Established in 1999, STAND, Inc. exists to educate the community and address health disparities, to renew and preserve families and the communities in which they reside. Our focus on outcomes and solutions in a practice research-based environment serves to positively address the social plagues of homelessness, prison recidivism, domestic violence, mental health, and substance abuse and their negative impact on our community at large.


O ne Man’s Journey


A Quiet Country Soul Finds a Peaceful New Home

STAND Inc. Provides Clarity and Vision



10 From Rock Bottom to Executive Director; Charles Sperling’s Story





18 22 26 32 42 48 50 52

Robin Peters Serves With her Gifts

Substance Abuse Outpatient Program

Fighting the Disease, not the Person



James Lingo Opening The “DOOR” for his peers

A Quiet Country Soul Finds a Peaceful New Home at STAND

One Man’s Journey Towards Service& Recovery

STAND, Inc. Fosters Service For All

Moving Forward Through our National Health Crisis; Dr. Willis







STANDINC.COM (404) 288-4668 3486 COVINGTON HWY DECATUR, GA 30032

E stablished in 1999, STAND, Inc. exists to educate the community and address health disparities, to renew and preserve families and the communities in which they reside. Our focus on outcomes and solutions in a practice research-based environment serves to positively address the social plagues of homelessness,

with strong social conscience undergirds our investment in our clients, their families, and their communities. Our agency remains firmly focused on the possibilities for change. We are motivated to be the agents for the change required to build stronger more vibrant communities made possible by the

prison recidivism, domestic violence, mental health, and substance abuse and their negative impact on our community at large. We are foundationally Social Entrepreneurs, dedicated to sharing our knowledge capital; inspiring hope; and instilling confidence in our clients to facilitate their personal desires for accountability and change. Our unwavering spiritual reliance combined

capacity of its citizens. We continue to facilitate change by maintaining a strong devotion to our stakeholders and unwavering commitment to our mission. In partnership with our supporters and collaborators, civic and community leaders, our professional staff and executive leadership team continues to create a system of confluence and synergy that result in influential and measurable change.



The Mission

STAND is dedicated to providing comprehensive solutions to those with complex and compounded social issues and diseases through evidence-based training, education, and interventions that will empower all to engage in healthy productive lifestyles.

The Vision

S TAND aspires to be a globally recognized force in creating hope, power, and self-determination for individuals suffering from complex and compounded social issues and diseases.

Pursuing results above expectations

Working together for a common goal

Keeping physical and social surroundings safe from danger, risk and injury



Doing things right, not just the right thing

Providing quality services through maximum effort

Taking responsibility for our resources







Charles Sperling’s Story Executive Director


C harles Sperling’s high school English teacher cried when she told him he could achieve anything. It wasn’t until after he’d been in the throes of addiction and fought his way out sober that he recognized his potential. With 34 years of sobriety, he’s the Executive Director of STAND, Inc., where he facilitated groups when it was a fledgling organization. Now, Charles manages investor relations, finds treatment providers, is in charge of the programs his clients attend, and searches for those with field experience to serve on the advisory board. He didn’t start out wanting to be the director of a program like STAND, Inc. As a young teenager, Charles found himself curious about things that he shouldn’t have been; he hung out with the wrong crowd. After trying some drugs, he changed cities twice and wound up in New York. A dark day came when he discovered a friend shooting heroin. “You don’t want this,” the man said. Charles decided he did. On that slippery slope of addiction came bouts in and out of jail with homelessness waiting when he was released. Once back in Atlanta at the VA, he discovered addicts sharing their stories, and they were just like his. Only these addicts were drug-free. Charles wanted that. He decided to dig a deep hole for the deep roots he wanted to grow. He went back to college and later worked with recovering addicts in other programs. Finally, he started his own program, and after receiving his non-profit IRS status paperwork, the state of Georgia granted him a contract for $60,000. The next one out of the gate was from the CDC for formal research. FOUNDER & CEO


“Focus on hope instead of the stigma. Just

because you’re an addict and used at one point doesn’t mean you’ll always use.”


Story Continued

N ow Charles is making an even bigger impact with his award-winning “Work Ready” program that provides recovery support, helping addicts get driver’s licenses, documents they need for work, and more. STAND, Inc. also focuses on clinical work and their recovery programs. With 18 members on the staff, counseling and psychiatric appointments are provided along with the recovery programs. “Focus on hope instead of the stigma. Just because

you’re an addict and used at one point doesn’t mean you’ll always use,” he says. Charles points to himself and other clients whom the program has helped as examples. Charles Sperling is a humble man and maintains he isn’t perfect. However, his ups and downs on the road of recovery taught him to weather the storms of his professional life. His goals seem to be both personal and professional, seeking to help more addicts in need. Expanding and replicating STAND, Inc. is his dream: to provide all its services in office locations across metropolitan Atlanta. With a lively wit and a kind word, this man started STAND, Inc. with one other person and turned it into the place of hope it is today. It’s a story that’s the same as many addicts’, his with a happy ending. He tries to give all his clients a chance to have that happy ending, too.

