On Thursday, May 18, 8 Haymarket patients graduated from the Rehabilitative Alternative Probation program, or (W)RAP, Cook County’s nationally acclaimed drug court program. The ceremony, which took place at the George N. Leighton Criminal Courthouse, concluded with graduates from the program and having their criminal records expunged in recognition of their completion of the program.
(W)RAP seeks to offer people who have been arrested on drug charges an alternative to receiving felony charges and incarceration by completing a two-year process where they receive treatment for substance use, refrain from use drugs or alcohol, and complete a case management plan. Haymarket Center’s role in (W)RAP is providing treatment services to members of the program.
“Haymarket Center has been involved in the drug court program for 20 years,” explained Aesha Muhammad, Manager of the Men’s Medical Detox program at Haymarket. “(W)RAP has many components in addition to case management. (W)RAP graduates receive support from the program in finding jobs and even housing if necessary. Most importantly, the success of programs like this helps the criminal justice system better understand and respond to addiction.”
The Chicago Sun-Times covered the recent graduation ceremony: “From dealing drugs to working for CTA, Hostess: Cook County Drug Court program grads get felony records expunged to begin new lives.”
Haymarket Center’s 2023 Gala was an incredible success that raised more than half a million dollars for treatment programs at the Center. The event brought together more than 480 supporters for an evening that featured inspirational remarks from organization leadership, a former patient, honorees, and our keynote speaker, Elizabeth Vargas.
Haymarket Center organizes its gala each year to support the thousands of men, women, and children who depend on our services to live a life free from substance use disorders. Shontae, a former patient, shared his personal experience and journey to recovery that has led him back to North Carolina to pursue his bachelor’s degree. You can view Shontae’s story here.
Celebrity Keynote speaker Elizabeth Vargas shared her own stories about struggling with alcohol use disorder and anxiety and the details of her recovery journey, while honorees Governor J.B. Pritzker, President and CEO of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing Chuck Ingoglia, and CBS Chicago anchor Irika Sargent thanked Haymarket Center for its role in treating substance use disorders in Chicago and beyond.
“For nearly fifty years, Haymarket Center has served the people of Chicago with quality and holistic substance use and mental health services, recognizing the importance of person-centered, community-based approaches at every turn,” said Governor Pritzker in his acceptance speech for the Father Mac Appreciation Award. “Haymarket Center is the gold standard of behavioral healthcare organizations.”
Thank you to everyone who supported the 2023 Haymarket Gala. Special thanks to Master of Ceremonies Irika Sargent, Event Chair Richard Price, Co-Chairs Tanya Davis and Heather Way Kitzes, and the gala committee.
View photos of the gala
Haymarket Center’s Outreach Team has expanded its services to provide case management to people experiencing homelessness on the CTA Blue line. Covering roughly half of the Blue Line, between its O’Hare and Clark/Lake stations, outreach staff will be stationed on trains and will support individuals experiencing homelessness by providing resources and connecting them to services and treatment. The project is funded by the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services.
“Overall, the goal of the program is to assist individuals experiencing homelessness and riding the trains to access needed resources and help them move from homelessness to housing,” explained Jessica Dubuar, Haymarket’s Director of Health and Specialty Services.
While the project is in its infancy, it has already begun to make a difference in the lives of people who need it.
“In our first three months of operations, we have interacted with over 500 unique individuals, many whom have simply wanted a warm and dignified place to lay their head and call home,” said Isabella Mancini, Manager of Haymarket Center’s Mobile Outreach Program. “We have connected people to inpatient substance use treatment and behavioral health services, workforce development programs, emergency shelters, food pantries, and more.”
For Immediate Release
May 5, 2023
Contact: John Normoyle
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today visited Haymarket Center to discuss the $775,000 in federal funding he secured through Congressionally-directed spending in the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus appropriations bill. This new funding will be used to reduce recidivism among adults in Chicago who have completed inpatient treatment for substance use disorder and remain at high risk of re-engagement with the criminal justice system.
