Recovery Corps Member Presents at 2023 Wisconsin Harm Reduction Conference

July 2023

Marshfield Clinic Health System (MCHS) AmeriCorps - Recovery Corps presented to over 400 attendees in June at the Wisconsin 2023 Harm Reduction Conference organized by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Their session entitled Nothing for Us Without Us: Navigating Recovery Pathways Together highlighted how their program addresses rural substance use through an integrated approach that leverages the voices of AmeriCorps members who have lived experience with substance abuse disorders, serving as recovery coaches. The presentation was led by MCHS Recovery Corps AmeriCorps member Jamie Thibedeau, who is serving at Marshfield Clinic Chippewa Falls Center, and MCHS program staff Meagan Barnett and Christina Garcia.

As part of their session, Jamie shared her personal story, including describing what service looks like for MCHS Recovery Corps members and how her AmeriCorps service has impacted her life. Reflecting on being able to share about the impact of the program, Jamie explained that "my experience speaking at the Harm Reduction Conference was inspirational and fulfilling. I believe that being seen and heard is vital in the recovery process, and being able to share my success with everyone was amazing. My goal is to put hope in the lives of everyone who attended the presentation that there is a beautiful life after addiction and I am living it! Also that professionals can see that there is a place for Recovery Coaches and AmeriCorps with MCHS Recovery Corps is the place to be!”

Pictured from left to right: Christina Garcia, Recovery Corps Program Staff, Meagan Barnett, Recovery Corps Program Staff, and Jamie Thibedeau, Recovery Corps Member
Article written by Serve Wisconsin.


Governor's Service Awards Honors Community Corps Member

June 31, 2023

Each year individuals from across Wisconsin are recognized for their dedicated service to the community through the Governor's Service Awards - either for AmeriCorps service or volunteerism. This year, we were ecstatic to hear that Community Corps member, Jake Martin, was recognized as the Volunteer of the Year for Southeast Wisconsin!

Jake started with Community Corps in January of 2023, serving at the United Way of Jefferson and Northern Walworth Counties. However, this recognition was specifically for his efforts that took place before becoming an AmeriCorps member. Jake was previously committed to volunteering for a community holiday toy drive when the event became in jeopardy of getting cancelled. He stepped up to save Christmas in big ways - scouring the internet for just the right toys and translating letters from Santa for refugee children. 

On June 7, 2023, Jake was recognized for his efforts at the Governor's Service Awards Ceremony in Madison, WI. Jake is planning on returning for another term of service beginning in September 2023 with the United Way of Jefferson and Northern Walworth Counties. 



Community Corps Member Shares Insights at Public Health Conference

May 26, 2023 

On May 23, 2023, Community Corps member Melody Moe co-presented at the annual Wisconsin Public Health Association and Wisconsin Association for Local Health Departments and Boards Conference in Middleton, WI. The conference centered on Strengthening Foundations for Thriving Communities: Innovative Solutions for Health Equity. During one of the opening sessions, a number of representatives from local health departments joined Melody to share a new toolkit for injecting health equity into Community Health Assessments (CHA) and Community Health Improvement Plans (CHIP).

Melody is currently serving at Watertown Health Department and has been highly involved in the county’s work on their CHA/CHIP. During the presentation, she spoke about the importance of using focus groups and key informant interviews to help determine the most important health issues occurring in the community. Specifically, she stated, “Focus Groups are important in our work because they give us a deeper understanding of the issues at hand. We are able to receive data and information from a diverse group of individuals within our community, which helps us to better prioritize their overall needs.”

When reflecting about her experience at the conference, Melody shared, “AmeriCorps has opened the door for me to serve at our local health department and learn all about the inner workings of public health. … Prior to my experience with AmeriCorps, I was not aware of the expansive work that public health does to keep our communities healthy. I am very thankful for all of the opportunities and learning experiences that I have been offered through this year of service, and I look forward to what is yet to come.”

The formal toolkit presented at the conference will be available to Wisconsin local health departments sometime later this year.



Community Corps Host Site Supervisor Takes on a New Role

May 26, 2023

In May of 2023, Members of the Wisconsin Public Health Association nominated Kristie Egge to serve as the next President-Elect of WPHA. Kristie had been serving as WPHA Secretary while holding the position of Supervisor of Strategic initiatives at the Wood County Health Department. She is a current Community Corps host site supervisor and has hosted MCHS AmeriCorps members for many years including Julia Beres this term. We are excited to have one of our supervisors in this key leadership role to advance public health across Wisconsin.



Recovery Corps Member Shares Her Experience at Opioids, Stimulants, and Trauma Summit

May 18, 2023

On May 16-18, 2023, a current Recovery Corps member, Breanna Showkeir, and two Recovery Corps program staff, Meagan Barnett and Christina Garcia, attended and presented at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Opioids, Stimulants, and Trauma Summit held in Wisconsin Dells. Their session titled Nothing for Us Without US: An Integrated Approach to Addressing Substance Use aimed to share the unique approach Recovery Corps takes to support individuals in Wisconsin communities, and how other organizations could integrate a Recovery Coach into their programming and services.

Breanna, who is currently serving at Barron County Health and Human Services, did an amazing job at speaking to AmeriCorps and how it has impacted her life. She shared a bit of her story, talked about what a day in the life of her AmeriCorps Recovery Corps experience looks like, and shared why others in the audience could benefit from an AmeriCorps member too.

“Recovery Corps has given me the opportunity to work at a host site in the Health and Human Services field for two years which has been an exceptional experience for me. I have been able to use my Educational Award toward school and the experience from Recovery Coaching helped me excel in my classes. Being a person in recovery out in the community and helping other people like me is something that I will never forget. I want to continue being of service and hope to make a difference in the future.”

~ Breanna Showkeir

Pictured from left to right: Christina Garcia, Breanna Showkeir, Meagan Barnett  

One of the most impactful outcomes of this presentation was the AmeriCorps alumni in the room that felt compelled to speak on behalf of their AmeriCorps experience towards the end of the presentation. Phrases like “AmeriCorps saved my life” were spoken during multiple testimonies. There were quite a few tears shed during this presentation and that is a true testament of how powerful AmeriCorps can be for someone.


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