Harbor Peer and Wellness Center’s Keith Arvanitis revamps programming

Wed, 10/16/2019 - 8:00am

    Harbor Peer and Wellness Center has undergone changes in recent months, but the addiction support center is still alive and well. Keith Arvanitis has been the program coordinator since July and has been working diligently to return some of the region’s much needed programming to the center’s schedule.

    “It's been a slow transition, but as the weeks are coming, we're getting busier,” said Arvanitis. “That's a good thing.”

    The center is trying to create more engagement and events for more people and groups. “We're trying to do a little bit more for everybody.”

    Harm reduction is a huge focus, said Arvanitis. Working with Maine Access Points, the center has been providing public training sessions for administering naloxone, a medication used in reversing a narcotic overdose.

    There was also a gap in providing support for family members with a loved one struggling with addiction. “(Families) were coming in and just didn't know where to go and how to address certain issues.”

    There are now peer-led group sessions for them. Arvanitis said the center also wants to focus on helping ex-offenders transition back into the communities because there is a significant barrier in finding a job after incarceration. The center held a workshop with the Career Center and Workforce Solutions on Oct. 10 to help ex-offenders learn skills needed to find employment. Arvanitis said the community can expect more of that as well.

    The center also wants to get more attendees certified as Intentional Peer Support. It is a free, eight-week training session at the Department of Health and Human Services, said Arvanitis. The prerequisite is sitting in on a three-hour peer support session. “It's basically an introduction into what people will be doing, to see if it's the right fit for them.”

    He said it can lead to a career and to recovery, and it gets at the root of everything.

    Ultimately, the most important thing to Arvanitis is reestablishing the center’s identity in the community. “And we're trying to build connections not just with Boothbay Harbor, but with the surrounding communities as well. That's one thing that's very important.”

    The center at 35 School St. in Boothbay Harbor is open for all, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    Some of the groups the center offers are: family and friends support group, 12 - 1 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays; women's group, 12-1 p.m. Wednesdays; Naloxone distributions 12 p.m.-2 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays.

    For more program information, visit the center's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Harbor-Peer-Wellness-Center-269713167031856/