STAND , INC . STAND aspires to be a globally recognized force in creating hope, power, and self-determination for

individuals suffering from complex and compounded social issues and diseases.

For Help Contact Us Today 404.288.4668 3486 Covington Hwy, Decatur, GA 30032 15


As internal and external factors change, so must the strategies and tactics that lead us to achieve our goals. What will not change, however, is the foundation that we build upon. The following are the building blocks that fortify our strategies here at STAND, Inc.: • Program Advocacy • Business Management • Safety and Security • Continuous Quality Improvement • Client Focus

404.288.4668 3486 Covington Hwy Decatur, GA 30032

Serves With Her Gifts Robin Peters

R obin Peters started her professional career with a chip on her shoulder. She was determined to wage war against the forces that contributed to her mother’s addiction. As she progressed on this journey, her love for service came to the forefront and she also gained an understanding that governs her interaction with clients to this very day. Today, as Treatment and Quality Manager at STAND, Inc., Robin has a lot on her plate. She coordinates daily clinical activities including, but not limited to admission/intake, facilitates groups, assessments, and evaluating client care through the use of best practice standards. Robin supervises and monitors clinical services for STAND, Inc., assigns caseloads, and coordinates appointments with psychiatrists and register nurse. She focuses on the whole health of the client. “Seeing the client come in and go through the metamorphosis like a butterfly is beautiful,” she says. Robin’s clients come in with little other than their clothes and become stabilized in the program. Their life and job needs are provided: ID, Social Security card, a job to pay the bills, and more. STAND, Inc. heals them from a holistic perspective. Robin connects with her clients from the beginning to the end result.


As a young girl, Robin wanted to be a high school math teacher. She found her mother dead from alcohol addiction at the age of 35. Robin grew up to become a law enforcement officer. Therefore, she entered the field of substance abuse counseling on a fact-finding mission to discover why her mother would not stop drinking. She blamed those forces for her mother’s death. Robin needed to be a part of the solution. Now, she is part of that solution with her warm, sincere, and positive regard for her clients. Her spirituality helps her carry them. The nurturing and support of Robin’s care are her legacy and, in a way, her gift to her mother. She treats her clients with the same love, kindness, and respect she would give her mother. During the time her mother struggled with alcoholism, Robin received support from family, church, and school. She was passionate about sports, particularly basketball. She went into law enforcement, but things changed one day at Perimeter Mall in Atlanta. Robin noticed a common characteristic shared among the shoplifters. That characteristic was substance abuse. Today, she has been employed with STAND, Inc. for 13 years. Her life experiences have

Robin Peters is gifted with the ability to care for and serve her clients with distinction. As a vital member of STAND, Inc., she shoulders many responsibilities gracefully. From someone who had a limited understanding of how destructive addiction is, she has armed herself with the experience, skills, and knowledge to facilitate positive change in the lives of those who struggle with the disease of addiction.

helped Robin structure the goal of developing incoming counselors. She desires to be a coach. Helping counselors determine if working in the substance abuse field is truly the path for them, is what she wants to do, then help them navigate the waters and grow in their careers. Even in retirement, she is called to be a life coach, staying mobile, especially for people who need her services. She

says, “When I leave, I pray that I leave this field better than I found it because the clients have helped me as much as I’ve helped them.”


Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Program THE Substance Abuse

Intensive Outpatient Program (SA-IOP) component of STAND Inc. is licensed by the Department of Community Health under the Rules and Regulations for Drug Abuse Treatment Programs and offers the American Society of Addiction Medicine Patient Placement Criteria (ASAM) Levels 0.5 through 2.5 Specialized Day Treatment. SA-IOP is a time-limited multifaceted approach to treatment service for adults who require structure

and support to achieve and sustain recovery from substance-related disorders. These services are available during the day and evening hours to enable individuals to maintain residence in their community, continue to work or go to school, and to be a part of their family life.

STAND’s SA-IOP provides a safe atmosphere for men and women between the ages of 18-65 with a history of substance abuse to address the disease of addiction, as well as co-occurring disorders simultaneously. The array of services emphasizes reduction in use and abuse of substances and/or continued abstinence; the negative consequences of substance abuse; development of social support network and necessary lifestyle changes; educational skills; vocational skills leading to work activity by reducing substance abuse as a barrier to employment; social and interpersonal skills; improved family functioning; the understanding of addictive disease; and the continued commitment to a recovery and maintenance program. Services are provided according to individual needs and goals as articulated in the treatment plan.



