UAB’s CRC Reaches Beyond Campus Borders
Community outreach is key to the success of the collegiate recovery community at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. When it launched in 2015, CRC Program Manager Luciana Silva immediately looked to the community for an ambassador to promote the program. She found it in Taylor Milam, now a senior social work major at the university, who was hired as Program Management Assistant.
As a student peer who has been sober for seven years, has two years of experience working at a men’s sober living facility in Birmingham and is not a member of the CRC, Milam brings a unique perspective to promoting the CRC on campus as well as in the community. He works to help develop and implement programs and serve as the face of the CRC by setting up information tables around campus, facilitating meetings and reaching out to recovery groups around the city.
“Birmingham has a strong recovery community. It is because of this strength that we are successful here on UAB’s campus. Our student population comes from various 12-Step groups, Refuge Recovery meditation groups, sober living centers and treatment centers around town. We realized that to be successful we needed to tap into this community, so that’s where we started,” he says. “When I was hired, I knew at least 30 students in recovery personally. It just took me reaching out to them and letting them know that we were here. We plan CRC-related events that are open to the student body and community alike. Allowing our students to form a unique community on campus while at the same time encouraging them to stay connected to their main source of recovery is crucial.”
This winter, the CRC hosted its first UAB Collegiate Recovery Conference, “Recovery Unite,” which attracted 150 attendees from the UAB and Birmingham communities. The goal was to bring many abstinence-based Birmingham recovery entities together for a day of recovery seminars, workshops, speakers and fellowship. Students produced the conference from conception to execution: they invited clinicians to speak on recovery, set the program, made the reservations and coordinated registration. “It was such a success that we hope to do it every year,” Silva says.
Written by Patti Zielinski