“Come as you are”: The Ridge in Fargo opens its doors to help those with criminal convictions and drug addicts – InForum
FARGO — When people enter the Ridge Treatment and Reentry Center in Fargo, they may notice a sign that displays one of Nirvana’s most popular songs: “Come as you are.”
The panel welcomes people who have criminal convictions or struggle with addiction to the center, regardless of background, said F5 Project CEO Adam Martin.
“I specifically bought this for the treatment center because of the level of trauma, stigma and abuse people have gone through which makes them feel like outcasts,” he said of of the panel. “They can feel safe as themselves and not have to worry about people checking their backgrounds, people showing up to hurt them, or any kind of toxic environment.”
The center which opened on July 18 at 1425 Fourth Ave. N. offers a number of services and resources. Launched as a partnership between the F5 Project and the Midwest Mental Health Clinic in Moorhead, The Ridge acts as a soft landing and safe space for people who have been through the criminal justice system or need addiction services, Martin said.
“It was pretty cool to be part of a bigger system because Adam has a lot more ability to scale things up,” said Jacki Gervais, owner of Midwest Mental Health.
The F5 Project is a grassroots organization focused on criminal justice reform in North Dakota and helping those convicted of crimes freshen up their lives. This includes connecting them to resources for housing, employment, and addictions services.
Martin, who is a candidate for the Cass County Commission, is open about his criminal history. He has five felonies and several misdemeanors on his record and has struggled with drugs and alcohol.
Using his experience, he wanted to create a safe place where people could get the resources they needed, he said.
Gervais said she opened her clinic in 2015 after noticing people struggling with addiction had to wait months for services. The goal was to start a small practice and see a few patients, but more people needed the services than she had anticipated.
“When people come out of jail or jail or hospital, they can’t wait six to nine months to get services,” she said, adding that she wanted to reach people when they get them. needed at the time.
She set herself the goal of seeing people within two weeks of contacting her, but that became difficult, she said. Gervais reached out to Martin to find more people to help with the effort, she said.
The Ridge, which is run through private funds and donations, takes a holistic approach to providing services, Martin said. It has licensed addiction and mental health counselors, as well as peer support specialists and care coordinators. Speakers also come every week, he said.
For those with a criminal record, the framework offers a connection not found in other treatment centers: a connection with others who have been through the criminal justice system.
Tom Frei, a licensed addiction counselor who serves as clinical director of The Ridge, said the suit is a good model. Martin can relate to a topic more than Frei, and vice versa, Frei said.
“We’re dealing with different points of view there,” he said.
Having the medical expertise and guidance of someone who has experienced imprisonment and drug addiction, like Martin, is rare for a treatment setting, the F5 Project founder said.
“It’s a great hybrid approach for people who have no idea where they’re going when they get out of treatment or prison,” Martin said.
The group offers a range of services, including psychiatric assessments, relapse prevention, sober housing, nutrition and wellness, yoga and employment support. He is also in the process of opening a residential treatment home and getting certified for domestic violence classes, Martin and Gervais said.
Like F5, which signifies the number of crimes Martin has on his record and is the button on a keyboard that refreshes an internet page, The Ridge has a double meaning. Martin grew up in a part of Fargo known as the Ridge, which he said was considered the worst part of town when it came to drugs and alcohol.
Martin said he wanted The Ridge to also be known as two entities – Midwest Mental Health and F5 – that come together to help people after they are incarcerated or who are suffering from addiction.
To request the services of The Ridge, call 701-478-5808 or email [email protected]