUFFALO STRONG! Together We Stand Against Addiction,” scheduled from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, March 13, at Hyatt Place 5020 Main St., Amherst. The event will feature six speakers who will deliver presentations in a multitude of areas surrounding the ongoing problem of addiction. The speakers and their topics include: Dr. Gale Burstein “Addiction and Childhood”; Karen Knab, “Addiction and the Family”; Timothy Logsdon, “Addiction Prevention”; Patricia Hunter of Blue Cross Blue Shield, “The Role of Insurance”; Robert Kent, “State Resources”; and Lori Drescher, “Addiction Remission.”


Save the Michaels of the World Inc. was established in 2011 and was named after Michael David Israel, shown above. The 20-year-old committed suicide in June 2011 after becoming addicted to painkillers. The organization was created in his memory to raise awareness of prescription drug addiction and overdose. Save the Michaels of the World Inc. was established in 2011 and was named after Michael David Israel, shown above. The 20-year-old committed suicide in June 2011 after becoming addicted to painkillers. The organization was created in his memory to raise awareness of prescription drug addiction and overdose. Vice President Molly Sanders Clauss explained the main goal of this organization and the important role the peer review coaches face every day.

“We first opened on Jan. 1, and we will be training our coaches until the middle of April,” Clauss said. “Our main goal is to educate the community in all areas of addiction. This event, which features six experts in different fields, should be very informative and spread the word about our organization. We teach families how to help advance their own lives positively, while still supporting their family member.”

Clauss said there are 20 peer recovery coaches who go through long and extended training.

“Our peer coaches are required to have experience with addiction in their own family so that they can empathize with the emotional pain a patient is feeling,” Clauss said. “Coaches prioritize the most pressing issues and begin working towards resolutions right away. It is quite the commitment, but we are always looking for more people who are willing to help out.”

The House of Hope also hosts a parent grief support group, which meets bimonthly, for parents who have lost a child to overdose.

“This is obviously a group that no parent wants to become a part of, but it does provide them with a setting that is welcoming and allows them to meet other parents who understand what they are going through,” Clauss said.

According to Clauss, the House of Hope is in the process of starting a grandparents support group for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren due to their own child’s addiction issues or the death of a primary parent. Clauss expects that group to get underway this month.

“We are really excited about starting this group because these grandparents not only have to support their grandchildren, but [deal with] the issues that they face with their own children. We welcome anyone who is interested in joining the group,” Clauss said.

Save the Michaels of the World Inc. has established itself as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and also raises funds to reach out to schools, professional organizations and businesses. There are now over 2,100 members who have joined the cause. Save the Michaels House of Hope’s March 13 event is sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield, Horizon Health Services, Erie County Department of Public Health, Pharmacists’ Association of Western New York and Hyatt Place.

To learn more information about Save the Michaels and the House of Hope, visit www.savethemichaels.org, call 984-8375 or email info@savethemichaels.org.

email: nickk@beenews.com

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