Living Recovered – McCord Henry’s Fundraiser for Haymarket Center

Five years liberated from my obsession with alcohol. I do not use the word obsession lightly. When you are gripped by booze, it takes over your body, your mind — your life. 

“Am I drinking too much? Can I stop? Do I want to stop?” I would ponder these questions hour-by-hour for years. It’s been 1,821 days since those thoughts ruled my head, and I cannot tell you the freedom I feel having my mind (and my time) back. To be able to consistently wake up and trust myself is a luxury I try not to take for granted. 

On Sunday, October 9, 2022, I will run the Chicago Marathon. I am partnering with the Haymarket Center in Chicago, a nonprofit recovery center, to raise $5,000. You can contribute to our Living Recovered fund by donating directly below. They have been kind enough to set up this page specifically for this campaign. 

I started #livingrecovered to shed light on the disease of addiction and to show another way to recovery. There are multiple paths that lead to addiction, and I believe there are multiple paths out of it. I have found mine. If you are struggling and need assistance, please reach out. Two things to remember: the choice to change can only be made by you, and you are not alone.

Much love,
McCord Henry

Follow McCord’s journey on Instagram at @mccordhenry and @scriptedwit.

Volunteer Highlight: Meet Rebecca

A key but often overlooked part of the Haymarket community is the number of volunteers who assist clinical and administrative staff in fulfilling the mission of our Center. Our volunteers came from many different backgrounds and walks of life, but all are united in their compassion for those needing support in their recovery journeys. 

One such volunteer is Rebecca*, who is among Haymarket’s most dependable and admired volunteers. Rebecca sat down with us for a short interview for this newsletter. 

What initially drew you to Haymarket Center as a volunteer? Why motivates you to continue volunteering?

I knew I wanted to volunteer to give back what was so freely given to me. A friend of mine was volunteering at Haymarket and she loved it. She invited me to come along one day. The clients were so real and open with me, that I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

I kept coming back because it was so personally rewarding. To witness and share in the clients’ journeys is a huge honor. To see their bravery in taking honest self-appraisals, their determination to improve their situations, and their willingness to learn, grow and try new things…. – this is hard, HARD work! To share in their experience literally benefits me because it reminds and fuels me to also work to be the best that I can be. When we share our personal investigations with each other, we notice the similarities, and we motivate and learn from each other.

Do you have a favorite memory from your time with Haymarket? If so, please describe it.

I got the very special gift of watching people change. By sticking around for a while, I got to witness clients gain clarity. I got to see them face their fears, lay down some defenses, find some inner strength and resources, reunite with inner selves, and take on some new beliefs and behaviors. I’ve also been lucky enough to watch clients share their strength and knowledge with other clients. The camaraderie and support among clients recovering, healing, and growing together – when they support and care for each other, inspires me.

Based on your experience, what is one resource that you wish Haymarket had in greater supply in order to better serves its patients?

More staff. The staff is incredible! It’s easy to volunteer and come in once/week to pitch in, but the staff is there all the time. The staff are the ones who the clients really attach to and learn from. There is so much need – I wish we could have so much more help. 

Do you volunteer elsewhere in addition to Haymarket? If so, where?
Yes, I’ve volunteered at other mental health and recovery centers… various places when I can.

Passionate individuals like Rebecca are the reason Haymarket Center is able to help those struggling with substance use disorder. If you’re interested in volunteering, please reach out to Sarah English, VP of Development at

*Name changed at the request of our volunteer

START Program Offers Hope to Survivors in Recovery

Often when seeking recovery, individuals find themselves in traumatic situations worsened by substance use disorder. At Haymarket Center, all aspects of treatment are considered, especially for those who find themselves victims of human trafficking and those who have turned to sex work. Haymarket Center offers one of the only programs in the country focused on simultaneously treating substance use disorder and trauma associated with human trafficking and sex work.

Through outreach efforts and referrals from other agencies, we can expand access to care by offering trauma services 24-hours a day to women in need of help. Many of these patients enter this program through referrals from the Human Trafficking Hotline, Cook County Sheriff, and clergy, as well as through our Outreach at Chicago’s Prostitution and Trafficking Intervention Court and Bond Court. As participants come in, they meet with the START recovery coach and trauma counselor who provide crisis intervention, assessments, and linkage to on-site services to meet their immediate needs.

