PROGRAM MANAGER, ALLIANCE FOR POSITIVE HEALTH Hometown: Plattsburgh, New York
Education: Clinton Community College,
SUNY Empire State College
Community Involvement: Substance Abuse Prevention and Recovery (SPARCC) in Clinton County, Essex County Heroin and Opioid (ECHO) Coalition, Hometown vs. Heroin in Washington County, and other initiatives supporting recovery and the assistance to individuals suffering with substance use disorder.
Taking what she described as “my biggest risk ever,” Rheannon Croy left her job at the Clinton County Department of Social Services to join the Alliance for Positive Health. “I was very comfortable and established at my job with the county,” she said. “Although it was scary, I’m happy I took the risk. Doing uncomfortable things and walking through my fears has allowed me to grow.”
Rheannon grew up in poverty, battled addiction and is in recovery. She now works hard to be a voice for the Harm Reduction model — a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use. The model is also a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use drugs.
“This model helps save people’s lives when they may not be ready to seek treatment and makes our community a safer place to live,” Rheannon explained. “I have been able to take a large role in developing our Drug User Health Hub, providing suboxone to individuals who haven’t been able to find a health care provider while they struggle with opioid use disorder. We also offer testing and supportive services surrounding Hepatitis C to help get individuals treated and cured.”
What important lesson have you learned in your career?
That even when I think I am open-minded and accepting, I can still do better and be more loving toward others. We never know what the people around us have been through, are going through or what they are battling. Working in Harm Reduction has really taught me a great lesson about being humble.
What’s your dream job?
The job I have. My biggest professional success is being able to do something that I love and make a difference. To quote Steve Jobs, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do”. How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I leave my work where it belongs — at work. If I need to stay at the office a little longer to finish something, I will. When I am not working, I make sure to do the things that bring me happiness and balance outside of my family life as well. I practice and teach yoga, which brings me peace and happiness.
What is the most exciting trend happening in the community right now?
The collaboration happening among the professionals working with people who suffer from addiction. Seeing Prevention, Treatment and Harm Reduction working together is so important and will help the people we serve more. We are all trying to do the same thing, we are just coming at it from different angles.
What is something that no one would guess about you?
I have a spinal fusion and rods in my spine.
Write a note to your younger self…
The life you were born into does not have to define you. You have never gone too far down to make the decision to begin building yourself up toward the person you have always dreamed of being. You are capable of doing anything you want to do. You are smart and you always have a choice. There is nothing you cannot do. Go out there and do ALL the things that set your heart on fire!!