NORTH LEWISBURG – Cornerstone Care Counseling Center, LLC, an independent counseling venture through which owner Kim Stokes-Williams hopes to crush the epidemic of opioid addiction locally, is hosting a grand opening on Feb. 3. Through the center, 120 E. Townsend St., Stokes-Williams will offer individual counseling, group treatment, and an evidence-based substance abuse program called cognitive behavioral therapy.
Stokes said that when she startedas an independent social worker over 20 years ago she did not want to specialize in substance abuse, but said she felt that God called her to this particular field.
“I didn’t want to go into the field of substance abuse, and the job I got with the state of Ohio 2004 was the clinical supervisor over the recovery services department at the Ohio Reformatory for Women,” she said. “When I worked at ORW our recovery services department used cognitive behavioral therapy. The recidivism rate in the nation was about 47 percent, and in the state of Ohio it was 27.9 percent last year. For ORW was had 4 percent recidivism, so we knew what we were doing… I haven’t ever had anyone who just went away and wasn’t able to be successful. And I’m not saying its all about me because it’s not about me, I’m just the vessel.”
Stokes-Williams is providing a family program for loved ones of drug or alcohol addicts, as well as individual counseling and work with Employee Assistance Programs. There are currently 14 clients from throughout Champaign and Logan Counties signed up to receive counseling through the CCCC.
Stokes-Williams established CCCC four years ago and originally intended to provide individual counseling from the back of her house. She lives across the street from a large, white building once used a furniture warehouse, and which Gowachin Property Managers once thought to turn into a medical calibration laboratory. She also tells the story of one evening when she saw one of the property owners taking photos of the building and started a conversation with him about it’s eventual use, and her dream of one day opening a counseling office.
“About a week and a half later he called me and said ‘draw me up a blueprint of what you’re thinking, and I’ll discuss it with my business partner’,” she said. “A few weeks later he asked me if I knew someone who could do construction work, and I didn’t at the time. Then I ran into someone at my church one night who I didn’t even know… he got the information to contact him and then started building.”
It has been two and a half years since construction began, and still Stokes-Williams says she continues to receive the blessings of God that have sustained her vision.
“Over the years God has laid it on my heart, and I’m going to give the glory to God about this because everything that you see in here – with the exception of a few article of furniture – has been by donation,” she said. “I truly couldn’t have done any of this without God’s help and He sent all these people my way. It’s just going to be amazing.”
Examples include many of her friends and supporters who attend church with her at the River of Life Christian Center in Urbana. Pastor Dan Leiker bought the conference table, while the chairs were provided by Springfield Christian Schools. The schools also donated chair mats, two free copiers, and ten brand new toner cartridges. Other church friends donated the telephone system, while Stokes-Williams learned how to install the wire herself.
“Things just keep happening left and right where I just know that it’s God,” she said. “I know it is, and I know that I am not going to go in debt for this because God is going to provide it. Pieces of the puzzle just keep coming together.”
Other partners have included the North Lewisburg United Methodist Church, Champaign Residential Services, Inc. and the Chamber of Commerce leadership program. Stokes-Williams is also involved with the Champaign County Opiate Coalition, gets referrals from Union Memorial Hospital, and eventually hopes to form a partnership with Oakwood Medical Center.
Stokes-Williams successfully leased the building in December, and said she is grateful to know that because of zoning restrictions it will never go back to being a warehouse. That leaves the question of what to do with the remaining space, which is more than equal to that already occupied by her offices.
“A vision that God has given me for the rest of this building is that I know this building is going to be mine, sometime,” she said. “On the other side of this we need a community center for high risk kids, or just kids period, and for the senior citizens who have nothing to do. So, the vision is to get that other side developed like that and have a place that can be used for events and things as well, to give back to the community because we don’t have anything like that. We can turn this opiate addiction around, we just need to let people know that they can depend on people.”
She also says she wants to give back to the community by helping people overcome their addictions.
“I want to give back to this community; there’s too many people dying here, and all over Champaign County,” she said. “Two years ago we didn’t have any drug addicted babies here. Last year we had 20, ten in Urbana and ten in surrounding Logan and Champaign County.”
“The need is great,” said Christine Boysel, a psychiatric and mental health practitioner student working at CCCC. “I work at the emergency room as a behavioral consult for the ER physicians, and every day people come in, and that’s unbelievable. It’s like unless you’re absolutely exposed to it, you don’t realize how big the need is out there. It’s every day that they actually have to have nurses just for that field in the emergency room for overdose, mental health, and thoughts of suicide.
“After a patient has been evaluated and it’s determined, then you can have a safe discharge plan with them,” she continued. “Then you’re trying to connect with the resources out there that are very limited, you can’t even get appointments because if they’re a new client or new patient it’s weeks out, sometimes almost a month. So the services are needed and we need more places so that we can start treating the people who need the help.”
Boysel said she does believe the new center will contribute to solving the addiction crisis. Appointments are currently available for anyone who feels they need help.
Cornerstone Care Counseling Center, LLC will host their grand opening at noon on Feb 3., with an official ribbon cutting at 12:30 p.m. Stokes-Williams says she has several speakers planned, refreshments, drawings, raffles, and music. For more information, contact the office at 937-612-4097 or e-mail email@example.com
Christopher Selmek can be reached at 937-508-2304