Recovery in Community Pilot Project Launches!

Recovery in Community is now active and working to improve the lives of underserved Orcas Islanders facing mental health or substance abuse challenges. RIC has accepted its first client, paired them with a Volunteer Advocate, and has begun to help that client access local services.

RIC provides personal support and advocacy to these community members who are not currently connecting with available community services and supports. RIC helps these clients to access a variety of professional and volunteer services and supports—medical, mental health and drug/alcohol counseling and treatment, basic needs, companionship and fellowship—during times of critical need and transition. 

A network of trained Volunteer Advocates and organizational partnerships help RIC clients survive these periods, make successful transitions in and out of formal treatments, and return to productive lives into the future. Its first group of Advocates underwent a first training session in early August and each is prepared for work with a client under apprenticeship with a RIC Lead Advocate.

With basic funding in place and an excellent group of Volunteer Advocates on board, RIC is now taking confidential referrals by phone/text 360-317-3119 or email . This can be from individuals seeking RIC supports, organizations and agencies, and families and friends of potential clients. 

RIC is also pleased to announce that Janine Heimerich will serve as RIC’s Coordinator during the 9-month RIC pilot project. Janine brings to her role broad experience as a volunteer supporting islanders in various capacities and as a businesswoman in our community.

The RIC Coordinator is the first contact for organizations and individuals reaching out to RIC. Along with members of the RIC Oversight Committee, Janine will be the public face of RIC in the Orcas community and will help inform all about what RIC does and whom it serves.

Bruce Bennett
RIC: June Update

The RIC Oversight Committee is in full gear in June, working hard to get RIC up, running, and serving Orcas clients!

Our first tasks have been many, beginning with expanding the Oversight Committee to include four new members: Ryan Carpenter, associate pastor and counselor at Orcas Island Community Church; Sophie Lappas, long-time Orcas resident and experienced volunteer in a variety of related capacities; Erin O’Dell, Executive Director of Orcas Community Resource Center; and Larry Hampel, attorney and experienced community organizer. All of these strong community members are already contributing powerfully to our efforts. Welcome, Ryan, Sophie, Erin, and Larry!

High on the Committee’s list of priorities is hiring a qualified RIC Coordinator, and we need the community’s involvement! This is a part time, part-virtual position with variable hours of 1 to 6 hours per week for the nine months of the pilot project, and we believe that for some it will be possible to act as Coordinator even within the context of another job or family responsibilities. You’ll find a complete description of the job here. This is a vital position that will keep the activities of RIC moving forward. If you or someone you know may be a good fit, please contact us at

With the help of our Advisors, we’ve also begun to design the training modules for our Volunteer Advocates, the essential people who will interact personally with RIC clients. Our plan is to schedule trainings beginning in July. RIC is lucky to have two experienced clinical Advisors in Larry Hughes and Julie Gottman, both knowledgeable about volunteer training for purposes very similar to ours.

And, most important of all, we are seeking volunteers to be our front-line RIC advocates. Our Volunteer Advocates are the keys to RIC’s success, the people with feet on the ground, working with RIC clients to help them make connections to essential services and supports. VAs are also the folks ready to help these same clients reintegrate into the community in time. We anticipate just one client to one Volunteer Advocate; this relationship is one-on-one, personal, and comprises the essence of RIC’s mission. Read about becoming a Volunteer Advocate , and consider applying!

Lastly, the entire RIC team—Oversight Committee and the many volunteers who helped us get to where we are—want to say Thank You! again to our generous donors. Achieving our fundraising goal in May is what has allowed us to launch this critical 9-month pilot project. Thank you!

Bruce Bennett
James Reid Band kicks off Recovery In Community with a two-night benefit concert at the Orcas Center

April 1st & 2nd @ 7:30PM at the Orcas Center

Tales Tall & Tender, a benefit concert for Recovery in Community, is a lively reflection on the entire 45-year James Reid Band history—original music that tells stories from both eras of Jim and Reid’s musical friendship. Songs from the early 70s speak of their lives as hippie musicians during an unforgettable American era, about the characters they met, about young men’s fears and dreams. New songs bring listeners into the room for musical conversations between old friends about aging, love, loss, and renewal.

Musical styles reflect folk, country, rock, classical, and jazz influences. The songs and the band’s performance create an irresistible urge to sing and dance along.

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The James Reid Band musicians include Orcas resident composer Jim Connell and his songwriting partner Reid Spencer, along with Mat Kastner, accomplished country and rock guitarist from the original band, Orcas’ own brilliant multi-instrumentalist Martin Lund, and Seattle’s Brian “Captain” Kirk of One World Festival and Pointer Sisters fame. They will be joined by other outstanding players from Orcas Island and across the US.

Learn more about James Reid Band’s history here.

Bruce Bennett
Prosperity Project
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The 2018 Prosperity Project is the Opportunity Council’s community needs assessment that was conducted in order to (A) gain a detailed, quantitative understanding of the experiences of people living in low-resource households, and (B) provide a summary of qualitative data ...." This study "is conducted every three years and is used by Opportunity Council in strategic planning so that our agency’s priorities are aligned with the people we aim to serve." 

What does this have to do with Recovery in Community (RIC)?

Under "Whole Person Health," the report notes " Health-related themes that emerge from a variety of community health needs, assessments and philanthropy task forces include: care coordination, including specifically targeting vulnerable/complex populations; greater access to substance use disorder treatment ..." which underlines one of the reasons the Recovery In Community (RIC) project was begun.

RIC is designed to strengthen the connection between our Orcas Island community, our myriad resources, and the islanders who could use these supports. We connect as volunteers, following and providing practical support as islanders meet their mental health and substance use disorder challenges. 

Click here to access the full, 2018 Prosperity Project report. 

David Johnson