Oakland ARC wins national award

The Western Territory made history in Orlando when, for the second year in a row, a Western program was honored for its excellence.

This year, the recipient of the 2003 National Social Services Award for Program Excellence and Achievement is the Oakland Adult Rehabilitation Center.

Last year, the Santa Fe Springs Transitional Living Center was recognized as an example of program excellence.

“The National Social Services Award for Program Excellence and Achievement that was awarded to the Oakland ARC was indicative of the excellent leadership of Majors Bill and Laurie Heiselman,” stated ARC Commander Major Ron Strickland. “They embody a caring spirit for the men entrusted to them and their staff. The Oakland ARC is truly deserving of this special recognition.”

The Salvation Army ARC in downtown Oakland has been at its present location since 1935 and operates a remarkable, long-term residential program providing clinical and rehabilitation services for men with alcohol and drug addictions.

Within a Christian atmosphere and philosophy, the center offers men the opportunity to regain their self-respect and acquire life skills needed to take their rightful place in society.

Unique to the Oakland ARC, the center offers three rehabilitation tracks to its 130 beneficiaries: a six-month program, a nine-month program, and a twelve-month program. The expansion was inspired by the special needs of the Oakland ARC’s urban population, most of whom tend to be “chronic relapsers,” with an average of four prior rehabilitation attempts.

In response to the high incidence of beneficiaries with histories of domestic violence, the ARC implemented an in-house court approved 52-week batterers’ program.
Eighty percent of the beneficiaries are fathers who, for reasons relating to substance abuse and/or domestic violence are not able to serve as fathers to their children in a responsible and effective way.

As a result, the Oakland ARC designed a pilot Fathering program for its beneficiaries, supported by a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and conducted a one-year evaluation study.

The outcomes of the Fathering Project included an 88% increase in the fathers’ level of involvement with their children, a 60% increase in the level of self-confidence in the fathers’ ability to parent, and a 100% demonstrated increase in knowledge of parenting skills.

All in all, being in the miracle business is no idle phrase at The Salvation Army ARC in Oakland. The graduates of the program will attest to that—15-20 return each week for Wednesday chapel service and for a weekly alumni support group.

Administrator Major Bill Heiselman attributes the center’s success to a number of factors: “It takes a team effort to run a quality program—everyone here is involved,” he explains. “The program is God-honoring. It’s a happening place.”

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