During this Covid-19 pandemic when our youth are at higher risk of alcohol/substance abuse and risky behavior, Road Recovery petitioned The Department of Justice (DoJ) / Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) who awarded two grants over three years to Road Recovery to launch VirtualTrax Programs in all corners of New York State.

Road Recovery developed customized Cisco Webex virtual webcasting suites for the VirtualTrax Program to give their youth and young adults A VOICE TO BE HEARD when they find themselves stuck in isolation and cut off from their support networks. The VirtualTrax Program is also supported by an array of grassroots and educational partners including statewide agencies overseeing the Youth Clubhouses, Youth Voices Matter NY, and NYU Silver School of Social Work.

To support the non-profit and youth served in VirtualTrax Programs, celebrities including James Hetfield (Metallica), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Peter Frampton, actress Kathryn ErbePaul Rodgers (Bad Company), and Slash have shared their experiences and/or what has helped get them through the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic.

New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez says, “Congratulations to Road Recovery on being awarded two 3-year federal grants from the US Department of Justice (DoJ) / Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). OASAS is delighted to offer this option to our Youth Clubhouses. We look forward to your work with the NYU Silver School of Social Work, to evaluate the impact of the TRAX Program. We have valued our collaborative relationship in the past and look forward to working with you over the next three years.”

New York University Silver School of Social Work Associate Professor & Investigator, Center for Drug Use and HIV|HCV Research Jennifer I. Manuel, PhD, LMSW says, “Road Recovery’s VirtualTrax Program is an innovative platform designed to engage our most vulnerable youth and young adults during a time when COVID-19 has heightened the risk of substance use and social isolation. This evaluation is an important part of the OJJDP-supported program to understand the impact of delivering evidence-based strategies, including peer support, mentoring, and education, through such creative avenues to reduce the risk of substance use and other risky behaviors and to improve the social-emotional health and wellbeing of young people.”

The grants awarded to service Youth Clubhouses (opioid affected youth) are:

Category 5: Statewide and Regional Mentoring Initiative for Youth Impacted by Opioids and Drug Addiction’ (January 2021 thru September 2023):
3-year Grant Amount: $1,250,000 (1 of 8 national grantees, NYS rep)

Opioid Affected Youth Initiative’ (February 2021 thru September 2023):
3-year Grant Amount: $690,553 (1 of 13 national grantees).

Road Recovery has again partnered with OASAS to service at-risk youth and young people in recovery, engaging their statewide Youth Clubhouses located in all ten empire state regions, from rural communities to High Poverty Areas. Road Recovery works closely with staff from each statewide Youth Clubhouses who provide multi-level adult support and supervision for both our Creative Staff Mentors and youth engaging VirtualTrax Programs.

Throughout this crisis, Road Recovery has been able to ‘stay connected’ each week with our Clubhouse youth and their staff through multiple virtual peer support ‘check-in’ meetings, learning and practicing healthy coping skills together, and creative workshops that provide educational and enriching life skills and teaching moments for youth engaged in our VirtualTrax Programs. Road Recovery’s Creative Staff Mentors, each Youth Clubhouse staff member, and young participants all work TOGETHER towards achieving set goals of completing the process of creating, planning, and producing a series of short video clips shared each week across several social media platforms. These creative posts help to provide ongoing community outreach and awareness of Youth Clubhouse opportunities and activities while validating the accomplishments of young participants engaging VirtualTrax. When pandemic safety conditions are lifted, Road Recovery plans to provide seasonal in-person Trax Programs at Youth Clubhouses as soon as fall 2021.

About Road Recovery

Established in 1998, Road Recovery is an entertainment industry-driven non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to helping young people battle addiction and other adversities by empowering at-risk youth from all backgrounds to face their struggles while teaching them comprehensive life skills.

Guided by music and entertainment industry professionals who have confronted similar life struggles, and with support from the mental health field, Road Recovery’s action-driven programs provide mentorship, performance workshops, and “all-access” opportunities for a community of motivated peers to create and produce live concert events and studio recording projects.

OJJDP Disclaimer

This publication was prepared under grants # 2020-JY-FX-0004 and 2020-YB-FX-0006 from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), U.S. Department of Justice.  Points of view or opinions expressed in this presentation/document are those of the author/s and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of OJJDP or the U.S. Department of Justice