And serving its community with the very best. from the Start define STAND’s mission blueprints. In recent conversation she shared- “I see my role and our mission STRONG STAND, Inc. Staying

Certain NPOs, no matter their just cause or best intentions, may come or go. The business model for any NPO is always challenging, especially during tough times. Yet for over 25 years STAND, Inc. has been faithfully

as providing services as well as the all- important access to our services for any and all disadvantaged populations. And my

serving its community with care, compassion, commitment, integrity and excellence. Current Board Member/Treasurer and former President, Diane Sherman, Ph.D., is one example of all of the above qualities. Working in lockstep with STAND’s Executive Director and Founder Charles Sperling from the

current role is to support and continue crucial funding as we provide much needed programs and its continued visibility throughout the community.”

beginning, Ms. Sherman has applied not only her academic and professional achievements—Doctorate in Organizational Psychology and Certified Substance Abuse Counselor—but also pursued her passion for serving her community as she helped create and


Considering the comprehensive nature of Stand’s programs

and services, it may be safe to say that this is no small task. Of course in her most current role as Treasurer Ms. Sherman is also focused on looking forward and effectively managing three keys to the future STAND blueprint- • Maintaining STAND’s vital national accreditation • Continue to upgrade future funding for all programs and services • Create, support and manage expansion of all services in the private sector. The STAND mission is devoted to providing vital service throughout their community and beyond, especially in communities where such services would not otherwise exist. But that commitment—as with any and every NPO—absolutely demands determined professionals who understand the considerable financial reality which is required to achieve those goals. Considering that many other

organizations and agencies that might help contribute—including municipal, state and federal—to our communities in need but so very often choose to ignore any commitment, the work of STAND and Ms. Sherman remains absolutely vital. In her words- “Certainly one of my current priorities is supporting the effectiveness of all our programs and services as well as providing quality services for all our communities in need moving forward.” At STAND the future of their commitment is in good hands, and every community is better off for it.



404.288.4668 3486 Covington Hwy , Decatur, GA 30032


Structured activities in a community-based setting

Recovery, self-advocacy, relationship enhancement, self-awareness and values, and self-directed care


L eBryan Sperling met people at their worst as a law enforcement professional. He forged that into a skill when he joined STAND, Inc. and allowed understanding to guide him with these souls. Sperling fights stigma and maintains that it’s crucial to heal what makes the addict use. Sperling desires to make an impact by supporting his clients who want to turn their lives around and change their old M.O. He says he struggled with life as a young man, the result of one of his parents, Charles Sperling of STAND, Inc., being an addict. However, it’s not a handicap; it qualifies him to see past the stigma of addiction in his career now. Sperling knows that if the addict truly wants sobriety, STAND, Inc. receives them and helps them. He also serves the family that has longed for their loved one while they were in the throes of addiction. With the title of Chief Operating Officer, Sperling provides support for all of the STAND, Inc. programs. When he’s not helping recovering men re-acclimate to society, he aids in financial service for clients who need assistance, including those facing criminal charges. His own project is facilitating STAND, Inc.’s family violence intervention program. LeBryan Sperling loves and respects his dad and tells his own story as it relates to his dad. He only saw him in passing or heard stories of his dad when he was young. He met the elder Sperling when he was staying in a halfway house when the younger Sperling was six and saw himself, not an addict. “I didn’t see any of those things society saw,” he says, “I just saw my Dad, and he looked like me.” Sperling’s mother raised him, and she and his FIGHTING THE DISEASE Not the Person

grandfather provided support during his early teen years. However, in early high school, he ran with the wrong crowd for a little while and got mixed up in a few skirmishes. He almost wound up on the wrong side of the law but straightened himself out. His mother kept him in church, where he developed a solid spiritual foundation that he relies on today. College at Furman University wasn’t far away, where he played collegiate sports. He furthered his education with law school and joined law enforcement. Finally, he joined STAND, Inc., where he is now. Sperling says STAND, Inc.’s mission is vital because people are hurting. A doctor will give you an x-ray if your arm’s hurting to see where the trouble lies.


“I didn’t see any of those things society saw,” he says, “I just saw my Dad, and he looked like me.”

Sperling wants to find the root of the cause for his clients’ drug use. Clients are now discovering mindfulness techniques and addressing adverse childhood experiences in counseling, among other methods. Sperling says, “What we do is attack the thing that’s causing most of the problems. And that’s not the person. That’s the disease.” When asked about his goals,

Sperling says the desire is to expand STAND, Inc. beyond what it is now. He sees offices across Metro Atlanta and further into other states. Personally, he wants to carry on the work for decades. “The goal is to make sure that it is [around] and not because of who we are, but because it’s necessary to do this work from the heart.”



T he AD Transitional Housing program provides off- site substance abuse intensive outpatient treatment services in conjunction with on-site recovery support programming that aligns with a supportive and structured living environment for individuals with a Substance Use Disorder. The residential setting is less restrictive with qualified staff on call 24 hours per day as individuals begin to strengthen living skills and focus on creating financial, environmental, and social stability to increase the probability of long-term recovery. The program maintains a basic rehabilitation focus on early recovery skills including the negative impact of substances and tools for developing support and relapse prevention skills.