“America is facing the worst moment in our history for drug overdoses,” said Durbin. “More than 3,000 of our friends and neighbors across Illinois died of an opioid overdose in 2021. Thankfully, we have some of the best healers around at Haymarket Center. By focusing on the leading causes of recidivism, we can help those who have completed inpatient treatment to successfully reintegrate into their communities and lead productive lives. This is an important step towards creating a safer and more prosperous future for all Chicagoans.”
“Healthy communities need a strong, community-based organization’s response that addresses behavioral health and violence simultaneously,” said Dr. Dan Lustig, President and CEO of Haymarket Center.
Founded by Monsignor Ignatius McDermott (“Father Mac”) in 1975, Haymarket Center is the largest non-profit, community-based adult substance abuse treatment facility in Chicago, seeing 14,000 patients annually. The primary patient population includes people who are homeless and ex-offenders, who receive the full continuum of detox, residential, and outpatient care across 30 specialized programs for each patient’s need.
Durbin passed a provision in the 2018 SUPPORT Act that partially lifted a Medicaid limitation, known as the IMD Exclusion, that had restricted coverage for residential services in facilities with more than 16 beds.
April is National Volunteer Month! Our work would not be possible without the supporters who give their time and effort to help our patients and make special events like our gala successful. Whether you’ve been volunteering at Haymarket for years or volunteered with us for the first time just recently, we are so grateful for your generosity and support. Thank you for all that you do.
If you would like to receive updates on volunteer opportunities at Haymarket, we encourage you to sign up here.
Recovery doesn’t always follow a linear path, and unfortunately, people in recovery sometimes relapse. To that end, the staff of Haymarket Center make sure that our patients have the resources they need to keep themselves safe, even when they walk out of our doors.
As part of a larger strategy to provide care and prevent deaths from substance use, Haymarket Center embraces harm reduction practices. Harm reduction is an approach to substance use treatment that acknowledges the possibility of relapse and equips people with critical resources to reduce likelihood of infection and death should they resume using substances. If a patient doesn’t complete treatment, they are given harm prevention kits to help keep them safe. These kits include Narcan Reversal, Fentanyl test kits, which patients are trained to use in the event of an overdose, and other resources to support patients when they feel that their grasp on their recovery is faltering.
The topic of harm reduction is frequently debated amongst providers of substance use treatment. Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that harm reduction strategies help reduce rates of infection and death among people with substance use disorders. Still, some feel that this approach enables or even encourages substance use, preferring eliminationist, zero tolerance strategies instead. Haymarket’s approach to harm reduction is backed by evidence that these practices help keep people safe.
“These kits don’t enable people, they protect them,” explained Aesha Muhammad, Manager of the Men’s Medical Detox program at Haymarket. “If someone leaves Haymarket before they complete treatment, and if they feel like they’re going to use substances again, having and being able to use the medication in these kits can save their life or someone else’s.”
Providing harm prevention kits to patients is consistent with Haymarket Center’s mission to aid people with substance use disorders in their recovery. To learn more about Haymarket’s mission and values and how we integrate them into the work that we do, please visit our website for more information.
Haymarket Center’s annual gala exists not only to raise funds to treat substance use disorders, but to celebrate the work and accomplishments of our Center and its supporters. This year, Haymarket is honored to present awards to noted individuals who have done tremendous work to help people with substance use disorders.
This year’s honorees are Governor of Illinois J.B. Pritzker, President and CEO of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing Chuck Ingoglia, and CBS Chicago anchor Irika Sargent, who will also serve as the gala’s Master of Ceremonies. Governor Pritzker will be receiving the Father Mac Appreciation Award for his outstanding support for substance use treatment through policy, Mr. Ingoglia will be receiving the Visionary Award for his innovative leadership of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, and Ms. Sargent will receive the Volunteer of the Year Award for her tireless work in support of our Gala, and for her coverage of issues pertaining to substance use on CBS News.
When asked how he felt about receiving the Visionary Award, Mr. Ingoglia expressed gratitude to Haymarket for the award and for its mission.
