Womens efforts featured in national video on recovery

Brenda Munden (left) and her niece, Mara Casto, manned the Ohio Citizen Advocates’ booth at the "Rally for Recovery Celebration & Jam," which is featured in a national video.

Mara Casto, a 2008 London High School graduate, donated her time to work a booth with her aunt, Brenda Munden, also a London resident, at this year’s "Rally for Recovery Celebration & Jam."  The event was selected to be featured in a video about celebrations of recovery from alcohol and other drug addictions.    

"The Road to Recovery 2008: A Showcase of Events" can be seen at recoverymonth.gov/2008/multimedia. The 30-minute video documents activities that were held nationwide in September, National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month.

The rally at which Casto and Munden worked took place at The Woods at Parkside, a substance abuse and mental health treatment center in Gahanna. Parkside and Ohio Citizen Advocates for Chemical Dependency Prevention and Treatment (OCA) sponsored the event.

Munden, a communications specialist for OCA, recruited volunteers such as Casto to register voters, educate visitors about the importance of voting, and gather signatures for

"The Recovery Bill of Rights" as part of a nationwide campaign, Recovery Voices Count.

"I was excited to have a teenager involved in the rally," Munden said. "It was a perfect fit for Mara, who is planning to become a social worker after college."

"I had no idea that our rally would be picked to be in a video," Casto said. "It’s really cool, especially since there were more than 800 events nationwide."

"I sent our photos and information about the rally to SAMHSA," Munden said, "as did hundreds of other organizations. I was shocked when I saw myself on the video."

The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), produced the video.

CSAT promotes the quality and availability of community-based substance abuse treatment services for individuals and families who need them. CSAT works with states and community-based groups to improve and expand existing substance abuse treatment services under the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant Program. CSAT also supports SAMHSA’s free treatment referral service to link people with the community-based substance abuse services they need.

Munden has worked with OCA for the past year under CEO Donna Conley.  Conley is a former Madison County resident who spent many years as a social worker in what is now the Madison County Department of Jobs and Family Services.

Conley went on to serve as director of the Prevention Assistance Coalition Team (PACT), a non-profit drug abuse prevention organization that worked closely with Madison County Hospital, the Madison County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board, and other community organizations in the 1990s.

Conley hired Munden to do communications work for PACT, which was funded by a federal grant and disbanded when the grant expired.

Now the two women work together again for OCA, a state-level non-profit organization, as advocates in the field of substance abuse prevention and treatment.

"I am delighted that OCA was included in the CSAT video," Conley said. "It is wonderful to get national attention for OCA and the good work being done here in Ohio helping more people to find recovery from addiction."

The video includes photos from a variety of events conducted in communities large and small. Individuals, families and entire communities across the nation united under the theme, "Join the Voices of Recovery: Real People, Real Recovery." This program showcases Recovery Month community forums, music-based activities, walks and runs for recovery, Major League Baseball games, and other uplifting events intended to raise awareness of recovery and increase accessibility to treatment. In addition, it highlights the positive and affirming message that addiction is treatable and recovery is possible.

For more information about recovery or OCA go to www.oca-ohio.org. or call toll-free 1-888-229-1285.

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