404.288.4668 Contact Us!


D eKalb Open Opportunities for Recovery (The “DOOR”) is an Addiction Recovery Support Center (ARSC) and Recovery Community Organization (RCO) offering a set of non-clinical, peer-led activities that engage, educate, and support individuals and families successfully to make life changes necessary to establish, maintain, and enhance recovery (health and wellness) from substance use disorders. Seeking to improve the lives of individuals in our community, the “DOOR” is grounded in three core principles: • A Recovery Vision • Authenticity of Voice • And Accountability to the Recovery Community

ad Client Focus

STAND, Inc. will be sharply focused on the client by increasing client satisfaction and providing safe and quality services.

3486 Covington Hwy, Decatur, GA 30032



Opening The “DOOR” for His Peers 32

J ames Lingo offers his clients his presence as a springboard for their choices as they embark upon a new journey. He doesn’t pass judgment. James says, “I don’t care where you came from or what your situation is. I still respect you, I still love you, and I’m still going to do everything I can to help you get on your feet.” Mr. Lingo is the Program Coordinator for The DOOR, which is STAND, Inc.’s award-winning

As Program Coordinator for The DOOR, James impacts his clients by offering support and caring. Clients might not know about resources in the area to help them. Mr. Lingo understands these available community resources and shares them with his peers. According to him, however, the most critical aspect of his influence is his genuine and non-judgmental nature. James understands his peers

Dekalb Open Opportunities for Recovery program. It reaches out to the homeless and those transitioning from temporary housing to provide support groups, recovery check-ins, and much-needed community resources. These resources lead to housing, food banks, and job support opportunities. The DOOR also aids with resume building and paperwork. However, this isn’t a check-off-the-boxes organization; they support goals and career planning with each of their clients.

due to his own past experiences with alcohol addiction. Not only was his father addicted, but his stepfather and an uncle died from it, too. His parents divorced when he was young, and his father only dropped in occasionally. The result was a strained relationship. As James grew, he got to see his father more and looked up to him because of his success. But alcohol steals gems like father/son fishing days. Alcohol addiction killed James’ father. James struggled with

friendships and girlfriends without a healthy relationship with his dad as an example. He suffered from depression, a disease unspoken of. Fighting to fit in, he watched alcohol rob those he loved of their livelihoods and lives. Mr. Lingo got counseling and put a name on his depression. Life now sees him traveling the world as an inspirational speaker. He feels most blessed in his career at STAND, Inc. and says he wouldn’t trade his position at The DOOR for anything. “The DOOR is important

James is focusing on outward growth, too.

His dream envelops growing beyond Metro Atlanta and the state of Georgia. His hopes are for The DOOR’s elevation to a national level. James visualizes speaking to legislators to create funding and new laws for recovery programs across the country. Yet, he is a humble man. James says, “ I just want to be a peaceful example of someone who cherishes and appreciates life.” He was drawn

because everybody’s looking for that open door,” he says. Mr. Lingo will help somebody homeless get their foot in the door at that new job. The important thing for him is a connection to his clients and to serve them no matter what level they’re on. LEADERSHIP

to service in recovery to connect with his peers. He felt the urge to serve and finds it rewarding to watch his peers succeed. Positive feedback for the program keeps it sharp.





404.288.4668 3486 Covington Hwy, Decatur, GA 30032 CALL STAND INC. TODAY


T his service provides structured activities to both men and women, which promote recovery, self-advocacy, relationship enhancement, self-awareness and values, and self-directed care. Individuals served are introduced to the reality that there are many different pathways to recovery and each individual determines his or her own way. Supports are recovery-oriented. Individuals served are encouraged to initiate and lead group activities and each participant identifies his/her own individual goals for recovery. Supportive interactions include motivational interviewing, recovery planning, resource utilization, strengths identification and development, support in considering theories of change, building recovery empowerment, and self-efficacy. There is also advocacy support with the individual to have recovery dialogues with their identified natural and formal supporters.



3486 Covington Hwy Decatur GA 30032 404.288.4668 CONTACT US TODAY!

SAFETY & SECURITY STAND, Inc. will be more focused on the safety and security of our clients, employees, and property by developing and implementing

policies and procedures and providing safe environments.

Project Connect TREATMENT

P roject Connect Treatment (PCT) is a SAMSHA funded, Targeted Capacity Expansion – HIV (TCE-HIV) Program focused on expanding and enhancing existing therapeutic substance abuse treatment services to substance use within high-risk populations. The purpose of PCT is to increase engagement in care for racial and ethnic minority individuals with substance use disorders and/or co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders who are living with or at high risk for HIV/AIDS and/or Viral Hepatitis. PCT aims to contribute to the nation’s achievement of the 90-90-90 goals regarding HIV status and treatment while also preventing new viral hepatitis infections.



P CT offers the American Society of Addiction Medicine Patient Placement Criteria (ASAM) Levels 0.5 through 2.5. PCT is a time- limited, multifaceted approach to treatment for a population focus composed of men who have sex with men (YMSM) 18-29 years of age and 30 years and older of gay, bisexual, heterosexual, and transgender individuals who have a SUD or COD reentry participants – recently released from jail or prison who are HIV positive or at risk for HIV/AIDS and/or HCV.