“Patients come from being trafficked and move onto sex work because it becomes their way of life,” says Marie Day, Manager on our MOMs unit, “A lot of these patients enter the program on their own because they are tired of the lifestyle and want to make a change.”

Our project trauma counselor and recovery coach provide recovery planning, linkage to services, motivational enhancement, and weekly sessions for patients using evidence-based curriculum. Women are admitted to an appropriate onsite treatment program based on their assessed level of need such as Haymarket’s residential program designed for women with corrections backgrounds or Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) program for women.

“In 28 days, we address all aspects of trauma, and it was a pretty wide impact on our patients,” Marie continues, “We see a lot of successful discharges from this program.”

Utilizing the recovery coaching model, the dedicated project recovery coach maintains contact with the patient, even after she leaves Haymarket, for a year, making sure she is connected to health care and other services and supports she needs. The coach will meet with each woman to develop a recovery/re-entry plan; link them to services on site or in the community; encourage them to identify potential relapse triggers; and provide re-engagement into treatment in the event of a drug relapse.

Haymarket Center receives funding for START from the VNA Foundation.

Peer Recovery Specialist Program offers Job Training with Purpose

At Haymarket Center, we guide patients through every step of their recovery, including what recovery looks like after treatment when re-entering the job force. Through extensive training, our career navigation model takes an individualized look at the future professional paths of those in treatment. In addition to GED lessons, our Family Enrichment Center offers computer skills training, job-readiness training, and many other programs to help recovering patients secure employment and set themselves up for success.

Through a grant received from the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, Haymarket Center is now offering patients who have completed treatment the opportunity to pursue a career as a Certified Recovery Support Specialist. In addition to helping patients seeking meaningful employment, the program has a dual benefit of addressing the shortage of behavioral health professionals by training individuals with lived experience.

“For about 12-15 weeks, patients learn the ins and outs, earn their CEUs and receive training to become recovery specialists,” says Kimberley Watts, Family Enrichment Center Manager, “the goal is to train them in a purposeful way and help support our programs.”

This program helps to alleviate some of the employment barriers faced by those in recovery, as many patients who enter Haymarket for treatment are unemployed and have limited education. For this training, individuals only need their high school diploma or GED, which can be attained through our FEC. In order to receive their certification, individuals must participate in 100 hours of classroom education, 100 hours of hands-on supervised recovery support work, and 2,000 hours of work in the field.

What makes peer recovery specialists unique is their ability to connect with people struggling with substance use disorder because they have experienced of achieving sobriety firsthand. Those connections make all the difference in the lives of those seeking treatment. “So far, the participants in this program are doing an excellent job,” Kim says, “many of our clients feel as though Haymarket has been the foundation for their recovery, and this is an opportunity to give back to the programs that have helped them so much.”

Whether these trained professionals continue their career at Haymarket or move on to other opportunities to help the community, they are helping to increase access to services in the substance use disorder field. We are thankful to our Certified Recovery Specialists like Loretta and Melinda for not only their hard work as members of our staff, but also for their ability to make a greater impact on patients here at Haymarket Center. You can help us increase access to care for patients taking the next step in their path to recovery by making a gift today. Visit our Ways to Give page for more information on how you can support Haymarket Center.

Client Voices in Color: How Gala Artwork Keeps Our Mission Alive

When planning a fundraising event like a Gala, there are a lot of moving parts to ensure the success of the event. No detail can be forgotten in the process, including framing the event around an organization’s mission. Every year, our event committee makes it their goal to keep our fundraising event focused on the individuals that are affected by substance use disorder the most – our patients.

For over five years, Tanya Davis, a Haymarket Center Board Member and our Event Committee Chair, has organized a patient art project that we incorporate into our fundraising event with the help of volunteer artist Kriste Sveen of Inspired Creations. “We wanted to make sure that the event is focused on the voice of our clients,” Tanya says, “Fundraisers are so much more than a night out. These art projects give humanity a face.” Kriste and Tanya agree that our event committee members have a heart for people, and the committee is honored to give back to the patients using art.

