Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Just the beginning

Cornerstone's Corner

The last year has come and gone faster than I could have imagined. It feels like only a few months have passed since Cornerstone reopened, but we have been serving the community for over a year. On May 25, Cornerstone celebrated a year serving Tehachapi with an official grand opening and Narcan training. For me, the event felt surreal. I did not expect so many people from the community to show their support. After the event I sat down with several of Cornerstone's clients, who volunteered for the event, and spent close to an hour reminiscing about the progress they have made.

When Cornerstone opened its doors a year ago the vision and plan for Cornerstone Center for Substance Abuse Treatment was, for all intents and purposes, a good idea. The vision was to create a healthy community in which sobriety can be found and a healthy lifestyle can be modeled. There have been many ups and downs over the last year, but the ups definitely outweigh the downs. I am thankful for all those who have come alongside to support Cornerstone. Looking back, I can say for certain that what the staff and I have developed is a quality program, unlike any other.

That statement is not made lightly. Our clients have expressed their thankfulness for providing a safe place where they can find community. They enjoy being treated like a person and not a patient, having counselors who treat them with compassion, a case manager (Veronica Corona) who will advocate on their behalf and a place that views failure as a step in the development process. In the last year Cornerstone has helped clients find sobriety by grieving losses they never processed, gaining the coping skills necessary to manage stress and anxiety, learning how to communicate needs, developing healthy relationship skills, etc. Those who have found success in the program have been able to find jobs, get their own place and most importantly, reunite with their children and families.

While I am excited where Cornerstone has been, I am more excited to see where Cornerstone is going. In the next couple of months Cornerstone is expanding youth services (12-17) to include a prevention/early intervention program into the ongoing youth substance abuse program. Cornerstone is expanding to meet the general mental health needs by bringing on more clinicians to meet the therapeutic need, adding personal development classes that are open for the community, opening groups for court ordered programs and providing/distributing Narcan to the community.

My hope in next year is to continue to expand Cornerstone's influence and put Narcan in as many hands as possible in order to slow the ever growing fentanyl crisis and prevent further overdoses. Since reopening I have kept a running list with the names of those who have lost their lives to overdose. Since January 2022 we know of at least 25 people in the Tehachapi community who have lost their lives, primarily to fentanyl. Two of these deaths were in the last month. Opportunities to grieve overdose death are rare because of the stigma attached to addiction.

As a show of support for those lost and their families, Cornerstone will be hosting a candlelight vigil on Friday, June 16 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Wren's Garden, 413 S. Curry St., Tehachapi. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the vigil or speak to a therapist please call, (661) 750-0438. We can also be reached at [email protected].