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Sundram Manor & Reintegration

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Sundram Manor & Reintegration

Bringing Focus Back to Reintegration

COVID-19 upended so many plans in the spring of last year. Unfortunately, this included Sundram Manor’s hopes to transition to Reintegration, a new element of residential care regulated by the Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS). “As soon as we were going to implement it, the world shut down,” explained Morgan King, Sundram Manor’s Site Supervisor. Morgan and her staff have been slowly rebuilding their plans, and they’re going implement them on April 5.

In many ways, Sundram Manor is building on the success of Unity House, which has operated as a hybrid Reintegration and Community Residence model for over a year now. Morgan understands the importance of the changes that come with this transition thanks to inspiration from Unity House’s achievements. “The most important thing is giving residents purpose, a sense of satisfaction, and feeling like they’re able to accomplish something,” Morgan said.

Starting next month, residents at Sundram Manor will be required to attend educational, vocational, and volunteer opportunities in the community for at least ten hours per week. This type of structure is essential for people in early recovery as it helps residents build healthy habits and routines.

Staff Support through the transition

The staff at Sundram Manor are all very excited for these changes to start. Maura Baker, Counselor Associate, is overseeing much of the transition. “We’re all working towards one common goal,” she said of her fellow staff members. “Everyone genuinely wants success for every resident that passes through our door.”

Maura and Morgan at Sundram Manor
Maura Baker and Morgan King at Sundram Manor

Inspired by one of the tools at Unity House, Maura compiled a comprehensive list of nearby volunteer opportunities for residents. It includes the Niagara Falls Soup Kitchen; Heart, Love, & Soul; Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center; the Niagara County SPCA; Habitat for Humanity; the Aquarium of Niagara; the Magdalene Project; Oakwood Cemetery; and others. Maura worked with each of these organizations, and they’re all willing to accept Sundram Manor residents as volunteers. All the residents have to do is make a phone call to get the process started. “It’s up to them to follow through,” said Maura. “I just give them the tools.”

To ensure that residents are successful, Maura will be holding a weekly check-in group on Monday mornings. She’s planning on reviewing progress with the residents, and they’ll talk about their successes and challenges together. She developed a spreadsheet that documents residents; vocational, educational, or volunteer work. Residents will also hand in timesheets to help them acclimate to tracking time for a potential job.

Early Resident Successes

There are already some early Reintegration successes. Eddie is a resident at Sundram Manor, and he’s been in the program for four months. Over the last few weeks, he’s volunteered at Heart, Love, & Soul, a food pantry and kitchen in Niagara Falls. His volunteer responsibilities include passing out food, helping out in the kitchen, and some light maintenance and security tasks. “The first time I went there, I fell in love with it,” said Eddie. “I saw people struggling. I had to do what was in my heart and help out.”

Eddie is eager to talk to and learn about other people, and volunteering at Heart, Love, & Soul helps him do this. “It feels good to give back to society,” he said. “I’m getting myself back on track.” The appreciation Eddie feels for Heart, Love, & Soul goes both ways. In fact, they want to offer him a paid position when he’s ready for it. “They fight over where they want me there,” he said. “It makes me feel good.” That’s exactly what Morgan, Maura, and all of the staff at Sundram Manor hope to see.

Eddie, a Sundram Manor resident
Eddie, a Sundram Manor resident

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