Scott Burlingame, Executive Director
“This was great, you should advertise more”.
That statement was yelled from the back of the room when I
recently had the opportunity to attend a class we offered at North Central
Human Service Center (NCHSC) to about 25 participants of their Substance Abuse
We would love to be able to advertise more, however, our
funding does not allow us to. We do, nonetheless, have an obligation and
responsibility to tell the story of Independence, Inc. Part of our story,
perhaps unknown to many, is we are part of our community’s solution to the
Independence, Inc. has been providing Independent Living
Skills classes at NCHSC for over two years. We were invited because those going
through addiction treatment have expressed a desire to learn how to navigate
their lives without the aid of substances. We have taught a variety of lessons,
including budgeting, wants vs. needs, community resources, communication
skills, employment, and goal setting.
As we look to the
future, we are also updating our programing to better meet their current needs.
We are developing classes on parenting, assertive communication,
transportation, community recreation and will gladly develop any training they
feel is needed.
We have also used the relationship we have built with the
folks served at NCHSC to provide services outside of the class setting. This
includes people whom we have helped to find housing, transportation, and
employment. We help to connect them with the resources needed to live safe and
independent lives in the community.
We promise each person we serve that we will be there for
them, and that we will support them no matter what their path to recovery looks
However, the efforts of Independence, Inc. to be part of the
solution to the addiction crisis go beyond individual services. We are also
working to be part of changing our community’s capacity to better address the
We were glad to promote and facilitate a visit from Adam
Martin on June 24th to speak to members of the Minot community. Martin is the
Founder of the F5 Project in Fargo. The F5 Project helps transitionpeople from
confinement to a new life. They assist with ongoing communication, safe and
affordable housing, employment, healthy socialization and transportation.
What struck me the most about Martin’s presentation was how
much his programing is like that of the Independent Living Movement. His
programing is a peer based service, which says “Hey, I can help you because I
have been where you are before.”
In addition, we are actively advocating for homeless
programing in Minot that is based on the Housing First practices. Housing First
is an evidence based model that provides people with housing, without any
special preconditions or requirements of any type of services. This practice
has been shown to be more effective, and less expensive, than other models in
addressing homelessness, addiction, mental health issues, and domestic
I look forward to continuing to be part of the solution to
addiction, both through individual and community services. Because even though
we can’t advertise, I know people who use our services see us as part of their
Image Description: Independence, Inc. staff members Trampes Brown and Jamie Hardt stand in front of a large TV in a room with chairs all over the place. The screen on the TV reads: True or False. 4) I must keep a balance on my credit cards in order to build a credit history.