The REAL Community Project, or simply REAL, (Referrals, Education, Action, Love) is an initiative to engage faith communities in the Helena area to prevent substance abuse and make the Helena area safer and healthier for kids and families. This will be accomplished through referrals for services, an educational conference providing resources to faith leaders, and a volunteer fair to inform the public  about opportunities where they can provide service to the community.

Faith leaders are often trusted and respected by those in their community. They tend to be one of the first places people turn in times of need. By equipping these faith leaders with knowledge about the issues surrounding drugs and alcohol in the community and tangible ways to help prevent substance abuse, Helena can become a safer place for everyone.

Referrals

The CONNECT Referral System is an online system that allows multiple referrals to be made across sectors with one online application. With the faith community as part of the system, they have a tangible way to connect people needing services to the organizations and agencies that can help. With a single application, the faith community can ensure people can be connected to help which gives everyone peace of mind. In Lewis and Clark County, as of December 2019, there are 63 agencies on the system, across multiple disciplines and service types. The service provider follows up with the person directly so it takes the pressure off of the person going through a crisis to make the connection. This is a simple way for the faith communities to join together with other organizations in the Helena area to make the community a better place.

For more information about the CONNECT System, or if you have any questions, please visit www.connectmontana.org.

Education

The Take REAL Action Forum will be a time for faith leaders and concerned community members to come together to learn about the current issues facing the Helena community. Speakers at the REAL Community Forum will include law enforcement, mental health professionals, clergy, and others who actively work on the issue of substance use in the Helena area on a daily basis.

The Forum will be an opportunity to learn about national and local drug trends, trauma and resilience, and programs and resources available in the community. It will also be a day to meet with service providers from the community and network with other faith leaders.

A Facebook group exists for faith leaders to share ideas and discuss what they are doing in their faith communities surrounding the REAL Community Project. It is also a space for Youth Connections to share more information regarding drugs and alcohol in the community as well as the various aspects and events that are a part of REAL. Faith leaders can request to join the group here.

Here are a few useful links for REAL resources:
Videos from the 2019 forum.
Resources for faith leaders.

REAL Community Forum

Thursday, February 28, 2019 | 9:00am-3:30pm
Carroll College Campus Center

Lunch Provided
$20/person by February 20, $25 after
$5 for college students with a student ID

Action

Following the REAL Forum, there will be a community-wide volunteer fair-the Take REAL Action Volunteer Fair-where congregants and community members can come to learn how they can make a REAL difference. Local organizations will provide opportunities for those wanting to take action. By creating a volunteer network for the various nonprofit organizations in Helena, they will be better able to act out their missions and work together to make a healthier and safer Helena area.
Below is a list of the organizations who attended the Volunteer Fair. It includes a bit about their organization, the volunteer opportunities that they have, and a person to contact if you are interested in volunteering! This way, even if you could not attend the volunteer fair, you can still get involved in the community and make a difference!

Organizations in Need of Volunteers

All of the faith leaders and other members of faith communities are encouraged to pray/meditate about the work being dong through REAL.

Take REAL Action Volunteer Fair

Saturday, April 6, 2019 | 10:00am-2:00pm
St. Paul’s United Methodist Church 

The Volunteer Fair was originally scheduled for March 2, but was postponed due to weather. It will now take place on April 6.

More information available on the Facebook Event

If an organization is interested in reserving a spot at the volunteer fair, they can sign up hereor email [email protected]

Love

Loving other people is both an important part of faith communities as well as the heart of the REAL Community Project. Everything that is done through the REAL Project should be done in love.

If you have questions or are interested in participating to make REAL impact in the Helena area, please email Taylore at [email protected]. Please use #REALHelena when talking about the REAL Community Project on social media!

Resources