An example of Neurographic art

This year’s project will feature patient Neurographic drawings, a method of illustration that puts the creator in touch with their emotions through a physical manifestation on the page. Through channeling their emotions, the creator takes three to four seconds to move their marker whichever way comes to mind. Then, when the page is filled with various shapes and lines, the patient carefully rounds out the edges. The process is meant to help the creator let go of negative emotions as they pass through the lines.

“It’s a privilege to bring art to different communities like Haymarket Center,” Kriste said, “Patients can use the medium as a form of self-expression and tap into a place that words cannot convey.” “The stigma surrounding substance use disorders often makes people forget that patients have an actual story,” Tanya adds, “The art serves a greater purpose that allows a patient presence that would not otherwise be at the event.” Patient artwork will be featured on each table at this year’s Gala as part of the main centerpiece, along with descriptions of the pieces from each artist.

You can check out the artwork created by patients at our 2022 Haymarket Gala, virtually or in person on April 9th at the Advocate Center in Chicago. Your support through your ticket purchase increases access to substance use disorder services at Haymarket Center. Get your tickets here.

The Latest Update on Haymarket DuPage – December 3rd

Last week, Itasca Mayor Jeff Pruyn released a statement to residents announcing that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is investigating the Village of Itasca for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) related to the zoning application for Haymarket DuPage.

U.S. Attorney John Lausch notified the Village of its probe in a letter dated Nov. 24, 2021, in which he stated, “the ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including individuals with substance use disorder.” The Village released the U.S. Attorney’s letter with its statement yesterday.

In the letter, the DOJ requested information specific to the Village’s handling of our zoning application, the hearing process and requirements, and communication between the Village, its experts, consultants and other taxing bodies. The DOJ also requested information about how other nonprofit or business applications for special use permits have been handled since 2005, as well as documentation for how the Fire Protection District and School District have participated in other matters.

The Village has 30 days to respond.

We welcome this investigation. You can read more about it in the Chicago Tribune and Daily Herald, or hear about it on WBBM-780.

Thank you for your ongoing support in our effort to expand access to life-saving treatment for people with substance use disorders.

FEC Kitchen Home to Haymarket Meals, New Career Opportunities

One year ago, Haymarket Center opened a fully operational kitchen where over 900 meals and snacks per day are prepared for our residential patients. Clients in our Ann F. Baum Family Enrichment Center (FEC) programming can now work in the kitchen and gain job experience while earning sanitation and food handling certifications. Aramark, the company we partner with to provide food services at our facility, launched IN2WORK Food Service Training at Haymarket this year.

The training is 22 hours a week and is set to last 6 weeks, at no cost to program participants. Participants will be training in Kitchen Basics and will have the ability to obtain their Serv Safe Manager’s Certification. Just one year into this program, we have seen the IN2WORK program give several patients the confidence, accountability, and team-building skills that they need to kickstart their career in the food industry.

“Here at Aramark, we believe that second chance employment is the right thing to do,” states Trace Ludewig, Field Support Staff for IN2WORK at Aramark, “We want to hire the best candidates for each position, no matter what background they may have. Our unspoken motto is to educate, engage, and employ.” The IN2WORK program humanizes justice-involved individuals as well as those struggling with substance use disorder while reducing the stigma around these issues, creating a path for program participants to find work at Aramark or other fair-chance employers.

Upon completion of this program, participants will have the opportunity to apply for employment within the Aramark organization or one of our other employment partners. These certifications open new doors for patients searching for employment during their recovery, and our staff at FEC provide support every step of the way, including resume development and teaching computer basics to aid patients in completing online job applications.

Finding employment during recovery from a substance use disorder can be a difficult process, especially after justice system involvement. Some may finish their treatment and not know where to start when it comes to the next steps of their career. At Haymarket Center, our goal is not only to provide treatment services, but also to aid our patients throughout the many aspects of recovery as they reintegrate into the community, including the job market.

Our employment and training program through the FEC provides services to individuals with employment barriers and who also require assistance with launching a career or returning to the workforce as tax-paying citizens. While Haymarket partners with companies and other agencies in surrounding areas to find employment opportunities for patients, some of those opportunities are even closer to home.

