COLORADO SPRINGS — Recovery is possible, but taking that first step toward a new life, is daunting. Especially when confronted with the cost of different forms of treatment, which can be expensive.
AspenRidge Recovery serves people with mental health or substance use issues, and recently expanded into Colorado Springs. Following the death of George Floyd, the centers started a scholarship worth up to $33,000 for a minority member of the community to receive around three months of treatment. "You have to be someone who wants to access services, someone who needs financial support to make that happen... Somebody who is just willing to do the work to be honest, because it's a big commitment," said AspenRidge Recovery's Chief Clinical Officer, Dianna Sandoval.
This is the twentieth scholarship given out by AspenRidge this year, but it is the first one dedicated to diversity. In 2020, they have given away $323,000 in scholarships.
The scholarship is for one person's treatment episode, meaning 90 days filled with the full continuum of care, including group sessions, individual sessions, family support work, and direct trauma treatment. It pays for the entirety of any kind of treatment, including their PHP Program and sober living or IOP in Colorado Springs. "This is an opportunity to be invitational to anyone who is seeking services, and to try and remove a financial barrier that may be the reason they're not coming, to try and remove a cultural barrier that may be the reason they're not coming," said Sandoval.
Even though this scholarship was initiated around August, no one has applied for it. "We see you, we hear you, we accept you, and we want to serve you," said Sandoval.
News5 spoke with a Lakewood woman who received a similar scholarship from AspenRidge Recovery this year. "Early in March this year, I was in a hospital bed, I was homeless, I was hopeless, I had nothing. And so, I had a big decision to make: I'm going to choose life, or I'm going to continue knocking on death's door," said Kayla Winter, describing a relapse from earlier this year.
Winter said she has struggled with alcohol addiction for years. "The first time I ever drank when I was 17, I flatlined... So I knew, when I went to treatment when I was 18, that I was an alcoholic. And that's when I first learned about the disease, and that it is not as easy as all these people telling you 'just say no, just step away.' It's not that easy," said Winter.
But this year, at age 26, Winter took all the hope she had left and entered treatment at AspenRidge Recovery. She got a full scholarship for 90 days of their Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP). "Another chance at a beautiful life... It gave me my family back, it gave me a loving community of supportive people who are walking this same journey as me... Go for it. There is a whole other life that is so much better than you could even dream of," said Winter.
This scholarship comes during a year where El Paso County is on track to see an increase in drug abuse related deaths. The El Paso County Coroner's Office is statistically caught up through the end of June, giving us information on the first six months of the year. Year to date, 2019 had 74 drug abuse related deaths, while 2020 had 88.
AspenRidge Recovery has locations throughout the Front Range, and the scholarship can be available at any of their centers.
If you would like to apply for the scholarship or want to seek services, call AspenRidge Recovery at (855)678-3144.
You can also call Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255.