VOA’s Center of Hope making progress in Riverton; Fifty-Five clients engaged in treatment services

(Riverton, Wyo.) – Nature abhors a vacuum, apparently even when it comes to alcohol abuse.

In its second quarterly report in this fiscal year, the Volunteers of America Northern Rockies said its Center of Hope in Riverton had 839 intakes from 94 different individuals from October to the end of December. During that period, 55 individuals were referred to and engaged in additional treatment services, including from residential treatment (2), Outpatient (10), Sober Housing (1), Path (20) and Vocational Rehabilitation (22).

“We’re doing okay, but it could be better,” said Center of Hope Program Director Merle Yellow Kidney. “The problem is that we are seeing new faces now. We’re making an impact with the ones that were here, but now they are being replaced by new people.” He said the new clients “are coming in from all over.”

Riverton Police Captain Eric Murphy confirmed that observation earlier this month. “Some of the disturbances we’ve been dealing with are new people in the community. They don’t know us or have experience with us.”

Even with the new arrivals, Yellow Kidney said the Center of Hope is making progress.

The center is now sporting a new paint job, inside and out.

The center is now sporting a new paint job, inside and out.

Since VOA took over the former Fremont County Alcohol Crisis Center in 2013, some substantial changes have taken place at its social detoxification and treatment center on West Adams.

First and foremost a clean-up and fix-up at the site, with new painting and landscaping inside and out, a physical reorganization of the administration area, a new client intake procedure and some safety enhancements.

According to the Second Quarter Report, the VOA has increased the number of substance abuse evaluations that it conducts and the intake area now has seven close observation beds with 11 social detox beds. Previously, the “beds” were mattresses on the floor. VOA is obtaining actual beds for its clients.

Staff responsibilities have also changed, according to the report. “Increased staff involvement and responsibility with educational groups for Nutrition (Cent$ible Nutrition), Indian Health Services Grief Group, White Buffalo cultural group, White Bufflao addiction education, Arapahoe vocational rehabilitation, Narcotics Anonymous group twice each month and daily Alcoholoics Anonymous meetings.”

Additional information on the VOA’s Center of Hope will be presented during the Riverton City Council work session planned for Tuesday evening, 7 p.m., at Riverton City Hall.