When Alvis was founded in 1967, it served just over 60 men who were returning to the community after being released from the Ohio Penitentiary, helping them with a safe place to stay, meals, and job search assistance.
Over the past 50+ years, Alvis’ impact has skyrocketed. Last year, the organization served nearly 10,000 men, women, young adults, and children, providing them with a range of treatment programs and services based on each person’s needs.
“Today, Alvis serves more people and now has a range of evidence-informed and data-driven programs which address individual, family, and community challenges, yet at its heart, the purpose of Alvis has remained steadfast since 1967: we turn lives around.”
“Today, Alvis has a depth and breadth of services that would have been unimaginable to our founders,” said Denise M. Robinson, President and CEO. “Alvis has evolved because the evidence has shown that integrated services that address criminogenic factors, behavioral healthcare needs, workforce development needs, and family needs have been proven to be the most effective in changing behavior and turning lives around.”
The organization provides services to individuals with justice system involvement, behavioral healthcare needs, significant barriers to employment, and/or developmental disabilities. It also offers supporting programs to the families of those individuals.
“Our programs are designed to make some of society’s most underserved and vulnerable populations a genuine priority,” said Denise. “These programs lead people to employment, build self-worth, and strengthen families.”
In 2017, Alvis acquired Amethyst, Inc., an organization with a 30-year history of helping women in substance abuse recovery and their families. This was a good fit to Denise, as she noted that across the United States, women are the fastest growing segment of the justice system-involved population, a direct link to the increased penalties for the use and possession of drugs.
“Having Amethyst as a part of Alvis extends the continuum of our treatment and recovery services for women,” she said. “It provides us with the opportunity to work with women before they become involved in the justice system. It also provides an opportunity to seamlessly transition some of our female clients who had justice [system] involvement back into the community with recovery support and housing.”
While many of the organization’s programs support adult individuals as they face life challenges, Denise and those at Alvis are also dedicated to addressing the needs of the children affected.
“I am very proud of Alvis’ work to help the children, who are the invisible victims of parental justice involvement and/or addiction,” Denise said. “When a parent becomes involved in the justice system and/or suffers from addiction and mental health disorders, the crucial relationship between parent and child is deeply threatened and sometimes even broken. Our family programs provide children with an environment that demonstrates love, compassion, trust, and understanding to help each child reach their best potential.”
For its extraordinary commitment to reuniting families and restoring trust and communication for families affected by addiction and justice system involvement, the Foundation is proud to honor Alvis with The Columbus Foundation Award.