“You need to really understand what your strengths are as an organization and what you can bring to the table to address community needs.”

This week, Vicki and Kathy talk with Al White, vice president of the Lilly Foundation and CSR advisor to Eli Lilly and Co., about how the multinational company incorporates CSR. Topics of discussion include: How Al first became involved in CSR; Eli Lilly’s partnership with United Way; How the company sets CSR priorities; Connecting CSR initiatives to business goals; Eli Lilly’s Global Day of Service; An open corporate campus and its effect on employee engagement; Student programs; and Al’s advice on developing or growing a CSR program.

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Who’s Taking Care in Community this week:
Shannon Schumacher of Volunteers of America Ohio and Indiana

For over two decades, Shannon has served as a powerful voice and advocate for individuals who are vulnerable, underserved and without the necessary resources to live the lives they have hoped and dreamed to achieve. Shannon has made it her life’s work to provide a voice for the voiceless. She has blazed a path to develop many innovative programs that break the cycle of addiction, incarceration and untreated mental health issues in the families in our community.

It was Shannon’s passion and vision that led to the development of the Fresh Start Recovery Center which is a groundbreaking program that allows children to reside with their mothers during addictions treatment rather than being placed in foster care. At the time of the development of this program, there were no residential addictions treatment programs that allowed children to live with the mother while she was in treatment. Consequently, countless mothers had to choose between accessing treatment and risking their children being placed in the foster care system since they would not have a caretaker while the mother was away.

Recently, Shannon was invited to a roundtable to discuss substance use disorder– specifically opioids and their impact on maternal and child health. Shannon, along with Indiana state and local leaders, who work to help reduce the burden of the opioid epidemic met with U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome Adams.

Dr. Adams wanted to hear more about the innovative progress that has been made in Indiana to combat the opioid crisis. One of the innovative programs discussed was Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana’s Fresh Start Recovery Center.

Shannon also developed the Look Up and Hope treatment model that is focused on working with the families and children of parents who are incarcerated in hopes of breaking the cycle of addiction and incarceration that have affected these families for generations. This program was designated as a Promising Practice by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and gained national attention from many organizations including Sesame Street who used the model to develop an intervention for children who have incarcerated parents.

Through Shannon’s leadership, the Behavioral Health Division at Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana has grown from two outpatient programs to four outpatient programs, and six innovative residential treatment programs with more on the way!

In 2018, Shannon was recognized as a Hero for Recovery by the Mental Health America of Indiana (MHAI). She completed the America Express Leadership Academy in 2016 and the Executive Development Program at the University of Notre Dame in 2009. She was awarded the National 2010 Excellence in Leadership Award from Volunteers of America and was awarded the 2013 Drug Free Marion County Community Service Award.

It is impossible to know how many individual lives have been saved through Shannon’s work. And, equally impossible to understand how many future generations will avoid being caught in the despair of addiction due to her relentless fight to find hope for these individuals, no matter the challenges she faced in building the programs. She simply didn’t stop because it was difficult.

Without Shannon’s work, countless children would have been left orphaned due to the opiate epidemic and hundreds of people would have gone back to incarceration due to not having another option to treat their addiction.

It is difficult to comprehend the impact a single person can make, but as Shannon would say, ‘If you operate in your values, and you are determined to find a way, you will always be able to do the right thing.'”

– Nomination submitted by John von Arx III

Thank you for taking care in your community, Shannon!

To learn more about Shannon and the VOA Ohio and Indiana, visit www.voaohin.org.

Taking Care in Community is brought to you by The National Bank of Indianapolis

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