SOMERSET, NJ - Chris Christie visited the Center for Great Expectations to show support, give words of encouragement, and to let clients know they don't need to suffer from substance abuse or mental illness alone, on Sept. 20 in Somerset. 

"The governor has visited four times," Peg Wright, founder and CEO said. "He has a passionate interest in individuals and families suffering from substance use disorders. It is wonderful for our clients to hear his unconditional support and admiration for their courage to break the cycle."

Governor Christie discusses the importance of removing the stigma of substance abuse to help speed up recovery efforts.  

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The Center for Great Expectations is a nonprofit mental health/substance abuse treatment organization which operates with a trauma proprietary C.A.R.E. (Culture, Approach, Relationship, Empower) model.

The trauma C.A.R.E. model strives to create a culture of positive reinforcement while "providing a perfect level of limit-setting and consequences." C.A.R.E.'s approach takes into account how past trauma can become a barrier to recovery, and encourages "staff to engage in self-care and self-regulation skills so they can respond to dysregulated clients in a helpful and trauma-informed manner, and acknowledging the reality of secondary traumatic stress." Relationship building is also a key element of C.A.R.E., and the belief is "what is damaged in relationships can be healed through relationships." Finally, through the C.A.R.E. model, clients are empowered so they can be their own best advocate when it comes to designing their treatment plan and recovery efforts. 

"We are a gender-specific trauma-informed continuum of care which includes residential, outpatient and supportive housing for men, women, and children," Wright said. "We serve over 200 individuals annually and depend on financial support from the community."

The Center for Great Expectations provides families with residential and outpatient treatment, in addition to developmental day care and supportive housing. The goal is to give families a safe comfortable place for treatment, which encompasses rebuilding self-esteem and healthy relationships while focusing on breaking the cycle of substance use, abuse neglect, and homelessness. 

The Center for Great Expectations' Community Development Manager, Noreen Whittemore provided some ways the community can get involved with the center. 

"By sponsoring a donation drive/fundraiser with your friends, company, community or house of worship, sponsor a baby shower for an expectant mother," Whittemore said. "Sponsor a coin collection to benefit our babies – we can provide the baby bottles. Donate gift cards, and most importantly, make monetary donations."

The community is also invited to come to the center for a tour and to visit Katy's Place. The center also looks to develop partnerships with local businesses, schools, houses of worship, chambers, women’s clubs and the like.  

"We are grateful to have several corporate supporters that offer service hours or volunteer days which are vital to our organization," Whittemore said. 

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