Tarzana Treatment Centers College, Continuity Consulting, Valley State Prison

The VSP Team from Tarzana Treatment Centers College, Continuity Consulting, and Legacy Alliance Outreach

Youth Peer Mentor Program, Tarzana Treatment Centers College, Graduation

Participants from the Youth Peer Mentor Program Express Gratitude for the Support of Tarzana Treatment Centers College

Tarzana Treatment Centers College, Youth Peer Support Program

Tarzana Treatment Centers College provides Academic Resources for Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Training for Valley States Prison Participants

TTCC has been an amazing partner since January 2022. Our organizations are perfectly aligned around vision, values, and the impact we hope to make in our communities.”

— Keith Aldrich

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, USA, April 24, 2023/EINPresswire.com/ — “I was a hurt person who hurt people, and now I am a whole person who has healed. Rather than hurting, today I help lead people through the process of healing.”
— Marcos Santistevan

Tarzana Treatment Centers College (TTCC) has teamed with Continuity Consulting, Inc. to train inmates in Valley State Prison (VSP). The participants are Youthful Offender Program (YOP) mentors incarcerated at VSP. Therefore, the VSP Youthful Offender Program (YOP) mentors are given the opportunity to become Certified Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialists. By turning TTCC’s online curriculum into weekly hardcopy packets with assignments for the inmate participants to complete, Tarzana Treatment Centers College is proud to support Continuity Consulting and the VSP Peer Support Program.

In its role, TTCC develops the curriculum packets, while Continuity Consulting, Inc. operates the program at VSP, providing instruction and facilitating groups in collaboration with their partner Legacy Alliance Outreach. It is an 80-hour certification program overseen by California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA). TTCC is an approved education provider by CalMHSA.

Upon first completing Continuity Consulting’s 12-week YPMP Tier 1 Program (Mindfully Exploring Substance Use), the 42 participants at Valley State Prison enrolled in the YPMP Tier 2 Program (Peer Mentor/Peer Support Specialist). Working as a team, Continuity Consulting and Legacy Alliance Outreach placed the TTCC curriculum in the hands of the participants.

After 15 classes and multiple assignments over three weeks, the Continuity Consulting facilitators collected over 1,500 pages of handwritten homework each week. The homework was then returned to TTCC to be graded and processed. A major part of TTCC’s mission as a college is to provide such resources for communities and programs that help those in need.

An integrated community-based healthcare organization accredited by The Joint Commission, Tarzana Treatment Centers, Inc. (TTC) started the college in 2020. TTCC is the learning and development division of the nonprofit. As an extension of the college’s greater mission, the Youth Peer Mentor Program at Valley State Prison expands TTCC’s reach and impact.

On April 4, 2023, Continuity Consulting held a graduation ceremony for the VSP participants, where they received their certificates of completion. Forty-two men from the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialists program graduated with lunch following. With over 150 people at the event, including Acting Warden M. McVay, the attendees included TTCC staff, VSP staff, DHCS representatives, Continuity Consulting staff, Legacy Alliance Staff, and, of course, family and friends of the participants.

The program designates the participants as peer support specialists. By becoming more qualified mentors to youthful offenders at VSP, the program prepares participants for meaningful employment upon release. It is not surprising the VSP Program is proving successful. After all, the Youth Peer Mentor Program at Valley State Prison is based on a Norwegian prison model that has proven to lead to successful rehabilitation.

Through access to educational services that enable comprehensive care, TTCC helps to provide participants with the skills needed to work with and support the young men in the Youthful Offender Program at VSP. In this partnership, TTCC honors Continuity Consulting’s work in managing the statewide Youth Peer Mentor Program (YPMP) under the umbrella of a California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) contract.

The President of Continuity Consulting, Keith Aldrich, explains: “Our aim is to drive transformative, evidence-based solutions that produce measurable outcomes. The Valley State Prison Program is part of our efforts to provide culturally responsive substance use education, prevention, harm reduction, and expansive experiences to youth and young adults. Our partnership with VSP supports our vision for helping individuals, especially those with lived experience, to enter the substance use disorder treatment field as working professionals once they return to their communities.”

A perfect example of Continuity Consulting’s successful efforts is the work of Joaquin Jordan, the Social Impact Consultant, who leads the statewide Youth Peer Mentor Program (YPMP), funded through a contract with the DHCS. Joaquin Jordan came to Continuity Consulting after serving 24 years in custody at the California Department of Corrections Adult Institutions and seven years in juvenile detention.

In 2015 Joaquin became the first inmate in California to have his sentence recommended for recall for exceptional behavior. In 2018, Governor Jerry Brown commuted his sentence. His firsthand experience informs the VSP program.

Joaquin Jordan explains, “Being a former prisoner, it is an honor for me to facilitate the delivery of this program to other incarcerated men. Indeed, anything that allows for such professional development is a value add for the prisons. You need to see firsthand the level of engagement and the seriousness with which the prisoners take their participation. It is clear that they deeply desire this opportunity. As a result, everyone in the program is on task 100% of the time. It becomes an integral part of giving their lives meaning and purpose.”

Overall, the VSP Program is doing the work that every prison in the nation should be designed to do. Rather than turn inmates into better criminals, the program turns participants into better human beings, providing opportunity and hope. As a former Valley State prisoner who completed the program, Marcos Santistevan illuminates the value of working with TTCC:

“After being imprisoned for nineteen years, adjusting to the outside world is challenging. I genuinely appreciate the support of Tarzana Treatment Centers College. I never felt alone because they directed me to everything I needed. When I was stressed or anxious, they talked me through those difficulties and kept me moving forward. I was proud when I became a Certified Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist. Soon I will become certified as a Substance Use Disorder Counselor. This program gave me a meaningful and rewarding path to walk.”

Indeed, Keith Aldrich is proud of the work Continuity Consulting is doing with TTCC to make the VSP Program happen. He explains, “TTCC has been an amazing partner since January 2022. Our organizations are perfectly aligned around vision, values, and the impact we hope to make in our communities.”

Ashley McGowan
Tarzana Treatment Centers College
+1 818-654-3955
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