Local outreach plays an important role in spreading the message of S-Anon recovery throughout the community. Recently, a member participated in a local Healthy Lifestyles fair that was very meaningful and has some wonderful experience, strength, and hope to share about this type of service!
Is your group considering local outreach? The booklet S-Anon: Guide to Public Information and Outreach was designed for groups interested in carrying the message of recovery to their local communities. The guide offers suggestions and ideas for creating a local Public Information and Outreach Committee, along with ways to use the resources currently available on the S-Anon website. Other subjects in the guide cover over 30 potential projects, including outreach to the general public, the media, helping professionals, and local correctional institutions.
An S-Anon Member Shares their outreach experience…
In April, a representative from a local military base let me know that the S-Anon posters I gave the commissary in September 2021 are posted in their store. She also invited me to participate at the Healthy Lifestyles event in May from 10am to 1pm. I gave her my email address to send more information about the event. She provided a presentation that included the intent of the event, participants at the event, and a diagram of where the participants’ tables would be in the store during the event.
Although I was prepared to use my own table and chair for my display, a table was already set up for me upon arrival. My table display included S-Anon Twelve Steps, Working the S-Anon Program, and Reflections of Hope, two posters on each side of the table, my laptop that displayed the S-Anon website, the pamphlets Is S-Anon for You? and S-Anon: The Problem, Keys to S-Anon Recovery, Gifts of the S-Anon Program, local postcard-sized fliers, a bowl of sweet treats, and two types of contact cards (one had S-Anon World Service Office (WSO) information with local information on the back and the other one only had local information). I enhanced the table display with decorative items like a big basket of artificial flowers, a lantern, cake stand to display the local postcard flier, glass bowl for treats, and glass plates for the tiered display.
I stuffed two types of blank envelopes with S-Anon material for people to take. The blank envelopes allowed customers to keep the S-Anon materials together in an inconspicuous way as they shopped throughout the store. Some customers seemed relieved to be able to have the blank envelopes. One set of blank envelopes (letter envelope) included the Is S-Anon for You? pamphlet with a local contact card, and the other set of blank envelopes (5×7 “invitation” envelope) included the S-Anon Checklist, local postcard-sized flier, and a WSO contact card. When I ran out of the pre-stuffed envelopes, I started stuffing the envelopes with various combinations of materials as I talked with customers.
The table location was beside the store entrance and right next to a table where people filled out raffle slips for a prize. The event hosts directed customers to fill out raffle slips as they entered the store. While people wrote their information on the slips, I greeted them. After they completed their raffle slips, I introduced them to my table and how S-Anon can encourage people to make healthy lifestyle choices. I offered them the blank envelopes to take with them to read at their leisure and a sweet treat.
I gave away roughly 30 local postcard-sized fliers, 35 Is S-Anon for You? pamphlets, 20 WSO contact cards, 26 local contact cards, and 20 S-Anon Checklists. I nearly ran out of all material. I was left with about 6 postcards, 10 Is S-Anon for You? pamphlets, and 4 local contact cards.
This is what worked well and what the committee enjoyed most about this project: Blank envelopes to carry material securely, sweet treats to gladden customers, staying on my feet to keep a welcoming stance, and a table near the entrance (especially next to the raffle sign-up table). Since I was near the entrance and able to greet the customers, I transitioned easily into having them look at my table first.
This could have been improved and what the committee enjoyed least about this project: I wish I could have shown the video available on YouTube (“Tammy’s Story”) but the commissary doesn’t allow access to YouTube on post. I noticed that the other representatives of various organizations who set up tables were trying to read what was on my laptop during the down times of the event. It would have been nice to have a downloaded version of the S-Anon video to show. The video is very powerful.