404.288.4668 3486 Covington Hwy DECATUR GA 30032


SST At aNn dDI nI cn.c .PPr or vo ivdi edse s STAND Inc. Provides Clarity and Vision

“I was blessed to take on two grandchildren with my wife, and it’s a delight to see one off to college and the other to school every day…we’re good. And it’s a blessing to continue to serve god.” -Kenneth


T he insidious nature of addiction can be powerful. For many of us its damaging stranglehold takes years to break and for far too many of us, that stranglehold is ultimately fatal. In the case of Kenneth S., his struggle was as close to the latter as any of us ever want to stray before he found the tools he needed to break free with the help of STAND Inc. His long, long journey started way back in Willacoochee, Georgia but at age 10 his family made the big move to the big city- Atlanta! A simple country boy at heart, Kenneth nonetheless soon discovered the temptations of the city and by age 25, he’d “graduated” from alcohol to marijuana to crack cocaine. His addiction to crack would lead to degrading years of cycles of incarceration, relapse and then repeat. In May of 2018 after recent release and all alone on the streets once again, he found himself finally “sick and tired of being sick and tired”.

He took it upon himself to enter into a detox program which referred him The “DOOR” Program (DeKalb Open Opportunities for Recovery), which then opened a door for him to a new world of health, humility, humanity and gratitude. “I was in my 50s and it was my first time in a rehab center but the whole atmosphere was just very positive. And I knew I needed help and all the counselors were there for me.” In addition to living and working at the STAND Inc. “DOOR” program, Kenneth also rejoined his childhood church, the House of God, and found himself reinspired to follow both his new program and his old faith. Faithfully following his STAND Inc. counselors and attending his church every Sunday, Kenneth soon realigned his life yet remained keenly aware of the everyday dangers of his long, long journey to sobriety.

“Sometimes I’d find myself near the train station where I used to hustle change and get high and I’d see guys just like me doing the same old things I used to do…and it really filled me with a sense of gratitude for where I was at.” But Kenneth was not long for Atlanta and eventually made his way back to humble Willacoochee where at his church he found not only food for the soul, but also a loving wife to share his new life. For him it was a long journey but now he can reflect on the new joys that sobriety has gifted him. “I was blessed to take on two grandchildren with my wife, and it’s a delight to see one off to college and the other to school every day…we’re good. And it’s a blessing to continue to serve god.” And along with his blessings, he also continues to call his counselors at STAND Inc. and check in once a week and/or just give thanks. Because old Kenneth’s eyesight may not be what it once was, however his vision now, remains crystal clear.


A Quiet Country Soul

Finds a Peaceful New Home at

Because help and hope are welcoming for everyone Stand Inc.

W e are all products of our environment. Sometimes our childhood environments help us to grow and sometimes our barren soil keeps us from growing as we should or otherwise might. As a shy, lonely country boy from Macon, Georgia, Harold H. found precious little solace wherever he could with his small family and even smaller Baptist church congregation. Growing up in his small, struggling community Harold encountered his own struggles both socially and academically which eventually led to him—and so many others like him—finding unhealthy outlets for escape. And this eventually led straight to adult cycles of substance abuse and addiction. In February of 2022, after years of solitary struggle Harold somehow managed to see that the lights of STAND Inc. were shining brightly in front of him, although he could hardly imagine he’d be welcome to join. His family was gone, his job lost, his life completely unmanageable, he was no longer able to cope with his own addictions and he wanted to just give up. “My pride was really hurt but somehow I saw that the DOOR program really was open and cooperative. In my low state, I’d just never even imagined and certainly never been to such a welcoming environment. I Just couldn’t even believe that a place like STAND existed. Even at that low point I was really inspired.”

Today he proudly shares that he’s found a reliable and healthy daily procedure that works and is more than willing to follow it with the help of STAND Inc’s programs. He’s also found a new focus with the help of a sponsor and is looking forward to getting his life back. But he’s also looking forward to giving back what was so freely given by staying connected, continuing to take suggestions and, harkening back to his Baptist roots- “praying on my next move and anything I can do to help STAND, I’ll be more than willing to.” Harold also remains focused on regaining trust in himself and others, fortifying his patience with himself and others, and remaining grateful and humble as he moves forward. This is perhaps best expressed when he recently shared the favorite part of his day at STAND Inc.- “When the good lord wakes me up in the morning. I’m really appreciative because STAND truly helps those who want to help themselves… and I am a living witness.” And that is a state of clear-eyed grace we could all learn to appreciate as we witness!


W hen the good Lord wakes me up in the morning. I’m really appreciative because STAND truly helps those who want to help themselves…and I am a living witness. -HAROLD H.



