We are excited to highlight our recent Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® grant by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, introduce our new Community Engagement and Volunteer Manager, Cynthia Juarez, and feature Michelle Maclean, a Nexus alum who shares her recovery journey. Learn more about Nexus and how you can support our mission by signing up for a Noontime with Nexus tour.
Nexus was recently awarded a Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® (HKHF) grant by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX). The HKHF funding supports BCBSTX’s commitment to community-based organizations supporting children and families who have been impacted by the health, economic, and social implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the Healthy Kids, Healthy Families initiative, Nexus seeks to provide services that meet the individualized needs of women and their children, so that they can heal as a family, regardless of ability to pay.
The COVID-19 pandemic has escalated the demand for mental and behavioral health services, which are essential and needed now more than ever. Overdoses are at an all-time high and women are reporting greater mental health symptoms alongside increased substance use. The rising rates of substance use disorders in women greatly affects the lives of their children, who face numerous physical, mental, and behavioral risks without intervention, including removal from their mothers.
Nexus’ Continuum of Care provides a comprehensive, gender-specific trauma-informed treatment program for women as well as specialty therapies, education, and care for their children. Our holistic focus includes basic needs support, prenatal/postnatal care, childcare, and nutritious meals as well as case management, parenting education, and life skills, so women can rebuild their lives and those of their children.
“Nexus Recovery Center is extremely thankful to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas for this grant,” said Heather Ormand, CEO of Nexus Recovery Center. “This grant is not only an investment in Nexus and our services, but it is an investment in our community – in North Texas women and their families pursuing recovery.”
Launched in 2011, HKHF started as a three-year project designed to improve the health and wellness of at least one million children through community investments. The program was extended as BCBSTX’s ongoing commitment to the health and well-being of the children and families across Texas.
“This year’s grant process was especially important given the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sheena Payne, BCBSTX’s Director of Community Investments. “So, we are happy to award these grants that will support and nurture meaningful and transformational projects across Texas. Strategically, it is also important that we continue to aid community-based organizations that are directly supporting children and families who have been impacted by the health, economic, and social implications of this pandemic.”
The HKHF program – which centers on nutrition, physical activity, disease prevention and management and supporting safe environments – has awarded $14 million in funding and impacted the lives of close to three-million children and their families in Texas.
We are excited to announce the promotion of Cynthia Juarez, our new Community Engagement and Volunteer Manager, who will oversee Nexus volunteers and our relationships with the community partners. Cynthia joined Nexus in February 2021 as our front desk receptionist and impressed leadership, staff, and clients with her diligence, composure, and multitasking ability from the start.
As the Community Engagement and Volunteer Manager, Cynthia will oversee individual and volunteer groups, including those who provide Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings for clients at Nexus. She will also work with the Auxiliary of Nexus, which supports the women and children we serve. As a member of the Philanthropy team, she will also provide community outreach support to increase public awareness of Nexus, our mission, programs, and services, as well as our organizational needs.
Cynthia is passionate about helping others. “I am grateful to play a small part in making a difference in the lives of the women and children we serve,” says Cynthia. “I look forward to sharing our mission with the community and helping expand our network of volunteers, who are needed and necessary at Nexus.”
Born in Laredo, Texas, Cynthia moved to Dallas at the age of 2, where she attended schools in Dallas Independent School District, and graduated from Texans Can Academy, formerly Dallas Can Academy. She later returned to Dallas ISD as a bilingual teacher assistant before becoming a parent liaison, which involved coordinating relationships with parent volunteers, donors, and members of the community. This fall, Cynthia will enroll in the University of Texas at Arlington to pursue a bachelor’s degree in social work. She lives in East Dallas with her husband and 3 sons.
If you are would like to connect with Cynthia, please reach out at email@example.com and follow the button below for more information about our volunteer opportunities!
The best part of all this is that I know I can stay sober, and I can live life – and I’m so grateful.
– Michelle M.
This month, Nexus alum, Michelle Maclean, shares her recovery journey, alongside her son, Nicholas, now 9 months old. Michelle recounts how learning to manage her disease and love herself in the process are key to maintaining sobriety.
Michelle arrived at Nexus in June 2021 with her six-week-old baby, Nicholas, and a crushed, broken spirit. She first began using substances when she was 13 years old and quickly developed a severe substance use disorder. Although she attempted to get sober, she could not stop using even as her life spiraled and her mental health suffered. At age 32, she learned that she was pregnant. Deep down, she hoped that her son would never see her use and vowed to stop after he was born.
However, Michelle discovered that it was not so easy to quit. “I hated myself and could not raise a child with a mother like me,” Michelle recalls. “He just didn’t deserve that.” So, when Nicholas was just 6 weeks old, Michelle was admitted into Nexus’ Pregnant and Parenting Women with Children residential treatment program.
When she arrived at Nexus, Michelle was a nervous wreck and uncomfortable in her own skin. She struggled to handle her emotions and could not make eye contact nor even look at herself in the mirror. She began receiving individual counseling and COPSD services because of her dual diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder and substance use disorder. Because of her past traumas, Michelle struggled with low self-esteem and feeling like a complete failure, which affected how she saw herself and her role as a mother. Her COPSD counselor suggested an exercise to introduce herself in a mirror, first as her baby’s mother and then as herself. She began to practice until one day she was able to say her name without feeling ashamed.
Michelle stayed in residential treatment for 3 months with Nicholas where she learned how to be a good mom and worked on her mental health and recovery. When she completed residential treatment, her case manager referred her to a program that provides housing support so that she could get an apartment. She then continued services in Nexus’ intensive outpatient program.
Out on her own, Michelle initially stumbled in her sobriety, but quickly realized that Nexus had taught her the tools she needed to get back on her recovery path, which she remains on to date. Every day she wakes up with affirmations and does journaling every night. In addition, she uses her AA and NA books and stays connected to Nexus through the Generations Sober Mom Squad. “When I got out of Nexus, the Mom Squad gave me accountability,” says Michelle. “It’s a bunch of moms that are all in recovery and we’re all trying our hardest and it’s just so much support.”
These days, she enjoys living a healthy lifestyle and caring for her son and their home. She also recently found employment with Nexus’ community partner, Trusted World, which provides clothing, food, and hygiene products for people facing circumstantial poverty, including the women and children at Nexus. She first learned of the organization when she was in treatment. “We had nothing,” Michelle recalls, “because the baby and I took off in the middle of the night.” Her case manager placed an order with Trusted World, who sent clothing and hygiene products in a box with an inspirational card. Remembering how much this helped her, Michelle jumped at the chance to work at Trusted World when the opportunity arose.
Reflecting on her journey thus far, Michelle says, “I can’t believe that my life is like this now. I wake up, loved. I love myself. I love my son. I love my life. The best part of all this is that I know that I can stay sober, and I can live life and I’m so grateful. Nexus loved me until I could love myself and now, I know that I am worth it.”
Join us for Noontime with Nexus, a mission tour led by Nexus CEO, Heather Ormand, held monthly on Wednesdays from 12:30-1:30 PM. Noontime with Nexus focuses on the heart and soul of the center’s mission and our future pathways to possibilities.
This is a great opportunity to learn more about the work we do, meet key staff, hear client stories, and get ideas about ways to become involved. You’ll receive behind-the-scenes updates about our organization and hear powerful stories from Nexus.
Sign up for this free event by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Upcoming Tour Dates
February 23. 2022
March 23, 2022
April 27, 2022
May 25, 2022
June 22, 2022
July 27, 2022
Learn about our COVID-19 protocols here.