REAL LIFE Community Center at 406 E Main Street, Richmond

The REAL Life Community Center (RLCC) opened in December 2017 as a catalyst for overcoming adversities, (primarily due to substance use disorders, homelessness, or incarceration), sustaining sobriety, and providing a pathway to a thriving future through cultivating stronger families, gaining meaningful employment, and improving personal interaction skills, while building a foundation of faith. Due to an additional need we quickly began to see with women who are pregnant and battling addiction, or pregnant and recently released from incarceration, we also have an Expectant Mother Program that utilizes a specialized Case Manager who works directly with women in these situations.

All services are provided to clients free of charge.

Our Model

Our primary objective of the RLCC is to serve individuals with a desire to overcome their adversities. Our goal is for clients to achieve a thriving life. The unique attribute of the RLCC is providing clients with a path to thriving, not just recovery. It is the idea is recovering to something greater than what was lost.

Upon entrance to the Center, individuals must complete an intake in order to access services. During intake, a case manager meets individually with each client to conduct a criminogenic risk assessment to determine the client’s highest risk factors associated with re-offending and/or re-using. After the assessment has been completed, an individualized plan is developed between the case manager and client to include assignment of classes and groups, as well as mental health and/or other services that address the client’s top three risk and need factors. All groups, classes and services are offered at the RLCC except for medical services, which are referred out. The RLCC also has an Expectant Mother Case Manager who works solely with pregnant women active in addiction or exiting incarceration. This case manager oversees additional issues such as prenatal care, breast feeding, caring for a newborn, and other like areas.

The RLCC follows four pillars to address the issues associated with addiction, incarceration, homelessness, and other adverse situations that are often barriers to success. Once these factors have been addressed, individuals have a much higher likelihood of overcoming their situation and achieving the thriving life desired.

This model addresses all facets of a person’s life that keep him or her from moving forward. Because the process of rehabilitation can be quite daunting, our case management process allows us to walk alongside clients to help them move toward their goals. Our person-centered approach involves the client in the process of developing and outlining a plan in order to have their buy-in from the beginning. Further, we want to empower clients to steer their own recovery by addressing what they perceive as their obstacles and issues rather than simply dictating what their plan will be.

Since opening in December 2017, we have doubled our monthly enrollment goals. In this short time period, we have already seen great success. We have several clients who had been in homeless shelters for weeks or months who are now in stable housing. We have even more clients who were unemployed and now have jobs. We have new and expectant mothers who are no longer using drugs and are better caring for their children. We have others who continue their job searches and are enrolled in computer classes, trauma classes, and job preparation services, among many other classes available at the Center. There are many who serve at the Center each week by providing community service in various ways, thus already beginning to give back. The positive feedback from clients is unmeasurable and serves as a daily reminder that change is possible for this population.

Expectant Mother and Motherhood Program: 

The REAL Life Community Center’s Expectant Mother Program’s purpose is to not only provide traditional case management, but also provide educational, emotional and everyday support for pregnant women or new mothers. Often this population of vulnerable women do 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 expectant women, 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 works 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 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 go through an intake with the expectant mother case manager, which include a risk assessment that examine risk factors regarding her addiction, social concerns, and the pregnancy. Medical attention is coordinated and arranged with local health facilities that provide general and prenatal care.  One-on-one counseling services include counseling services with a psychologist and professional counselor.  Parenting Support Groups that utilize evidence-based parenting support groups are provided as the woman prepares for child birth and may also include other family members for navigation and co-parenting services. Other sessions also offered through the Center include 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.