The Second Wind Foundation has its roots in the original Turning Point Club, which was established in 1992 as a place for Alcoholics Anonymous members to meet, and gather between meetings, at the Tip Top Building in White River Junction, before that building's renovation, and White River's overall renewal and resurgence of growth.
In 1998, a manager was hired at Turning Point who had the idea of making it more inclusive. A variety of recovery groups were approached, and soon larger quarters were needed in order to handle growing demand.
Increased demand creates the need for larger quarters. Funds were raised which allowed the Turning Point to be moved to newly renovated space within the Tip Top Building, which included a large meeting room, lounge area, small library, kitchen, pool table, small office, and eventually, a few public access computers.
In 2004, Willow Grove, a women's transitional housing facility, was established in Wilder, Vermont, to extend support to 24 hours a day for women in early recovery, a particularly vulnerable group. The goal of the Willow Grove program is for residents to strengthen the foundation of their recovery and move toward independent, productive lives.
In 2005, Mark Helijas, Executive Director of the Second Wind Foundation, was one of eight national recipients of the Johnson Institute's "America Honors Recovery" award, at a ceremony in which his work in expanding the potential of the Turning Point, nurturing the Vermont Recovery Centers Network, and establishing Willow Grove was celebrated at the National Press Club.
The Turning Point’s lease is not renewed due to growing needs for parking space and its impact on other tenants at the Tip Top Building. We leave downtown White River in June and move to Wilder, where a free-standing building is available on a lease-to-purchase basis at 200 Olcott Drive, with adequate meeting, parking, and office space for a recovery center.
The Turning Point’s recovery center model is presented to the Vermont Legislature along with a plan for a statewide network of 12 recovery centers. The legislature supports the development of the Vermont Recovery Network to coordinate establishment of the centers and communicate among them.
2011: After successfully weathering the 2008 financial crisis, Second Wind purchases the land and building housing the Upper Valley Turning Point at 200 Olcott Drive in Wilder.
2012: The federal government provides funding for the recovery center model through a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) grant.
2013: After paying rent for 10 years, Second Wind purchases a larger, more attractive building to house Willow Grove, allowing us to apply more resources to recovery support.
2015: Vermont’s 12th recovery center opens in Newport, near the Canadian border.
Additional centers in the Vermont Recovery Network are found in Bennington, Brattleboro, Rutland, Springfield, Middlebury, Barre, Burlington, St Albans, Morrisville, and St Johnsbury, along with the Upper Valley Turning Point.
2018: The Turning Point becomes a member of the Mount Ascutney Hospital's CHIP (Community Health Improvement Plan) and is active on the sub committee to decrease active substance use, prevent opioid overdose deaths and to increase recovery friendly activities in Windsor County.
2020: COVID19 protocols are put in place. Quick response to the pandemic allows those in need of face-to-face support to continue meeting safely. Virtual supports are developed for those who are social distancing. Outreach efforts are increased and the opioid overdose response team is developed creating a program allowing Turning Point staff and the Hartford Police Department to work side-by-side in the community providing services to those who've experienced a non fatal overdose and provide support to their family members.
2021: Jack's House opens affording men the same opportunity for safe and supportive housing in early recovery that Willow Grove offers women.