3486 Covington Hwy Decatur GA 30032 404.288.4668 CONTACT


Project Connect Prevention(PCP) P roject Connect Prevention (PCP) is a SAMHSA-funded program at STAND, Inc. that offers rapid HIV and Hepatitis C education, prevention resources, testing, and treatment referrals, if necessary. Using evidence-based practices, Project Connect is designed to strategically assess risk behavior and implement preventative services for youth between the ages of 13-24. Upon completion of the Project Connect Prevention program, participants may be asked to participate in a post-assessment survey to evaluate applied risk reduction practices and improved knowledge of HIV, Hepatitis C, and substance abuse. Prevention is dependent upon the need and individual risks associated with each group. At three months post exit from the Project Connect Prevention program, participants’ continued utilization of risk reduction practices and sustained knowledge of HIV, Hepatitis C, and substance abuse will be reassessed. (~1-180 days) Project Connect seeks to engage youth within the Atlanta metropolitan area, including DeKalb County, Fulton County, and Gwinnett County. The Project Connect program curriculum may be delivered in after-school sessions, in-school sessions, and/ or relaxed settings such as the official project office for Project Connect: prevention, as discussed amongst community partners. Project Connect Prevention

Stop Bullyin

3486 Covington Hwy, Decatur, GA 30032



ng Article



O ne Man’s Journey

at Stand Inc.


I t would be difficult to imagine a worst stretch than the most recent years in the life of James S., a grateful STAND Inc. 2021 graduate. With two sudden, traumatic family deaths unexpectedly hammered into the isolation of a global pandemic that socially crippled almost everyone, it’s safe to say that very few of us would welcome even the thought of such tragedy, let alone be forced to deal with its brutal reality. With James’ long history of damaging merry-go-round substance abuse issues followed by brief recovery periods—including a three year period of complete sobriety— followed by even more intense substance abuse episodes, it’s also safe to say he was absolutely unprepared for this sudden, shocking plummet into his own personal abyss. His hard landing at the bottom including loss of livelihood, homelessness, criminal charges and, of course, a self- destructive streak smashing all hope of anything other than his own end. Yet today, in recent conversation, James shared his sincere gratitude and most humble hope for not only his future but also for the future of his entirely new STAND Inc. recovery family- “I was always a loner and although I sometimes saw that a program like AA could work, I could never apply its principles to my own life because I just couldn’t connect, and definitely could never stay connected. But at Stand I found a real sense of belonging and really formed a recovery family here.” As a graduate and continued member of the “DOOR” (DeKalb Open opportunities for Recovery) Program and Resource Center, James now leads morning reflection meetings and considers this one of his primary directions in life at the moment. He also credits Founder and Executive Director Charles Sperling with simple yet profound words of wisdom that helped him to initially stumble-step through his own first doorway to recovery. “Mr. Sperling just told me, ‘Knowledge without any application has no merit’, and that really resonated deeply with me because I’d always believed I knew what I should do, I just never got around to actually doing it.”

As of this writing James is now actually doing it. Embracing his removal from his formerly self- destructive “comfort zone”, in addition to his service at morning reflections James now looks forward to one day leading his own Big Book study group as a grateful graduate of the program. He’s also grasped one of his most powerful new life lessons as he prepares for a new future that he fully realizes is his to face with grace and gratitude. “For so long shame and guilt were a huge part of my problems, but now I can see that honestly sharing those negative experiences I went through can actually help others who might be going through something similar. I can use this shame and guilt that used to damage me to help others instead of just letting it cripple me.” This is the application of service that STAND Inc. offers to all, and James is one of its most faithful advocates. Or as he put it very simply and honestly-