“I’m deeply honored to receive Haymarket Center’s prestigious Visionary Award,” he said. “None of us got into this field for the recognition, so it feels unnatural to receive any acknowledgement. But it also feels very flattering and fills me with gratitude. However, I’m the one who should be thanking Haymarket for its efforts. Haymarket’s work on behalf of people with addiction is more important than ever, and I deeply appreciate everything they do to help people understand that recovery is possible and then help them achieve that goal.”
Haymarket Center’s 2023 Gala will be held on Saturday, April 22 at the Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk. Tickets are still available.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath fell particularly hard on Kenneth. In May of 2020, Kenneth experienced an overdose and came to Haymarket Center for treatment. While he was receiving treatment, Kenneth became acquainted with his fellow patients and decided that he wanted to do more to help people in need once he left Haymarket.
“Addiction is a mental health issue,” he explained. “There are good people with substance issues who just need some help.”
After completing treatment at Haymarket, Kenneth had the idea to combine his new mission to support people in need with his skill and previous experience as a chef. Partnering with non-profit organizations in Chicago, Kenneth would station himself on CTA platforms and offer soup to people in need of a hot meal. After several months of feeding people experiencing homelessness, Kenneth decided that he was ready to take his calling to the next step. For Kenneth and his larger-than-life ambitions, the next step was creating his own non-profit organization, Souper Heroes.
Souper Heroes provides support to the many people who seek shelter on the CTA and in O’Hare International Airport. Through Souper Heroes, Kenneth not only provides hot and nourishing soup to people in need, but he also organizes clothing drives, collecting coats, socks, and blankets to help people without shelter survive winters in Chicago.
To Kenneth, Haymarket Center was the place where the incredible story of Souper Heroes began.
“At my lowest, the people at Haymarket were there for me,” he explained. “Haymarket helped me change my life. Going back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree, starting Souper Heroes, Haymarket made a huge difference in helping me do all that.”
Haymarket Center is honored to have veteran journalist Elizabeth Vargas as its celebrity guest speaker at the 2023 Haymarket Gala. The annual gala helps break down the stigma of substance use disorders and demonstrates that people in recovery can be tremendously successful; there are few people with a story of recovery as powerful as Elizabeth Vargas.
Elizabeth has been open about her struggles with alcohol use disorder and her subsequent recovery, and this year marks Elizabeth’s 10th year of sobriety. In 2016 she published a memoir, Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction, which described her experience in recovery and became a New York Times bestseller upon its release. Elizabeth has also won several awards for her career in journalism, including an Emmy Award, a Peabody Award, and multiple American Latino Media Arts (ALMA) Awards.
You can hear Elizabeth share her story of recovery on Saturday, April 22 at the Sheraton Grand Chicago.
Learn more about our gala.
Since its inception last Summer, Haymarket Center’s Associate Board has been hard at work with projects to support Haymarket patients. The board consists of 13 emerging leaders between the ages of 23 and 40 who are passionate about volunteering and raising funds in support of access to substance use disorder treatment services.
The Associate Board held its first event in October, which served as an opportunity to kick off the board, bring members together and recruit. The event was a success, driving additional members to join and helping build momentum for their end of year project.
For that project, the Associate Board supported patients in recovery who are seeking employment. The Ann F. Baum Family Enrichment Center (FEC) at Haymarket Center provides patients with job training and placement after they complete treatment. A major obstacle faced by our patients is a lack of professional clothing for interviews and everyday work attire. To that end, members joined together to host a career clothing drive and set up a career closet for patients. The drive was a great success, and the closet is now filled with suits, dresses, and other pieces of professional clothing for Haymarket’s patients who are seeking employment.
With so much success in just under a year, the Associate Board has even bigger plans going forward.
“The Associate Board is excited to continue to execute quarterly volunteer projects that provide value to the space and clients of Haymarket in different ways,” explained Associate Board President Kelly McKay-Lumbreras. “Next up for us is providing support to enhancing the exercise room, and after that we will provide volunteer, fundraising and operational help for key Haymarket events like its Gala and West Loop Fest.”
The Associate Board looks to double its membership by the end of the year.
Learn more about our Associate Board and how to get involved.