It is our goal to meet clients where they are through either connecting clients with existing resources or fill the gaps where they are present. While Richmond has many great resources through non-profit and government resources, often individuals do not know how to navigate or access the many options. This is where REAL Life helps guide and connect them with such resources, such as housing, medical, or mental health. However, REAL Life also provides services/resources where there are gaps due to lack of services, whether that is due to not enough resources or none at all, such as cell phones, bus tickets, job assistance, mentoring, etc.
One of our ‘flagship’ services is our weekly “alumni” meetings, which is a means of keeping a network of recovering individuals from our program together, as well as provide a plethora of meeting topics, such as 12 steps, obtaining a driver’s license, budgeting, cooking, raising children, or anger management.
The REAL House, located in South Richmond, was opened in May 2017, as a response to the growing need for affordable housing for those exiting incarceration. The house is also available for men exiting incarceration from the RCJC and is a six-month sober living home, which utilizes a similar behavior modification program that was found within The REAL Program in the RCJC.
The REAL LIFE Community Center is the newest offering of REAL LIFE. The Center opened as a response to a need in the community for men and women exiting incarceration, as well as those in the community needing assistance to overcome addictions or barriers that hinder success. Whatever situation individuals find themselves in, REAL LIFE is able to help through intensive case management in the Center, as well as a wide variety of classes, services, meetings and groups at the Center!
Expectant Mother Program:
The REAL Life Community Center’s Expectant Mother Program’s purpose is to provide educational, emotional and everyday support for pregnant women battling addiction. Often this population of vulnerable women does not have a positive support system, they are unable to discontinue their drug use alone, and do not seek appropriate medical prenatal care, thus contributing to a high mortality rate and other health related issues, not to mention the inability to properly care for the baby upon birth. Richmond currently does not have these specific services geared to expectantwomen, thus leaving this population with slim (or no) resources for assistance. Sadly, this often leads to these women committing petty crimes to become incarcerated so they can get clean from drugs/alcohol, receive prenatal care, and have medical coverage through the jail (which drains tax payer dollars).
REAL LIFE’s Expectant Mother program will work to equip these ladies with knowledge on how addictive behaviors and trauma affects not only them, but also their unborn child and the impact their behaviors have on the children. It is our desire to equip the women with parenting skills, adequate support, and the appropriate social services and medical care referrals to best care for the mother and baby.
Our expectant population has high risk pregnancies due to their drug and alcohol addictions, with some having a history of prostitution directly related to their addictions. Coupled with health, economic, and social problems, there is also a high likelihood of mental health diagnoses as well. This program works to address each of these areas.
Expectant mothers desiring services will go through an intake with the expectant mother case manager, which will include a risk assessment that will examine risk factors regarding her addiction, social concerns, and the pregnancy. Medical attention will be coordinated and arranged with local health facilities that will provide general and prenatal care. One-on-one counseling services will include counseling services with a psychologist and professional counselor. Parenting Support Groups that utilize evidence-based parenting support groups will be provided as the woman prepares for child birth and may also include other family members for navigation and co-parenting services. Other sessions will also be offered including domestic violence, anger management, recovery, 12-step programming, job preparation, bible study and religious opportunities, trauma, and budgeting and finance. All services are provided free of charge to enrolled participants.