Job training is just one of the ways Haymarket Center helps to address the social determinants of health for the people we serve. Learn more about our recovery support services here.

Haymarket Receives Re-Accreditation from CARF

As of November 2021, Haymarket Center has been renewed as a CARF-accredited treatment facility for three years, for the 8th consecutive time. This accreditation applies to our Residential and Outpatient Treatment services, as well as our Prevention programs and our governance.

CARF, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, is an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human services. Through accreditation, CARF assists service providers in improving the quality of their services, demonstrating value, and meeting internationally recognized organizational and program standards.

CARF assesses each organization for this accreditation, which includes an on-site visit, and during a time of COVID-19, a series of virtual interviews as part of its survey. During our 2021 survey, CARF found that Haymarket Center had over 100 areas of strength, which is well above average for treatment facilities.

We would like to thank all the members of the staff and Board of Directors involved in this process for helping us achieve this monumental accomplishment. Our CARF Accreditation is an indication of our commitment and dedication to improving the lives of the people we serve at Haymarket.

We are so proud to serve our community with our mission to provide the most comprehensive care, with access 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, regardless of ability to pay. With this new accreditation, we will continue that mission as the provider of choice in the greater Chicago area.

Reviewing a Year of Community with Gratitude

Over this past year, Haymarket Center has been fortunate to collaborate with so many of our partners to bring joy to the lives of our patients. Whether it’s fostering creativity, mouthwatering meals, or providing self-care essentials, we are so grateful to our community for enriching our patients’ lives. Here are some highlights of our organizational partners from the past few months:

Nobu Hotel Chicago
Our neighbors at Nobu Hotel Chicago organized an art supplies drive and dropped off materials for patients who participate in our Art Therapy program. This thoughtful donation helps our patients explore their creativity during their recovery through Art Therapy.

Sisters in Sobriety Transformed Anointed & Healed (SISTAH)
SISTAHs partners with us often to provide support for our patients, including many supplies drives that benefit both our patients and their families. This year, SISTAHs collected backpacks of school supplies for children of patients to kick off the new school year. SISTAHs also held a Mother’s Day event, delivering 60 purses filled with beauty and hygiene products to our patients in Women’s Integrated Treatment. Learn more about their organization here.

FT Cares
FT Cares Foundation began in 2006 as First Trust Cares, an initiative created as a way for the employees of First Trust Portfolios and its affiliates to give back to their communities. In honor of National Recovery Month this year, FT Cares employees held a drive to collect personal care items for the patients of Haymarket Center. Learn more about FT Cares by visiting their website here.

On behalf of all of us at Haymarket Center, we would like to thank these organizations, and the many others we have worked with over the years. If you or someone you know are interested in volunteering with Haymarket Center or donating in-kind gifts, please contact Sarah English, Vice President of Development, at or call (312) 226-7984 ext. 485.

Four-Legged Friends Provide Support During Recovery

Emotional support is essential for individuals struggling with mental health issues, especially for those in recovery. Our team at Haymarket Center works to ensure that all patients feel supported through our residential and outpatient programs. In addition to the services we provide at Haymarket, our partnerships with community organizations add enrichment to the lives of patients, especially when that enrichment comes in the form of friendly, furry faces.

Canine Therapy Corps regularly visits Haymarket and works with patients from our Men’s and Women’s Integrated Treatment programs to provide dog therapy services. Through a six-week curriculum, patients work with the dogs on progressively advanced obedience and agility, culminating in a graduation where each participant demonstrates proficiency in dog handling.

Through this training, clients develop their communication skills, anger management, self-esteem, and self-awareness with the help of their four-legged counterparts. While these build on the skills of our patients, time with these therapy dogs adds a sense of comfort to those in treatment.

Canine Therapy Corps volunteers and our patients celebrate the conclusion of the training period with a graduation ceremony, where patients can take a photo with the volunteer dog they have worked with over the six-week period.

We are so grateful to Canine Therapy Corps volunteers for the joy they bring to both patients and staff at Haymarket Center with each visit. You can learn more about Canine Therapy Corps by visiting their website here.