Letter to the Editor

A Privilege to Serve My Hometown Community

Dear Charlestown Community,

Some of you may already know that I recently transitioned from my role at the Charlestown Coalition as Program Manager of Addiction and Recovery Services into a new role as the Director of Recovery and Community Engagement at a brand new recovery center in Danvers Massachusetts called Chapters.

I don’t even know where to start in describing my time at the Charlestown Coalition and having the privilege to serve my hometown community for the last 14 years. Being able to work in the same town I grew up in, the town I lived in during my active addiction, and the town I recovered in has not only transformed the Charlestown community in the way we look at and treat addiction, but it has also transformed me personally and professionally in ways I never imagined.

I started volunteering at Charlestown Coalition formerly known as Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition (CSAC) in 2007 facilitating an evidence based, prevention, curriculum designed to prevent the onset of risky behaviors in our local middle schools.

Not long after, I became the administrative assistant not knowing that my former supervisor Beth Rosenshein had other plans in store when a grant opportunity became available called MassCall2. Through MassCall2, local communities received grants with the primary objectives of saving the lives of those with opiate addiction and creating awareness about opioid overdose prevention.

By conducting many community, focus, groups Charlestown came up with two strategies:

1.       A Drop-In Recovery Center: A place where we would offer support, resources, education, wellness groups etc… to individuals, families and youth impacted by addiction.

2.       A Community Outreach Navigator: A support person who would help folks navigate the systems and connect them to the appropriate levels of care and resources.

We didn’t have the right space or the funds to go with strategy one,  so we went with strategy two. The interview process began and many applied for the job, it wasn’t something I thought I was qualified to do or maybe I just really doubted myself too much back then but I did not apply and didn’t plan on it. I will never forget the day when my boss at the time said “are you going to apply for this job? There are letters and emails coming in from the community, asking to see you in this role. I was shocked, I cried because the bigger part of me wanted this job and I knew I could do it and do it well.

In my role as a Community Health Worker and a Recovery Coach I developed a relationship-based system of linkages continuum of care services to prevent and reduce the risks associated with substance use disorders and occurrences of overdoses. The focus of this system revolved around a community-based referral system, relapse prevention, and post overdose intervention. My work was so successful that it was used as a model for a new system of care for the entire Mass General system.

In an effort to support my clients who often interfaced with the court and carceral system, I forged relationships with attorneys, probation officers, court officials, and judges as I advocated for my clients with heart and compassion. Through these relationships I played a key role in partnership with the Charlestown Division of the Boston Municipal Court to form the court’s first specialized drug session: The Charlestown Addiction Recovery Treatment program, now referred to as “Recovery Court.”

In 2018, I was promoted to Program Manager of Addiction and Recovery Services where I oversaw all addiction and recovery initiatives of the Charlestown Coalition.

The people I have built close relationships with over the years – my co-workers, organizations, schools and businesses, and of course the entire community as a whole is something I will always cherish and remember fondly. I have witnessed firsthand the beauty, resiliency, and the strength of the Charlestown community time and time again. I feel extremely blessed to have worked for such a long period of time in the same community. A community that has been my home my entire life. I have had the honor of watching many stories unfold and witnessing many triumph’s. And although I will miss it dearly, just know I am not too far away and I will still be part of the Charlestown Trauma Team.

I am excited for this new beginning in my career at Chapters Recovery Center and the opportunity to help build a successful program that inspires and motivates recovery that is lasting and transformative. 

Thank you,

Shannon Lundin

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