Coalitions in Action – PLCCA Offers a Hand Up, Not a Hand Out

“Proviso Leyden Council for Community Action (PLCCA) was founded in 1968 and our medication assisted treatment facility Substance Abuse Operations (SAO) was started in 1971,” said coalition human resources director Lisa Garcia. “We are located just west of Chicago in Proviso Township (Maywood) and the demographics of the community include predominately low-income individuals with 69.2% of the population being African American. Despite the financial and environmental challenges that many residents of the community face, these individuals are determined and extremely tight knit. PLCCA’s mission to provide a ‘hand up, not a hand out’ strives to assist the community in an effort to develop a sense of pride in the individuals it serves by encouraging them to help one another, and lend a hand in volunteer efforts that serve the community as a whole.” 

“Our facility faces many different issues including homelessness, substance use and mental health disorders, financial hardship, as well as finding ways to offer support to those affected by violent crimes,” said Garcia. “We understand that all these issues can affect the family system as a whole, and we strive to provide the necessary tools to individuals so that they can be the catalyst to change in their family and community.”

“Our programs focus on the youth of our community and are certainly something to be proud of,” said Garcia. “Intervening at a younger age and offering programs that help our youth develop self-sufficiency and responsibility (as well as keeping them safe) can have a ripple effect on the future of this community. Our medicated assisted treatment facility (SAO) is also a program that we are quite proud of. This program offers individuals suffering from opiate use disorders an opportunity to gain support from peers and empathetic, well qualified staff through group and individual counseling, individualized treatment planning, and case management services. We realize that the opioid epidemic can have devastating effects on the community and having these services available is a crucial component to being part of the solution. SAO works in conjunction with our behavioral health program and our staff is trained in recognizing unique needs that may warrant a referral. This links our two programs and offers clients the opportunity to address co-occurring issues without having to travel outside of the community. Often this is important because a large barrier to services for this population is typically access to transportation.”

“Our SAO was started in 1971 by our President and CEO, Bishop Dr. Claude Porter,” said Garcia. “PLCCA, Inc. offered many services to the community; however, Bishop Porter saw a definite need for a program that offered help to those suffering from a substance use issue. Since SAO's induction we have helped hundreds of people refrain from using illicit drugs. Our methods are simple. We offer medication assisted treatment along with individual, group and family counseling. We strive to help individuals reach and maintain sobriety. PLCCA's SAO understands that times change and in order to continually help people, we need to change as well. We have added additional medications as well as art therapy groups, job readiness and along with PLCCA's wrap around services, we strive to treat the entire person and not just treat the illness.”

“The advice we would offer is simple,” said Garcia, “if one type of treatment is not working, you have to be willing to try something else. Think outside the box. No two people are the same and once that becomes a realization, everything else will fall into place.”

“Substance use disorder is not one person's disease,” said Garcia. “It affects family, friends, and the community. If you are able to educate our youth and assist our adults, you have begun to make a difference. If one person comes in our doors broken and leaves those same doors healed, then we have succeeded!”