A breath of fresh air for Stepping Stones
Mitchell's Stepping Stones and Dakota Counseling Institute caught a break. The Davison County Commission unanimously gave its seal of approval during the regular meeting last week that will allow for a larger outdoor activity area behind the reha...
Mitchell's Stepping Stones and Dakota Counseling Institute caught a break.
The Davison County Commission unanimously gave its seal of approval during the regular meeting last week that will allow for a larger outdoor activity area behind the rehabilitation facility and expands on to idle county land that borders the county's jail.
Michelle Carpenter, who joined Dakota Counseling Institue in 1995 and has been the Executive Director since 2002, presented the idea for an outdoor area for its clients last year and was excited to hear the good news.
"I am so appreciative of the county's decision to let us use this lot," Carpenter said. "The fact that the commissioners believe in what we are doing is a huge deal for us. There was a lot of red tape to cut through."
Over the last decade, the Mental Health Outpatient and Pathway programs merged with the drug and alcohol programs now known as Stepping Stones.
The organization cares for an average of 1800 people per year facing substance abuse problems and mental health issues in the region, reaching as far as Chamberlain, where the team operates a satellite office. It is the only rehabilitation facility in South Dakota with a one-stop-shop approach when it comes to battling the vicious cycle of addiction and mental health disease.
"If you go to other facilities, they generally offer some type of service for drug and alcohol addiction," Carpenter said. "Our program spans from providing education to medically monitored intake treatments."
The treatment experience at Stepping Stones and the Dakota Counseling Institute is a team approach, with board certified and licensed addiction counselors helping clients reach a point of recovery, while addressing the whole person and family dynamics to enable recovery efforts to last a lifetime. The professional staff is also available for consultation to schools, law enforcement agencies and other professionals in the field.
Drug issues and problems with the law oftentimes go hand in hand, and people using illegal drugs are not making very sound choices when trying to get ahold of the drugs, said Janae Oetken, clinical supervisor at Stepping Stones.
"Some of our clients have been involved in risky behavior and might have some people that are not very happy with them," Oetken said. "There are security, confidentiality and protection concerns we face, so being able to offer our clients a fenced and private outdoor area is huge."
The leadership team plans to utilize the roughly 6,500 square foot outdoor area to teach its clients physical activity, meditation, prayer and spirituality by building an ambience that will support those goals.
Stepping Stones and the Dakota Counseling Institute will cover all the applicable costs for the project, including surveying the land, putting up a privacy fence and maintaining the outdoor area.
If the organization decides to move to another location in the future, the use of the county land and all upgrades made to the property will revert to the county.
Brenda Bode, chairperson of the board of commissioners for Davison County, said she stands 100 percent behind the project.
"It's a great opportunity to provide more outdoor space for the people that reside there and is a really important tool for them to use," Bode said. "Starting the new year with developing a good green plan for them is a plus."