News

St. Luke’s To Host Community Shower For Alex House

As printed in the Post-Journal on March 3, 2017

Local News
Mar 3, 2017

A community shower for the Alex House, a supported recovery house that will open in Jamestown, will be held from 4–6 p.m. Saturday at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

Community members are asked to bring donations of basic household items to help resource the house. Celebratory food will be served, and information from other community agencies that deal with addiction and recovery will be available. There will be a special presentation at 4:15 p.m.

The Alex House is an Oxford house — a democratically run, self-supporting drug and alcohol free home. First established in 1975, the Oxford House concept has proven to be a “remarkably effective and low cost method of preventing relapse.” Oxford Houses provide a time-tested, solid foundation for all aspects of recovery.

The Jamestown house is named in memory of Alex Foulk, a young community member who died last year of a heroin overdose. The opening of the first Oxford House in Jamestown is the work of Kim Carlson, Foulk’s mother and recovery advocate, and ‘A Fresh Start,’ a local nonprofit organization designed to promote awareness and encouragement based on personal experiences. Working directly with UPMC Chautauqua, the Mental Health Association, CASAC and other organizations, the group’s goal is to help people get comfortable with conversations about addiction and alcoholism so that they can get the help they need. A Fresh Start is also open to assist family members who have lost loved ones to addiction or who currently suffer with the disease.

“Our goal is to help people open up to and talk about substance abuse disorders, addiction and alcoholism. So many people don’t get the help they need because of stigma and not knowing where to go.” Carlson said. “Alex had a zest for life. He was hard working, well mannered, physically fit, and by all accounts a happy and healthy 26-year-old man. I knew that if this could happen to my son, our family, that it could happen to anyone. I had to take a stand to find a way to bring light to this situation. Losing a child is the most horrific pain a parent will ever feel. I say that I talk about my child so people can talk to their children. Through our experience, communication, knowledge, open minds and open hearts we can bring change so that others might not feel our pain.”

St. Luke’s has collaborated with A Fresh Start to serve as an operational base by offering meeting spaces at its 410 N. Main St. location. The shower and presentations are the first of many expected to be held there. The purpose of the shower is not only to help resource the home to be ready to support the daily needs of the residents, it is also to help educate the community about the Oxford House program and how it can help the area.

“We are thrilled to assist the work of recovery. We are a non-judgmental community that welcomes and supports people in recovery, helping them to grow into their best selves,” said the Rev. Luke Fodor, Rector of St. Luke’s. “Kim’s work is a manifestation of resurrection in action-she has turned death into life We are honored to assist with the establishment of the Alex House; a timely celebration of new birth almost one year after his death.”

Foulk Fund To Support Transitional Housing And Prevention

As printed in the Post-Journal on May 19, 2016

Foulk Fund To Support Transitional Housing And Prevention

Community
May 19, 2016

When more than 30 people gathered recently at Shawbucks to “Be Part of the Solution” of the local heroin crisis, Kim Carlson described the need for transitional housing for drug addicts.
Since the Feb. 26 death of her 26-year-old son, Alex Foulk, of a heroin overdose, Carlson has been working tirelessly to bring awareness of the drug problem to the Jamestown community.
“If we all come together and do a little bit, we can make a difference,” Carlson assured her audience.

She described encountering a man pumping gas who recognized her as Foulk’s mother. This stranger told her how much Foulk’s support and encouragement had helped him get through cancer treatment. “Alex will always be with us,” she said.

Opioid pain medications like vicodin, oxycontin and percocet, are gateway drugs to heroin. In her opening remarks, Carlson stressed the importance of not keeping these medicines where they are accessible to children or other family or visitors. People have been known to ask to use the bathroom just so they could search for these. Carlson’s primary focus was on the need for prevention and bringing transitional housing to Jamestown, so addicts aren’t told they have to leave the community to get help. She plans to help address both of these with the Alex George Gregory Foulk Memorial Fund she established at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.

Carlson is working with Rick Huber, CEO of the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County, to develop a place where men, women, and mothers with children can be housed while they transition back to work and family life. As she described, transitional housing is neither a half-way house nor a rehabilitation facility, but rather a safe place for recovering addicts to live while learning work-life skills.

Foulk’s sister Kasie talked about the TPT concert to benefit her brother’s memorial fund. The event will be at 7 p.m. Friday at the Willow Bay Theater, 21 E. Third St., Jamestown. Doors will open early for basket giveaways and T-shirt and frisbee sales. Tickets are $3 pre-sale for students/children and $5 pre-sale for adults. Tickets are $4 at the door for students/children and $6 for adults.

Carlson said her son’s fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation will be used exclusively for the transitional housing project and to support the prevention work of CASAC, the Chautauqua Alcohol and Substance Abuse Council. Julie Franco, coordinator of CASAC’s substance abuse prevention coalition HOPE (Healthy Opportunities, Prevention & Education) Chautauqua, can be contacted at 664-3608 or by emailing julie@casacweb.org.

The Mental Health Association is a peer support recovery center that promotes acceptance and recovery principles. In addition to one-on-one meetings with recovery coaches, the Mental Health Association also offers more than two dozen peer support groups. At these weekly meetings, men and women come in and talk with others across a wide range of concerns. All services and programs are offered free of charge: call 661-9044 or visit www.mhachautauqua.org or www.facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.