Jan 30, 2024
Community Collaboration of Delaware is committed to highlighting staff members who go above and beyond to support the local community and the people that we serve. Over the next couple of months, we plan to conduct a series of staff interviews that will provide us with a wonderful opportunity to recognize our staff for the great work they do, while introducing them to the community at large. The first interview within this series will focus on two great guys doing great things in the recovery community.
Within the heart of Community Collaboration of Delaware's CARE Program, two dedicated individuals, Dom and CJ, stand as pillars of support and inspiration. Their journey intertwines with the very essence of CCD's mission, embodying resilience, compassion, and the transformative power of community. Both Dom and CJ first came to CCD as residents, eventually moving into roles as house managers. They are both now case managers, providing supportive services to our residents. Together, they bring firsthand understanding and unwavering commitment to their roles, fostering hope and empowerment within the community they serve.
How long have you worked for CCD?
Dom: I’ve been at CCD since June 2022. After having been a resident, I was hired as a house manager and now I’m a case manager.
CJ: I've worked as a case manager since April 2023, I've also been a house manager since September of 2022.
What do you like most about your job?
Dom: What I like most about my job is the gift of giving back the same help that was given to me. I get to learn new skills and I’ve learned how to be more professional.
CJ: What I like most about my job is that I myself started as a resident of 7th Street. I had to go through the whole process of being a resident at 7th Street, and now iI get to offer the same help and guidance that was offered to me by my old case manager Greg.
What is your greatest work-related accomplishment (for CCD)?
Dom: My greatest work accomplishment is when you get to see a resident take the next steps in their treatment process and eventually learn how to live life on life’s terms. Knowing you were a big part of assisting them and showing the blueprint of how to overcome addiction is amazing.
CJ: I think my greatest accomplishment is gaining Kim's trust that I can represent CCD at events, trainings, and different events that Dom and I have been asked to go to.
Who came up with the recovery group name Sober Gang?
Dom: The story of Sober gang was originally a thought of my imagination. I used to go to meetings and feel like recovery can be more like a family thing. I wanted to feel the same way I felt at CCD like I was home and AA meetings I feel were missing that. So, me being a goofy and funny guy I remember writing ‘’Sober Gang’’ all over my sketch pads and I would go around screaming it to people in a hilarious way. Next thing I know more people were repeating it back to me when I saw them when people saw CCD they would say: ‘’Oh snap there goes the sober gang!’’ I kept getting messages and texts asking about what sober gang is. So, I sat with my co-worker and good friend of mine CJ, and I asked what if we could turn this into a meeting? CJ made so many calls and used all his connections, and a few months later we were holding meetings. When you walk into Sober Gang you feel at home.
CJ: Dom came up with Sober Gang, just something he used to say at different NA/AA meetings and at work. Myself and a couple friends were also looking to start our own meeting, so when we decided to go for it we all knew the name HAD to be Sober Gang.
How long has the group been active in the recovery community?
Dom and CJ: We started a Sober Gang group on Facebook in June of last year, and we started meeting that August. The Facebook group now has over 600 members, the majority being recovering addicts and recovering alcoholics, as well as people affected by addiction in some way shape or form.
When/ where does the group meet?
Dom and CJ: The Sober Gang meets every Thursday @ 8:30pm at Journey Church, 721 E Chestnut Hill Rd.
Best/ most impactful memory that has come from this group?
Dom: The greatest memory was seeing a group of great people whom I call family wear a hoodie with the logo that I created. It then made me realize that nothing should ever be kept inside. That if you keep a thought in your head then it stays a thought.
CJ: The most impactful thing to me is how many people (whom I've never met before) have come up to me to tell me how Sober Gang has positively influenced their friends and family members. Just this past Sunday at Church I was approached again by a mother who recognized me from pictures shared in the Sober Gang Facebook group shown to her by her sister. She said "I have never met you but I know your name is CJ and that you're apart of Sober Gang, my sister is a part of the group and I just want you to know that you guys have really touched people and make a difference.”
As the conversation unfolds, it becomes evident that Dom and CJ epitomize the spirit of service and the profound impact of second chances. Through their shared experiences and unwavering dedication, they illuminate the path of recovery, offering solace, guidance, and the invaluable gift of belonging. From the inception of the Sober Gang—a testament to camaraderie and resilience—to the heartfelt testimonials echoing the transformative power of community, Dom and CJ's journey encapsulates the essence of hope and renewal. Their unwavering commitment not only shapes the present but also inspires a future where every individual finds solace, support, and the unwavering belief in the possibility of redemption. Within the tapestry of CCD's CARE Program, Dom and CJ stand as beacons of light, illuminating the path towards healing and wholeness with each step they take.