Changing The Face of Addiction with Hanley Foundation

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Here at The Scout Guide, we love having the opportunity to highlight some of our ‘unsung heroes’ – lesser known, or just lesser spoken about businesses who are really putting in the work, supporting our local community and beyond.

Few embody that more than the team at Hanley Foundation, who provide hope and care for individuals, families and communities affected by alcoholism and drug addiction.

Among those leading the charge at Hanley is Turner Benoit, a Palm Beach native who sits on the leadership team as Chief Development Officer.

We connected with him last week to hear more about the work Hanley does, why it’s different from other organizations and how we, the greater community, can give back.


“I don’t think there’s any organization that does what we do,” said Benoit during our conversation last week.

Experience lends itself to expertise and relatability, and with many years of sobriety under his own belt, Turner Benoit brings both of these critical aspects to the organization.

Hanley takes a broad approach, with strategic layers to addressing the problem.

As Turner says, “you can’t just treat it away – you need to try to get to the root of the issue.”

He identified four key focus areas for the organization, which we’ve outlined here, supported by some of their guiding principles.

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Prevention:

Hanley Foundation believes reducing youth substance use supports healthy personal and community development.

 

Hanley is the largest provider of substance use prevention programming in the state of Florida.

Each year they work with 75,000 teachers, parents and students across the state to teach healthy coping skills.

Studies have found that the longer you can delay an individual’s first drink, the less likely they are to develop an addiction.

“It’s not ‘Just say no’ – it’s, ‘Just say no today’,” quipped Benoit.

“The prevention side of the house is pretty amazing,” he added. “Six or seven years ago we had eight employees and $600,000 in grants. Now we have fifty employees and $4.5 million in grants. So that growth has just been spectacular.”

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Education:

Hanley Foundation focuses on healthy children, families, and communities, through evidence-based prevention education, training programs, and best practices

 

Hanley offers parenting classes around warning signs, risk factors, generally educating about the disease. They also conduct symposia series for first-responders to recognize signs of trouble and initiate plans of action to help save lives.

“We’re there for the community. We’re here for anyone, from the wealthiest down to people who don’t have anything,” says Benoit.

“We want to be the go-to resource for our community for all things substance abuse, mental health and recovery.

“What we offer is unbiased advice… and substance abuse disorders don’t just go away on their own – they get worse.”

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Advocacy and Training

Hanley Foundation believes that knowledge and fact-based advocacy are the keys to changing societal understanding and resolve to action surrounding substance use disorders.

 

“We want to change the way people view substance abuse disorders,” he says.

You almost want people to look at it like cancer…we want to create more empathy. These people need support too.”

“We’re a pure nonprofit and try to impact as many lives as we can that are affected by addiction,” he added.

The Hanley team is also working on the legislative front to partner with other key influencers in changing the ways laws are written around this sector.

Additionally, Hanley Foundation works closely with medical personnel, other professionals and paraprofessionals on the front lines of substance use disorders in Palm Beach County. Hanley’s training programs include: Project COPE (Connect for Overdose Prevention and Education), Project GRASP (Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing) and Hanley Foundation’s Recovery Leadership Institute.

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Treatment and Scholarship programs:

Hanley Foundation believes that every individual and family deserves a chance at recovery

 

“We help people gain access to quality treatment that they otherwise couldn’t afford. Each year we put hundreds and hundreds of people through treatment,” shared Benoit.

“We’re proud of the work that we do to help those people who can’t afford it.”

Benoit started the program around four years ago, with a current focus of ensuring people who need treatment are receiving it, and getting the right amount of it.

Last year, they helped over 300 people gain access to treatment through high-quality, need-based treatment scholarships funded through the Foundation’s Lifesaver Scholarship program.

Patients are supported through inpatient treatment and sober living and aftercare services, providing them with the longest runway to takeoff.

Says Benoit of the scholarship program, “Our capacity to do that is really 100% dependent on Palm Beach and their philanthropy. When the money comes in, it goes right out to treatment. “

“We’re an incredibly giving community and that’s really cool to be a part of.”

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With our ten year anniversary upon us, we’re getting a little sentimental – and love to hear about the ways we’ve been able to impact our partners.

Here’s what Benoit had to say.

“We love that Stacey is on our board – it’s this younger Palm Beach set that’s the future of the island.

The Scout Guide is really important…It highlights that Palm Beach is up and coming, focused on social issues, and at the end of the day, they put their money where their mouth is.”

 

Wondering how you can get involved? Hanley conducts a number of events and outings here in the Palm Beach area during the year.

-January 20 – Palm Beach Dinner at the Sailfish Club (our own Stacey Leuliette is a co-chair!)

-March 6 – Family Picnic at National Croquet Center (afternoon of family fun, including kids getting access to their parents silent auction bidding #!)

-April 11 – Golf Classic at Bear Lakes Country Club (100% of proceeds go to scholarship program)

-Make a donation, anytime! https://hanleyfoundation.org/donate/

Written by TSG Contributing Editor, Kate Rowan