Common Ground Resource Center hosts its second annual resource fair

Published 3:07 pm Friday, March 15, 2024

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Across the street from the Jessamine County Sheriff’s Department is the old ivory Nicholasville Christian Church, which now houses the new Common Ground Resource Center on South Second Street.


Revive Life House officials say the Resource Center won’t officially open until June this year, but it has already been used twice for a Community Resource Fair. This week, the Resource Center had its second annual fair, with 50 different resource tables present offering assistance for everything from housing to phone access, clothing, medical care, expungement and even voting rights advocacy.

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Kalin Folden is the Community Connection Coordinator and has played a significant role in organizing the resource fair. She said the event had a “good influx of people,” at about 200 individuals. 

The expungement clinic had, at minimum, 30 individuals come in to start the expungement process. Folden said that in the future, she foresees the Resource Center hosting the resource fair semi-annually and the expungement clinic a few times a year. 


The event even held a raffle for everyone who signed in. According to Folden, this raffle helps Revive count the number of individuals who attended the event, which allows the organization to apply for grants to fund the space further. 


Todd Johns, the CEO and Founder of Revive Life House, calls the new Common Ground Resource Center a blessing for the community.


“Our heart to really extend some love and grace into the community for people who are in need. We just want to be a place that is known for extending that to the community and what a great hub for it. The resource center has really always been seen as a place that really could be a win-win in that we could reach out into the community and that the community could then come and be a part of the resources that we have out of this space,” he said.


Johns said Revive has been in a lease agreement with a contract to purchase the church for the last two years. 


“The first year, we didn’t do anything, and it was really lowkey,” he said.


“One of the things that allowed us to [start functioning in this space] was the opioid abatement grant from a settlement that we got last year. We were blessed to get half a million dollars to kick off this project,” Johns said. 


He added that it’s really important that the community understands what Revive is doing out of this space and what their values are,” Johns said


The three key initiatives for the space are education—including youth engagement), mental health and community support. This resource fair falls under community support, Johns said.


Folden said the Jessamine County Food Pantry housed in the church is one element of the community support pillar. In the future, this space will be used to support the community through more resource fairs. By allowing community members to use the space for PAL (Parents of Addicted Loved Ones), AA, NA, GED and finance classes, and there will be a space for Chosen Outreach to meet with individuals in need of diapers or other services the organization offers. 


According to Director of Clinical Operations Michelle Burner-Harvey, the mental health pillar is essential. New Dawn counseling services will be run out of the building this June, or perhaps earlier.


Burner-Harvey grew up in the building, where she played hide-and-seek and learned about community and faith. She said her mother and grandmother also grew up in the church. 


“New Dawn is birthed out of this idea that the families and children that are impacted by substance use are the net generation and we want to heal the families of Nicholasville- the community itself starting with children and families and we’re also focusing on this concept that a lot of people come into residential treatment for substance use with a mental health disorder and once they reach stability with their substance use disorder, their mental health becomes their primary problem. So we want to continue to treat that and meet people where they are with this co-occurring disorder,” Burner-Harvey said.


Although treating individuals with substance abuse disorder and mental health disorders is integral, New Dawn will also focus on helping the families of those individuals, including the next generation– children and teens. 


ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) are an essential concept to understand when considering the cycles of trauma, substance use disorder, and mental illness. ACEs come from studies based on childhood experiences and how they impact people as adults. 


To be clear, ACEs include traumas such as abuse (physical, sexual, emotional), neglect (physical or emotional), discrimination (racism, homophobia), household challenges (financial hardship and/or living with someone who deals with substance use disorders of alcohol or drugs), living with parents or caregivers with severe mental health challenges, bullying, and witnessing violence. 


“What [researchers] found is that people who have four or more adverse childhood experiences are at higher risk for all of these negative impacts in all these different areas: substance use, mental health, your physical health, it places you at higher risk for cancer, diabetes, depression, anxiety all of these other areas and so we’re using that concept and first of all those that already have that high ace score we want to prevent the outcome. So, treating them where they are with what’s going on, treating the trauma and the negative experiences to resolve some of that and so that it doesn’t impact those areas. And then also helping families prevent having an ace score, so there’s that two-fold look at it,”  Burner-Harvey said.


Other than offering mental health services to all community members, the Common Ground Resource Center will also offer an after-school program for kids in grades K-12 as part of the youth engagement values of the Resource Center. It will be called the Next Gen program and will likely start operating after New Dawn Counseling services. 


“New Dawn will partner with the Next Gen program so those children that are already at risk will be able to receive services too,” Burner-Harvey said.