Few years compared to 2020. The past year forced everyone, including all of us at The GateHouse, to face new hurdles – many of which seemed insurmountable at the time.
Yet, despite its struggles, 2020 showed us how resilient we truly are.
The flip to a new calendar year certainly doesn’t mean that the challenges brought on by the pandemic are fully behind us. But it does provide an opportunity to reflect on the collective resilience we built in 2020 and how that resilience and strength are carrying us all forward into the new year.
Our Executive Director, Jodi Holland, did just that when we sat down to discuss what lies ahead for The GateHouse in 2021.
Q: What was 2020 like for you, your team, and your clients, especially when the pandemic began in March?
Jodi Holland: Like everyone else, we were thrown into lockdown and had to completely rethink everything about our services. During the first half of 2020, we had to focus on stability and keeping our services operational for our clients.
Addiction recovery is meant to take place in-person with counselors and the support of family and peers. When the pandemic hit and the lockdown began, we were challenged to provide the same services as we did prior to COVID, but while isolating to keep clients and staff safe from the virus. It was the hardest challenge we faced during the early days of the pandemic.
Q: Despite the challenges, 2020 did mark several milestones for The GateHouse. Describe some of those.
JH: Yes, 2020 was a difficult year for us, for sure, but we also celebrated several accomplishments.
I’m proud to say that The GateHouse opened three new houses in 2020, which is a lot of work in a typical year, let alone during a pandemic. Two of the houses are new recovery houses, a part of our transitional living services. The third is a Residential Extended Care house for women in Marietta and we converted our Mountville house to our second male-only location.
We also implemented a new electronic health record, or EHR, system, which is no easy task. We were completely paper-based before 2020 and went cold turkey to an all-electronic system last year. There’s a huge learning curve when a facility makes the switch to an EHR. It’s a big adjustment.
Each of those accomplishments is a testament to our incredible staff and their dedication to our mission. They never stopped working hard for our clients.
Q: Now that we’ve turned the corner into 2021, what are you most looking forward to in the new year as restrictions ease?
JH: Recovery is about connection. But during quarantine, we had to isolate which is the opposite of what we want taking place during long-term recovery.
In 2021, I’m most looking forward to getting everyone at The GateHouse back together in person. Getting our clinicians back to meeting face-to-face with clients and hosting group meetings will be our big focus as soon as we’re permitted to by the state.
We’re also working to get our clients back out into the community wherever possible. We want to help them reconnect with family as soon as it’s safe to do so, help them find employment again, and provide them with as many resources as we can to empower their recovery journey.
Q: What are some of The GateHouse’s longer-term goals that you’ll be focused on in 2021?
JH: From an administrative standpoint, we’re looking at how to strengthen our financial stability. For us, that means keeping houses full. We’re putting significant attention on development and fundraising this year. Building more relationships within the community and working with our current supporters will be a huge focus for us. We’re also looking at adding much-needed services for women and children which we’ll be exploring this year.
Our primary goal in 2021 is to simply get back to normal and continue our mission. We have a lot of work to do to further support our community and, like everyone I think, we have high hopes that 2021 is the year that gets us there.
Q: What from 2020 will you remember most and carry with you into 2021? Perhaps a success or a lesson learned?
JH: When I look back on 2020, I’ll remember how the staff at The GateHouse rose to the occasion. Every single staff member stayed dedicated to our clients and our mission. Whether working from home or in-person as an essential worker, they came to work to serve our clients every day – even at the beginning of the pandemic when we weren’t sure exactly what challenges the virus would present.
They worked to make adjustments to programming and set up virtual zoom calls so clients could still have access to counseling sessions and group outpatient meetings. They made it happen.
I’m extremely proud of our organization. I believe 2020 was a success when you look at all of the progress we made during this challenging year. We were able to continue operations and successfully served our clients in all levels of care. That says a lot about who we are as an organization.
The GateHouse provides long-term addiction recovery services to clients throughout Lancaster County, PA. We help our clients access the services and resources they need to return and contribute to their communities. Our entire team at The GateHouse would love to help you with your next step in recovery. Reach out to us today!