Written By: Tommy Newcombe, Executive Director, The Connection Project
The Connection Project was incorporated in November of 2017 and spent almost two years creating a values-based foundation through strategic planning exercises. In late September of 2019, The Connection Project opened the doors of the drop-in wellness center in downtown Norfolk, Nebraska on a part-time basis. Mid-October of 2019, the center went full-time. Since that opening, we have seen over 1,700 sign-ins from about 275 different people. There are 96 members of The Connection Project at this moment with more than 70 of those members willing to volunteer their time and skills.
The Connection Project, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization located in Norfolk, Nebraska. The Connection Project is a peer-run behavioral health community wellness organization. The Connection Project is a safe space to explore wellness for folks who experience mental health and substance use challenges. We utilize non-judgmental and non-clinical peer support principles to build individuals and communities.
The mission of The Connection Project, Inc. is to walk with people on a journey towards recovery and wellness by building mutual relationships based on peer support principles. We are an organization of individuals with lived experience of mental health and/or substance use challenges, and allies who aim to better the lives of members, employees, volunteers, and the community.
The Connection Project, Inc. endeavors to enhance community participation, provide individual and group support, and facilitate educational opportunities by building on a foundation of mutual and intentional relationships. There is a variety of wellness opportunities provided at the drop-in center. Workshop and learning offerings include Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), WRAP Facilitator Training, Intentional Peer Support, Financial Peace University, policy and advocacy, self-advocacy, and member driven life skills education (cooking, crotchet, fun in wellness, etc.)
One of the most important functions of The Connection Project is to provide a space for folks dealing with mental health or addiction crisis to explore meaning and opportunity through the experience of crisis. Trained peer support specialists provide support and compassion to people who are having difficult times. Crisis can mean someone trying not to use substances or someone feeling suicidal. Navigating crisis through peer support can be empowering and allow people an alternative to hospitalization or law enforcement involvement.
In the future, The Connection Project wishes to expand and offer a hospital alternative respite program. We are also implementing a veteran outreach program to provide support for our community’s heroes. We are excited to be Northeast Nebraska’s only peer-run behavioral health organization and look forward to impacting those we serve and our community in positive ways!