STAND INC. For All Shared with grace and gratitude by all


A fter years of a hydra-like pandemic, it’s perhaps safe to say we all understand even more that life’s path can be filled with unexpected twists. As a former caseworker devoted to helping others navigate the vast and complex corporate arena of social services, STAND Inc. graduate Reginald is living proof of being most unfortunately blindsided by life’s darkest turns. Having dedicated his professional career to social service, Reginald slipped quietly into his own substance/addiction issues as his ever expanding caseload slowly overwhelmed him until, quite suddenly, as he recently shared- “It seemed like one day I was looking through a window reaching out to help clients, and then the next day I was somehow on the other side of that window…” Of course so many of us can understand the cruel irony of falling into traps we were only just trying to help others avoid but even in his darkest hours Reginald was able to recall one of the most vital lessons of service- Perseverance. With a loss of livelihood, his confidence shattered and his self-esteem hitting bottom all as a result of his substance/addiction issues, Reginald reached out to a friend who referred him to STAND Inc. He then hesitatingly took not just one or two unsteady attempts to make contact but finally—on his third try—managed to gain admission and join not just a new recovery, but a new recovery family. It was this perseverance and his own stoic sense of service that now leads Reginald to a new direction which gifted him with a clear and capable motivation to move forward. His typical day is now filled with service to and with others followed by his own time at self-healing and self-reflection. He’s also focused and engaged with STAND Inc.’s behavioral health and “DOOR” programs and is especially keen on “Wellness Wednesday” and its emphasis on health/well-being as he moves forward with renewed confidence and refreshed self-esteem. Recalling his professional skills as well as the new skillsets he’s learned at STAND Inc. as he looks forward to the future, he recently shared- “My goal now is to take the tools and coping skills I do have and redirect that out to the universe, then one day hopefully come back as a success story. I really want to give back to STAND and help others who are still suffering like I was. I want to let them know that we do have a choice.” Yes, Reginald is living proof that our paths can be long and twisted but even as he soberly regards his new road forward he also stays grounded in his new state of grace when he considers- “Every second becomes a minute, every minute becomes an hour, and every hour becomes a day…and my story continues.” And, gratefully, the Stand Inc. story now continues with him.” “Every second becomes a minute, every minute becomes an hour, and every hour becomes a day…and my story continues.” -REGINALD story continues.” QRZͤ OOHGZLWKVHUYLFHWRDQGZLWKRWKHUVIROORZHGE\KLVRZQWLPHDWVHOIKHDOLQJDQGVHOIUHIOHFWLRQ +H̵ V DOVR IRFXVHG DQG HQJDJHG ZLWK 67$1' ,QF̵ V EHKDYLRUDO KHDOWK DQG̸ '225̹  SURJUDPV DQG IRUZDUGZLWKUHQHZHGFRQͤ GHQFHDQGUHIUHVKHGVHOIHVWHHP  5HFDOOLQJKLVSURIHVVLRQDOVNLOOVDVZHOODVWKHQHZVNLOOVHWVKH̵ VOHDUQHGDW67$1',QFDVKH HYHQPRUHWKDWOLIH̵ VSDWKFDQEHͤ OOHGZLWKXQH[SHFWHGWZLVWV$VDIRUPHUFDVHZRUNHUGHYRWHG JUDGXDWH5HJLQDOGLVOLYLQJSURRIRIEHLQJPRVWXQIRUWXQDWHO\EOLQGVLGHGE\OLIH̵ VGDUNHVWWXUQV  +DYLQJGHGLFDWHGKLVSURIHVVLRQDOFDUHHUWRVRFLDOVHUYLFH5HJLQDOGVOLSSHGTXLHWO\LQWRKLV ƈ-XWIIQIHPMOISRIHE]-[EWPSSOMRKXLVSYKLE[MRHS[VIEGLMRKSYXXSLIPTGPMIRXWERHXLIRXLI RI\XHE]-[EWWSQILS[SRXLISXLIVWMHISJXLEX[MRHS[ƏƉ WU\LQJWRKHOSRWKHUVDYRLGEXWHYHQLQKLVGDUNHVWKRXUV5HJLQDOGZDVDEOHWRUHFDOORQHRIWKHPRVW   :LWKDORVVRIOLYHOLKRRGKLVFRQͤ GHQFHVKDWWHUHGDQGKLVVHOIHVWHHPKLWWLQJERWWRP DOODVDUHVXOWRIKLVVXEVWDQFHDGGLFWLRQLVVXHV5HJLQDOGUHDFKHGRXWWRDIULHQGZKRUHIHUUHGKLP to STAND Inc. He then hesitatingly took not just one or two unsteady attempts to make contact but ͤ QDOO\̱ RQKLVWKLUGWU\̱ PDQDJHGWRJDLQDGPLVVLRQDQGMRLQQRWMXVWDQHZUHFRYHU\EXWDQHZ  ,WZDVWKLVSHUVHYHUDQFHDQGKLVRZQVWRLFVHQVHRIVHUYLFHWKDWQRZOHDGV5HJLQDOGWRDQHZ ƈ1]KSEPRS[MWXSXEOIXLIXSSPWERHGSTMRKWOMPPW-HSLEZIERHVIHMVIGXXLEXSYXXSXLIYRMZIVWI XLIRSRIHE]LSTIJYPP]GSQIFEGOEWEWYGGIWWWXSV]-VIEPP][ERXXSKMZIFEGOXS78%2(ERHLIPT SXLIVW[LSEVIWXMPPWYJJIVMRKPMOI-[EW-[ERXXSPIXXLIQORS[XLEX[IHSLEZIEGLSMGIƉ  <HV5HJLQDOGLVOLYLQJSURRIWKDWRXUSDWKVFDQEHORQJDQGWZLVWHGEXWHYHQDVKH ƈ)ZIV]WIGSRHFIGSQIWEQMRYXIIZIV]QMRYXIFIGSQIWERLSYVERHIZIV]LSYVFIGSQIW EHE]ƏERHQ]WXSV]GSRXMRYIWƉ


