Community Conscious Service Therapy Program
Who Are We?
Grit is a service-based, community-conscious therapeutic, monitoring, matching, and placement program.
We are the bridge between the idea of volunteering and the actualization of a meaningful, purposeful, and emotionally beneficial volunteering experience. We assist with the activating steps to make it happen, and with monitoring throughout the experience. We provide therapy to assist in processing and integrating the experience and creating meaningful transformation on a deeper and lasting level in people’s lives.
We believe that connection and purpose help keep people sober, less depressed, less anxious, less lonely, and less deregulated. And as a result, the community at large benefits.
Why Are We Here?
We believe a person needs time to focus on themselves and do the work to heal and recover. And we believe there then comes a time that this work needs to be put into the context of others, of community, for it to be truly powerful, impactful, and integrated. We are relational beings. Trauma is relational and systemic. Healing is relational and systemic.
GRIT is an outpatient therapy program that centers its focus on connecting individuals with service therapy projects (volunteer placement). But we are also more than a program, we are a movement from me to we. From codependence to interdependence. We are a way of being. And we want our work of compassion, commitment, mobilization, activation, connection, and service to have reverberating effects into society through the lives we touch and the differences we make, one act, one word, one step, one person at a time.
We have conducted extensive research to understand the mental and physical health benefits of volunteering and being of service, and the nuances of what makes it beneficial (length of time is important as shown by the “volunteer threshold”; “intrinsic motivation” is an important factor and the volunteering being meaningful and beneficial) and what the barriers can be for people making it happen in their lives. Our founder, clinical psychologist Dr. Georgina Smith, realized the need for GRIT when over the years she witnessed many clients speak of yearning to volunteer and yet struggling to activate and actually make it happen. Even with guidance, the steps required could feel overwhelming… finding a place to volunteer that matched their interests, facing anxieties around showing up to a strange place, completing certain requirements (a phone call, an application, a TB test, an interview, etc.), following through once they started volunteering, and so on. She would also see similar challenges with treatment centers and programs that would encourage clients to volunteer, yet faced resistance or lack of consistency and follow-through. Knowing the scientific evidence and growing research that shows the mental and physical health benefits from volunteering and being of service, and all the acts associated with this (compassion, connection, gratitude), and seeing the radical shifts and the light go on in individuals who did volunteer, Dr. Smith realized there was a need for a bridge, a scaffolding structure of sorts, that could facilitate the process of individuals crossing over into volunteer work, and facilitate and support the steps and follow-through involved.
What Do We Do?
We network with treatment centers, intensive outpatient programs, sober livings, clinicians, schools, and families, and the community at large, to connect individuals with our program and individualize a service therapy program to meet their therapeutic needs and their individual passion and purpose.
We hit the streets in the community to build relationships with non-profits, volunteer groups, and community organizations so that we can educate individuals on what opportunities there are in our community and so we can find the best match and help the individual get inspired and internally motivated about their possibilities and opportunities.
What We Provide
Matching and Placement in a service therapy project (volunteer placement).
We start with an initial consultation intake to assess the individual’s needs, interests, and goals to provide the best match.
We assist the individual in completing the steps necessary to begin the placement.
We provide drug testing if necessary for the placement.
Tracking of service therapy project attendance & participation through weekly check-ins.
Collaboration via weekly check-ins with clients' relevant treatment and therapy providers on their project progress.
Family program: place young adults in service therapy projects; weekly family meeting with a therapist; weekly collaboration with parents on their loved one's attendance, participation, and progress.
Weekly, short-term Individual therapy to support clients in their service therapy project; integrate meaning of new role into self-experience and outside therapy needs (eg. sobriety) and progress; building community connections; and maintaining their healing path and discovering meaning and purpose.
Weekly group therapy to process service therapy experiences and offer and receive feedback.
"Impact Ceremonies" at the end of projects to celebrate efforts, progress, impact, and completion of service therapy projects. (In some cases, this may just be the end of the individual’s time with GRIT. They may continue with their service project on their own.)
Research And Resources On The Mental And Physical Health Benefits Of Volunteering And The Overall Effects And Importance of Volunteering
Who We Serve
Individuals who have completed treatment for addiction and who are stabilizing in sobriety and are seeking to bolster their aftercare plan – eg. Those in sober living.
Individuals leaving treatment for trauma and other mental health issues who are looking to bolster their aftercare plan.
Young adults who are having challenges with the following: school, family, friends, relationships, and emotions.
Families who want to utilize this as a preventative and growth strategy and as a teaching opportunity to support their young adult in learning empathy, experiencing compassion, and benefitting from the profound effects, lessons, and perspectives that being of service can yield.
Anyone yearning to make a difference and find a greater sense of purpose!