Springfield Clients and Staff Give Back

As part of Recovery Month in September, clients involved in the drug court program in Springfield decided to give back to the community by handing out care packages to the area’s homeless.

Led by Rhonda Richards, Heartland Center’s drug court coordinator for the Southwest region, the group of 18 clients purchased items like toothpaste, deodorant, socks and pre-packaged food, packaged them all up in bags and passed them to homeless individuals on Commercial Street in downtown Springfield.

Richards says they were able to give out 50 care packages, and everything was paid for by the clients themselves.

“We had such an great reception with everyone opening up the food right away and one man immediately putting on his new socks,” says Richards. “It was amazing. This experience was really good for the clients.”

After spending about two hours with the homeless – sharing the care packages but also sharing stories of substance abuse and information about Recovery Month and Heartland Center – the clients all went back to the office with Richards to process what they’d experienced. Immediately, they decided to help the homeless again, pooling together $75 to buy blankets and coats to hand out in November.

Community activities like these aren’t new to Heartland Center clients in the Springfield area. Recently, Richards has organized a float trip, baseball game outing and barbecue. Up next for clients is more community service, a family event at a nearby corn maze and perhaps ice skating.

“One of the latest things to come out of the research is that clients involved in drug courts really need pro social activities and to be taught pro social behaviors,” says Richards. “We do a lot to encourage growth in that area.”