Black History Month Series: Over-Representation Program

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Today’s Black History Month blog series post highlights the Over-Representation Program, one of several culturally specific services available through Central City Concern, as well as why staff member, Jammie Trimble, is dedicated to working with this specific population. Catch up on the previous posts in this series here.

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At Central City Concern, we offer several culturally specific programs that work solely with the African American community. One of these programs is the Over-Representation Program (ORP), located within the Community Engagement Program (CEP). We work specifically with African American individuals who have been dually diagnosed with mental health concerns and alcohol and drug addiction, have a history of being homeless, and have had repeated involvement with the criminal justice system.

ORP intervenes when treatment and mental health support services would better serve to address the many needs of an individual than cycling in and out of incarceration. The program utilizes a relationship model to provide support and case management for participants.

Over-Representation Program counselors identify as African American. We seek to improve outcomes by allowing our clients to be served by members of their own community. “Community” in this sense refers to individuals like myself who look like ORP clients, and also extends to those who have a personal understanding of the African American experience. ORP clients end up with a deeper connection to counselors of color, opening up the ability trust, which allows them to be more open about things they may not be inclined to discuss with strangers.

For example, ORP staff and clients attended a showing of the movie, Selma. As a group, we had recently gone over the November voting ballot in a class and we were able to see watch in the movie how history unfolded to allow African Americans – us – the right to use the ballot today. Together, we felt empowered by the movie.

Working with my clients at ORP makes me feel like I am fulfilling my purpose. It is important because it is necessary. From my perspective, much of the value in this work is contributing another needed dimension to client-centered services to meet our clients where they are. I am proud to work in culturally specific services.

Jammie Trimble is a Case Manager in CCC’s Over-Representation Program.