Excellus BlueCross BlueShield recently awarded the Center for Family Life and Recovery a Community Health Award of $2,000 to support their Recovery & Prevention Services: HOPE Builds a Future of Wellness. This program provides bags of HOPE for distribution throughout our communities. HOPE bags contain contacts of local available resources, face masks and sanitizer, sensory items such as stress balls, soft blankets, and stuffed animals. Journals are also included to promote self-reflection and incorporate wellness and positive reinforcement into the daily lives of the individuals they serve.

In addition, The Center for Family Life and Recovery hosts H.O.P.E events (Healing Opportunities in Projects of Engagement) designed to engage individuals and their families to strengthen their pillars of recovery and wellness with a focus on home, health, community, and purpose.

“In the last year the pandemic has negatively impacted individuals, as well as their families, on their journey to recovery and wellness,” explained Cassandra Sheets, CEO of the Center for Family Life and Recovery.

“This has been evidenced by the rising rate of reoccurrence of substance use as well as overdose, the increasing rates of domestic violence, heightened levels of stress, fear, grief, isolation, mental health issues and loneliness. This program helps to reduce isolation, provide emotional support, foster community development, and improve the overall health and well-being of individuals particularly in our rural communities.”

Center for Family Life and Recovery, Inc. supports individuals struggling with addiction, mental health and behavioral issues by inspiring hope, providing help, promoting wellness, and transforming lives.

Through a competitive application process, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Community Health Awards help fund programs that improve the health or health care of a specific population, programs that aim to improve the health status of the community, closes the gaps in health disparities, reduces the incidence of specific diseases, promotes health education and assists our communities in dealing with COVID.

“The company’s Community Health Awards demonstrate a corporate commitment to support local organizations that share our mission as a nonprofit health plan,” said Eve Van de Wal, Utica regional president of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “We recognize that the pandemic has created an even greater need for programs such as HOPE Builds a Future of Wellness that address social issues that impact the health and wellbeing of our communities.”

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield is committed to supporting local organizations that improve community health. The company’s corporate giving follows all applicable laws and regulations and does not support funding organizations that conflict with its corporate mission, goals, policies or products.

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Utica region encompasses Clinton, Delaware, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego and St. Lawrence counties.


Center for Family Life and Recovery CEO Cassandra Sheets and Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Utica Regional President Eve Van de Wal (holding check L to R) are joined by (L to R) Ernest Lowenkopf, Michele Kohl, and Katie Burns from CFLR, along with Shayna Keller of Excellus BCBS, and Darren Toy of CFLR for a presentation of the Community Health Award.

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