Anchoring Hope of New York was born out of decades of challenges and heartache for Kim Hubert, a Lockport native who realized that sometimes people need to be pulled out of despair and into the waters of support.
The group is a not-for-profit that focuses on providing unique opportunities for those struggling with mental illness and addiction, as well as, their families.
Anchoring Hope challenges providers to “think differently.”
“I would hope that families and providers would welcome us to present so we could get them to think differently,” Hubert said. “The scholarships we provide are pretty amazing.”
Hubert started the group in 2019 after watching her sister battle with addiction for 15 years. Halfway through the last decade, more tragedy was thrown at her doorstep.
“In 2015 my step-brother died of a heroin overdose,” Hubert said. “It really threw my family into a loop.”
Finally, it was her son’s experience with mental illness and her interactions with the system that was supposed to support him that made her realize no one should go through it alone.
That was the seed that once planted bloomed into Anchoring Hope.
“I think when families are going through struggles with mental illness or addiction, what they need then is hope, because you feel like life is just falling apart,” Hubert said.
Hubert talked about one of the group’s major successes in helping individuals get tamper-proof medicine boxes, which doles out medicine to the scholarship’s recipient, limiting the chance of overdose.
Each box costs about $1,000, so the gesture is not without sacrifice. While the group receives no federal funding, it does depend on grants and donations.
“Everything we do under Anchoring Hope at this point is either grant based or fundraising-based,” she said. “We do have some donors who make their donations regularly.”
Anchoring Hope also works with local and state representatives to change rules for those facing involuntary hospitalizations.
For psychiatric treatment, Hubert said, “Currently, if you live in Niagara County, you have to go to Niagara Falls Memorial, you don’t have the option of going to BryLin, you don’t have the option of going to ECMC. Same for Erie County. It doesn’t matter if your doctor is there, it doesn’t matter if you’ve had a bad experience. The people have no choice.”
Hubert said she worked closely with state Sen. Rob Ortt on drafting a bill to give people that choice.
“I’ve presented it to (State) Senators (Pat) Gallivan and Chris Jacobs,” she said.
In addition to Anchoring Hope, Hubert has started a NarAnon group in Niagara county with her 19-year-old nephew, Jason Jones, and called the group Heartsease. NarAnon is a 12-step program for friends and family who are affected by another person's addiction. Hubert said Heartease is meant to provide support to those who are not comfortable traveling.
“In March, our in-person meetings will resume,” Hubert said. “We’ll be able to do them at the Save the Michael’s center in Lockport.”
“My goal is to talk to as many providers, and counselors as possible to let them know what we have and help them think a little bit different,” she concluded. “I think it’s been healing for everybody involved in it. … My goal is that by helping others it will help serve as a means to heal (myself).”
Anchoring Hope of NY can be found on Facebook.