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Townhall II plans picnic to better connect with community

Isabella Schreck
Townhall II is located at 155 N Water St, Kent, OH 44240.

The members of Townhall II, an addiction and mental health agency in downtown Kent, hope to spread its intention to make its entire community sanctuary-based and trauma-informed at its picnic Thursday. 

The event will run from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. at the Hometown Bank Plaza in downtown Kent. 

The picnic will be held in Hometown Bank Plaza on Oct. 5. (Isabella Schreck)

“The point of it is really just to reach out to the community,” said Tamera Hunter, Townhall II’s CEO. “It’s to let the community know how important identifying and addressing trauma and creating a safe space is for not just our clients but the entire community as a whole. We want people to get to know us more so that if there are things that happen in their lives, they feel comfortable and connected with us to come and talk about those things. ”

The organization, located at 155 N. Water St. in downtown Kent, will start its lunch cookout around noon. A barbeque dinner will run from 4 – 6 p.m. 

Chrissy Strong, an Akron-based indie artist, will share her recovery from addiction in her “Music & Message” performance at 5 p.m. 

Speakers at the event will talk about trauma and its impact on everyone’s life, Hunter said, along with Townhall’s resources.

Becoming a Sanctuary Institute Organization

The Sanctuary Institute offers training and other resources to organizations, promoting commitments to nonviolence, democracy, social responsibility, growth and change, inquiry and social learning, open communication and emotional intelligence, according to its website. It runs through the non-profit company Andrus headquartered in New York. 

The sanctuary model is a trauma-informed and evidence-based practice, Hunter said, which means there is an emphasis on understanding the effects of trauma on a person or groups of people.  

During the beginning of the model’s three-year certification process, Hunter said an organization must work to identify problematic things inside the organization and find ways to address them in a healthy way. In the second and third year of the model, the group then takes that insight and growth and moves through clinical practices and interventions with its clients and the community. 

Hunter described the model as “therapeutic and fantastic” for her organization.  

“The model just really blew me away in terms of the impact of trauma not just on our clients, but within our work based systems and within our staff,” she said. “The holistic approach was just so powerful to me.”

“Everyone experiences some kind of trauma. So it’s really what resources you have internal and external to be able to address that and so we’re trying to get out there and teach people about that.”

Resources and seeking help

Hunter, who has worked as Townhall II’s CEO for three years, said the organization sees about 1,000 clients a year. 

Due to the COVID-19 and opioid epidemics, Hunter said Townhall II has seen a “massive” response from community members saying they need resources. While the organization works to move people from its waitlists as quickly as it can, finding enough people to serve clients has been a “big challenge.” 

“That’s something huge – a big story that we’re trying to talk about and address throughout the entire system in the state of Ohio,” Hunter said. 

Townhall II provides emergency services, with a 24/7 helpline answered by crisis intervention specialists. Services include mental health and substance abuse treatments and counseling, and alcohol, drug and gambling prevention.

Townhall II is also the Portage County Rape Crisis Center, and it offers sexual assault and abuse support groups, victim counseling, assistance in taking legal action and safety plans, among other resources. 

The organization is in every school district across Portage County with prevention education for students. 

People can reach Townhall II’s 24/7 helpline at (330) 678-4357 (HELP). The organization is also the designated ​helpline for the Suicide Crisis Lifeline, which can be reach at 988 via call or text.  

“Don’t be afraid to reach out,” Hunter said. “You can call anonymously, saying, ‘Hey, I’m looking for these resources, can you help me?’ It’s okay to ask for help, because everybody needs help.”

If you or someone you know are having thoughts of suicide or are experiencing emotional distress, call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or call Townhall II’s helpline at (330) 678-4357 (HELP). A list of campus hotlines and resources, as well as outside resources and other information, can be found here

Isabella Schreck is editor-in-chief. Contact her at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Isabella Schreck, Editor-in-Chief
Izzy is a junior journalism major who loves reading, writing, talking — and most importantly, asking a lot of questions. She previously was Sports Editor and a sports and general assignment reporter. She loves learning about other peoples’ stories and is grateful for the opportunity to share them with the public! Contact her at [email protected].

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