By: Amber Bell
As the Recovery Resource Council celebrates its 60th anniversary, there’s a lot that CEO Eric Niedermayer would like to see in the coming years. Growth in behavioral health resources. Expansion of services for first responders. A greater presence in the field of trauma recovery.
But there’s another thing Niedermayer says he’d like to see as the organization heads toward the future: a greater appreciation for the past.
The Recovery Resource Council began in 1957, but its roots date back to 1944, the year that the National Committee for Education on Alcoholism (now known as the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence) was formed. Its founder, Marty Mann, was one of the first women to achieve sobriety through Alcoholics Anonymous and formed the National Committee for Education on Alcoholism as a way to help raise awareness for the issue.
In 1957, the Recovery Resource Council launched as an affiliate of Mann’s organization and has since grown its presence as one of the leading recovery centers in North Texas. On average, the council services over 75,000 people each year.
“Our mission has been broad to include alcoholism, drug abuse and mental health issues,” Niedermayer said. “I see us growing in that area, that we’re becoming more of a behavioral health organization, because the type of services that you need to offer someone struggling with drugs or alcohol or mental health issues, you need to be able to offer them a full scope.”
A few milestones, Niedermayer says, include the Enduring Families program and Project New Start, as well as its youth programs like the Sunshine Club and Camp L4. Enduring Families began in 2013, counseling servicemen and women with PTSD-related issues, and to date has served more than 450 veterans and family members. Project New Start, a housing program for homeless or disabled men and women, is celebrating its 10th year.
The Recovery Resource Council also has programs for at-risk youth. The Sunshine Club, for example, has been around since 1986, helping elementary school children dealing with trauma. Camp L4, which stands for Live, Learn, Laugh and Love, takes children in shelters to Camp Carter for activities like horseback riding, arts and crafts, and life skills classes. According to the council, about 79 percent of those served by the organization are under age 18.
Niedermayer said he would like to eventually expand the organization’s work with first responders, such as police and firefighters, who often deal with traumatic experiences on a daily basis.
“They suffer similar trauma as our veterans have, but at home,” he said. “I don’t think they often get all the intervention and support they need around that.”
And yet, through growth and change, Niedermayer said he wants the Recovery Resource Council to continue honoring its history – especially Marty Mann, the woman who started it all. “I think it’s important that we know where we came from,” Niedermayer said.
By: Amber Bell