Woman finds new purpose helping those hurt by addiction


Barbara Shafer family support group

SHAFER

Three years ago, Barbara Shafer lost her daughter to heroin addiction.

About a year later, Ms. Shafer, who had spent 30 years in marketing and publishing, including a stint as publisher of Florida Weekly, realized her purpose had a new direction.

“I knew my life’s mission had changed,” she said. “I wanted to help others who had gone through a similar situation and/or were affected by substance use disorder.”

She began volunteering for Hanley Foundation, a leader in substance use disorder prevention, education, and advocacy for access to quality treatment.

Today, Ms. Shafer has a newly created position at the foundation, which was established more than 30 years ago by Mary Jane and Jack Hanley to give hope to individuals, families and communities affected by substance use disorders. She is the organization’s director of education.

She is responsible for designing and facilitating new education initiatives and identifying funding streams for Hanley Foundation.

She leads weekly forums throughout Palm Beach County for the foundation’s Project C4OPE, a family support group program designed to connect families who share the experience of a loved one who has died of opioid overdose, survived an overdose, or are at high risk for overdose.

Her work is needed more than ever since Palm Beach County leads the state in opioid-related overdose deaths, with more than 600 recorded in 2017 alone and more than 5,000 total opioid overdoses recorded in 2016.

Hanley Foundation has partnered with Palm Beach County and the Southeast Florida Behavioral Health Network on Project C4OPE.

“As a mother, all you want to do is care for your children and not see them suffer,” said Ms. Shafer. “But I learned through my experience that not only is it okay to continue to love someone struggling with addiction or who has overdosed, it’s also important family and friends care for themselves, too. At Hanley Foundation, we understand family and friends often feel judged or inadequate because they could not prevent their loved one’s overdose. I am proud to be working on Project C4OPE and am looking forward to implementing new education programs to enhance the foundation’s mission.”

More and varied educational programming is a priority for Hanley, said CEO Jan Cairnes.

“This position, and Barbara’s extensive background as a skilled communications executive give us many opportunities to reach new audiences and engage more areas of our community to help prevent addiction before it starts and to assist those who are struggling themselves, or love someone with a substance use disorder,” said Ms. Cairnes. “Barbara is a talented addition to our team, and her own experience makes her uniquely qualified to speak to families struggling in the addiction crisis.”

Indeed, her personal family history has taught her much.

“Because of my experience, I understand where everybody’s at and they know I’ve been there. I’ve lived this,” she said. She hopes people will give her Project C4OPE forums a try. “They don’t have to speak. They can call me at home. The forums offer a very safe, nonjudgmental environment.”

Through the end of September, Ms. Shafer will be leading the Project C4OPE forums from 6:30-8 p.m. each Thursday at the following locations:

North County: First Thursday of each month (Sept. 6) — Beach House Center for Recovery, 13321 U.S. Hwy. 1, Juno Beach

Glades Region: Second Thursday of each month (Sept. 13) — Lakeside Medical Center, 39200 Hooker Highway, Belle Glade

South County: Third Thursday of each month (Sept. 20) — Guardian Recovery Network, 3333 S. Congress Ave., #402, Delray Beach

Central County: Fourth Thursday of each month (Sept. 27) — Hanley Center at Origins, 933 45th Street, West Palm Beach.

For more information about Project C4OPE, call 561-268-2357 or visit www.hanleyfoundation.org/project-c4ope/.

Barbara Shafer
Age: 61
Where I grew up: New Jersey
Where I live now: Jupiter
Education: B.A. in communications
from the University of Dayton
What brought me to Florida: Family. My job today: Director of education
for the Hanley Foundation
My first job and what it taught me:
Swim instructor. It taught me patience
and the joy of helping others reach their
goal.
A career highlight: Joining Hanley Foundation and being able to help
others who have been affected by the
opioid crisis.
Hobbies: Triathlete, marathon runner Best advice for someone looking
to make it in my field: Never give up
hope and volunteer. ¦

CEO Jan Cairnes.

“This position, and Barbara’s extensive background as a skilled communications executive give us many opportunities to reach new audiences and engage more areas of our community to help prevent addiction before it starts and to assist those who are struggling themselves, or love someone with a substance use disorder,” said Ms. Cairnes. “Barbara is a talented addition to our team, and her own experience makes her uniquely qualified to speak to families struggling in the addiction crisis.”

Indeed, her personal family history has taught her much.

“Because of my experience, I understand where everybody’s at and they know I’ve been there. I’ve lived this,” she said. She hopes people will give her Project C4OPE forums a try. “They don’t have to speak. They can call me at home. The forums offer a very safe, nonjudgmental environment.”

Through the end of September, Ms. Shafer will be leading the Project C4OPE forums from 6:30-8 p.m. each Thursday at the following locations:

North County: First Thursday of each month (Sept. 6) — Beach House Center for Recovery, 13321 U.S. Hwy. 1, Juno Beach

Glades Region: Second Thursday of each month (Sept. 13) — Lakeside Medical Center, 39200 Hooker Highway, Belle Glade

South County: Third Thursday of each month (Sept. 20) — Guardian Recovery Network, 3333 S. Congress Ave., #402, Delray Beach

Central County: Fourth Thursday of each month (Sept. 27) — Hanley Center at Origins, 933 45th Street, West Palm Beach.

For more information about Project C4OPE, call 561-268-2357 or visit www.hanleyfoundation.org/project-c4ope/.

Full article on Florida Weekly here: https://palmbeach.floridaweekly.com/articles/woman-finds-new-purpose-helping-those-hurt-by-addiction/