The Erie County Community Foundation recently awarded $800 to Sandusky Artisans Recovery Community Center.
Partnering with BGSU Firelands, Artisans volunteers used the money to establish a help center, stocking an empty room at the East Market Street headquarters with computers and office supplies.
The one-stop shop, tentatively debuting July 1, aims to primarily aid people who are convicted felons, parolees and those dealing with drug- or alcohol-related addictions.
Ultimately, the help center should help these people straighten out their lives, whether by helping them find jobs, pay bills or mend strained relationships.
The help center strives to accomplish two main goals:
•Offer a service to marginalized community members, who are working to improve their lives.
“We’re trying to get these people on the right track” said Tracy Goss McGinley, BGSU Firelands’ acting program director for the criminal justice program.
She’s also an Artisans board member overseeing the new help center.
“This is another step to take the Artisans center and make it more of a community center,” Goss McGinley said. “We want to expand and offer more services. This will be a comfortable place for them to come in and help them get started”
•Provide hands-on learning experiences for Bowling Green State University students, in the form of internships, seeking careers in criminal justice, social work or other related fields.
“It’s hard sometimes for our students to get this experience outside the classroom,” said Mary Beth Wade-Jones, a BGSU Firelands criminal justice instructor who’s also an Artisans board member. “This can help students find employment by working with people here”
The help center could aid hundreds if not thousands of people seeking services at Artisans.
Artisans aims to integrate the arts with the mental health community in hopes of helping people cope with their addictions and other mental health issues. Staff members provide free counseling and addiction services, offer 12-step meetings and host art-based recovery programs, such as painting and photography.