Recent News

in our Cultural Celebration series we were...

River Community was proud to host another in our Cultural Celebration series. This time the participants and staff were magically transported to the Emerald Isle as we discovered the rich culture and amazing heritage of Ireland. We learned about the Blarney Stone, the Irish gift of gab, and the rich spiritual heritage of the Irish going all the way back to the Celts. Needless to say, no culture is truly expressed in a more satisfying way than through its food. Patrick coordinated a truly authentic Irish experience, right down to the Bread Pudding, which was a gastronomical delight.

River Community Covina and River Community...

The participants of River Community Covina and River Community Wellness Center celebrated Black History Month by creating a PowerPoint presentation highlighting some of the milestones in Black history starting with the fact that in 1926, Black History Month was originally “Negro History Week”. The presentation included conversations about W.E.B. DuBois (Founder of the NAACP), when Blacks were given the right to vote, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and the civil rights movement. After the presentation, participants were treated to a feast of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and candied yams -- all cooked by one of their peers.

Annual Alumni Picnic

Touchstones alumni held their Annual Alumni Picnic on Saturday, February 25. Close to 60 alumni and several of their family members (including alumni’s own children in two cases) attended the event and enjoyed games of volleyball (clearly, staff need a little more time in the garage on the workout equipment), Bingo, face painting, Hula Hoop competitions (someone needs to tell Patti O the Hula Hoop belongs around her waist), and sharing tales of “when I was at Touchstones” with one another. Prizes were awarded, laughter filled the park and everyone enjoyed bbq’d hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans and lots of picnic goodies along with a celebration cake. Two former residents shared their sobriety birthdays at the event and one of them said, “I am so grateful that Social Model Recovery Systems founded Touchstones. It saved my life”.

Current residents and several family members attended the picnic as well and one current resident already started making plans for next year’s picnic when he would be an alumni. The earliest class of alumni attending was 2003, and the furthest traveled to attend the picnic came from San Diego. A special thanks to Touchstones counselor Irene for organizing the event, counselors Alejandra, Elvita, Eddie, Gilbert, Joshua and Manny, Barbara, and Duffey for their commitment and enthusiasm to Touchstones residents and alumni.

A Mid Valley Outpatient participant recently...

Leon P, a Mid Valley Outpatient participant who completed the Omni Center program in April 2011, recently celebrated 17 months clean. Great job Leon! Today, he acted as chef for Mid Valley Outpatient’s Participant Appreciation BBQ. He cooked turkey burgers and fat-free hot dogs for participants and our friends from Omni Center who joined us for the celebration. The BBQ featured a menu of health conscious foods, good conversation, and movies. Participant Steven C (pictured) and Intern Mike expressed gratitude for the healthy menu and really seemed to enjoy the fellowship.

Birthdays at Mariposa!

When Mariposa celebrated baby Anthony’s 1st birthday, it made the residents feel like a family. Anthony’s mother felt special and excited to spend her son’s first birthday with him as a clean and sober woman. The other Mariposa residents were very happy to enjoy this time with him as well. They have all watched him grow up and experiencing his birthday with him was a joyous occasion. Mariposa staff helped in the decorating and planning of the party. We purchased invitations and invited his big sisters and his Grandma. There was lunch and cake served, presents to be opened, a cookie monster piñata, and games with the residents and baby Anthony’s sisters, to end the afternoon!

The residents seemed inspired by the 5 years of clean time celebrated by staff member Vanessa M. Hearing part of Vanessa’s story showed them they are not alone, and recovery is possible. The residents thoroughly enjoyed themselves, finding hope in another addict’s story. The residents prepared a wonderful lunch of chicken tacos and homemade beans. They also baked some scrumptious cupcakes, and decorated the dining room with pink and green streamers and balloons. Staff and residents enjoyed lunch together, sang “Happy Birthday”, the birthday girl shared a bit of her story, and we wrapped it up!!

January 30, 2012

Two Touchstones residents completed all the requirements for High School graduation and received their diplomas on January 30, 2012. They were joined at their graduation ceremony by their families, friends in recovery and (in one boy’s case) his Probation Officer. “I can’t believe Mr. Kelly came. I guess it shows, if I am doing the right thing, Probation can be a positive in my life”. Shown with their teacher, Mr. Segal, both boys shared in their graduation talks that they would not have been able to graduate high school had they not made the choice to enter residential alcohol/other drug treatment at Touchstones. They talked of their addiction taking from them any desire to do well or even attend school. One boy talked of being suspended and expelled because of his drug use. Both boys struggled initially when they came to treatment but the consistency, structure and support of Touchstones held them in good stead as, a credit at a time, they met their educational goals. Orange Unified School District, through Richland High School, provides the teacher and curriculum for grades 9 – 12 at Touchstones. Education is an objective on each resident’s Treatment Plan and they attend school on the property daily from 7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Mr. Segal, who has only been with the Touchstones school a short time, shared at the graduation ceremony his pride not only in the two boys who were graduating but in the entire class. Specific to the graduates, he shared of their creative sides - one who has artistic talents and one who has a love for poetry. He challenged them to continue their educational and artistic goals as clean and sober contributing men in society.

Social Model Recovery Systems celebrated our 25th...

Social Model Recovery Systems celebrated our 25th Anniversary and first annual “Pursuit of Wellness Gala” on November 5, 2011. Over 300 friends demonstrated their commitment to our efforts in attaining justice, equality and wellness for those we serve by contributing to and attending this event. Everyone had a great time, enjoyed dinner, bid on auction items, and relished in the live musical performances. Special recognition was given to SMRS founders, Chris Spencer, and the late Charles “Bud” Hayes, who laid the foundation upon which our organization has flourished. A heartfelt thank you goes to all those who attended and/or contributed to our special evening. Your support will assist us in providing much-needed services in carrying forth our mission to individuals and communities struggling with mental health and/or substance abuse issues.  Special awards were presented to Dr. James Barger, Board President, Betty Sandford, 25 year Board member and former Board President, and Chris Spencer, co-founder.