Moving Forward through Our National Health Crisis > > > > > > > > > > T he most recent years of our collective health and

wellbeing have been challenging to say the least. And although we don’t want to be too hasty, it seems fairly safe to say that we’re nearing the end of our long, dark pandemic tunnel and perhaps entering into the next stage of health management for all. Dr. Jeremy Willis, founder and CEO of Priority Toxicology Laboratories, is one of our most dedicated medical professionals who has devoted his life and career to leading the fight in eliminating the uncertainty of our present and ensuring the sustained health of our future. Fascinated by the precision of science in general— and chemistry in particular—from an early age, young Dr. Willis applied himself to his earliest studies, going on to receive his PhD in organic chemistry from Tougaloo College before continuing his post-doctoral work at both the University of Florida and Emory

University. This commitment to the rigors of scientific academia seamlessly dovetailed into generously sharing his gifts through education and mentoring, moving forward into teaching in his chosen field of organic chemistry at renowned Moorehouse College. After his Moorehouse tenure, he followed in his father’s own entrepreneurial footsteps (himself head of his own construction company) when in 2017 Dr. Willis created Priority Toxicology Labs to capably serve the growing needs of the greater Atlanta community with simple, clear and definitive direction-

“Our goal is to help our community become more knowledgeable and ultimately be in control of their health.” > > > > > > > > >


And then just two years into his lab’s burgeoning success in that direction, the entire healthcare landscape changed dramatically. Whether we can consider it fortunate given our circumstances, Dr. Willis had nonetheless positioned his lab to be the rock which breaks the crashing waves of an ongoing

healthcare catastrophe very few of us imagined possible. Dr. Willis and his Priority Toxicology Laboratories team were there and remain rock steady even as we all move through to what we all hope are the final stages of our health crisis. When asked to best describe the most current need for continued community testing, vaccination and healthcare vigilance in the face of Covid’s latest variation, their simple, clear and effective directions from the start remain vital- · Be Proactive, Not Reactive · Get Tested · Get Vaccinated/Boosted · Knowledge is Power.

> >

Moving Forward through Our National Health Crisis > > > > > > > >CONTINUED "Our goal is to help our community become more knowledgeable and ultimately be in control of their health."


> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >

new infections but given the complex nature of the testing availability—and failure to adequately test—for each new variant, the newest priority for Priority Laboratories is to make every effort at securing responsible funding for their most vulnerable communities. The hope for Priority’s near future is that funding will be secured and the team can refocus on the vital need for drug treatment and rehabilitation work, specifically in the pain management space which has already been suffering through our ongoing national opioid crisis. Especially in his most vulnerable communities, Dr. Willis has witnessed real national concern from the top down, but has yet to hear the call for a federal mandate to test for opioid as well as other substance abuse problems which, in his expert and very experienced opinion, may indeed go a very long way towards tackling a growing problem that has thus far become a critical runaway. Our national future and our national health are inextricably tied together and clearly, the vital work of Dr. Willis and Priority Laboratories are there to help us all reach our best health and our brightest future together.

Yet Dr. Willis sees our future soberly if optimistically. He expects that we may all suffer some degree of ongoing PTSD- like symptoms after our long and stressful healthcare nightmare but that we’ll most likely be able to effectively deal with any and all future Covid variations much more in line with an average flu season run. Of course within Priority’s most underserved community, new challenges are now rising which demand attention.Among these most urgent is securing adequate funding for the uninsured. As one negative result of the pandemic’s loosening grip, starting in late March Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) funding has begun to dry up which very unfortunately directly effects the uninsured with immediate impact. Along with this concern for our government’s approach moving forward, Dr. Willis recently shared that testing is also unfortunately decreasing, especially for the uninsured, and he fears that a “domino effect” may cause a health setback that could otherwise be safely and securely avoided with proper healthcare funding extended to vulnerable underserved communities. Today’s tentative good news, on the other hand, is that the Priority team has thus far not detected any significant increase in

> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > CONTACT PRIORITY TOXICOLOGY TODAY! CALL: 770.681.0004 VISIT ONLINE: VISIT IN-PERSON: 6781 Londonderry Way, SUITE 4 Union City, GA 30291


P riority Laboratories utilizes the most sophisticated and precise equipment and technology available. The laboratory is divided into two departments, Infectious Disease and Toxicology, both programs utilizing the most advance methodologies currently on the market. Our programs provide the most accurate and timely results available giving providers and patients confidence in their results like never before. All of this while providing unsurpassed customer service. Our clients truly become part of the Priority Family! With a large emphasis on veterans and minorities, our goal is to help our community become more knowledgeable and ultimately be in control of their health.

CONTACT US TODAY CALL: 770.681.0004 VISIT ONLINE: VISIT IN-PERSON: 6781 Londonderry Way, SUITE 4, Union City, GA 30291



STAND is dedicated to providing comprehensive solutions to those with complex and compounded social issues and diseases through evidence-based training, education, and interventions that will empower all to engage in healthy productive lifestyles. Mission... STAND aspires to be a globally recognized force in creating hope, power, and self-determination for individuals suffering from complex and compounded social issues and diseases. Vision... STAND, Inc.


3486 Covington Hwy, Decatur, GA 30032 Standing to Achieve New Direction STAND, INC.


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