September marks National Recovery Month, a month to pause and reflect on the devastating substance abuse pandemic. It’s reach eclipses even all that 2020 has had to offer. The heroes at San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health would overcome any challenge to host their 17th annual Recovery Happens event because it brings not just awareness, but hope that recovery IS possible.
SBDBH took their annual event online to raise awareness on sustenance abuse and mental health. They recognized National Recovery Month by honoring those who found the hard-won long-term recovery and those who helped them along their journey. These people are true heroes and were honored regardless of the challenges 2020 has thrown them.
Prior to the go-live of the 2020 Annual Recovery Happens Virtual Event a lot of work and collaboration had to happen. The team at San Bernardino County Behavioral Health created a schedule of events and partnered with several companies, including our team here at Event Solutions. We were proud to be a part of this event and worked tirelessly to ensure that we gave these heroes our best services. As the virtual hosts and event coordinators, we coded and crafted the landing pages and virtual lobby a month in advance. RSVPs began right away and immediately people began to sign up for the event. Email communication was immediate to confirm their RSVP with follow-ups a week before, the day-of and even afterwards for the recording for those who missed the event or came in late.
There were 5 pages total; RSVP landing page, English, Spanish and ASL as well as an additional page just to honor nominees. Emails were monitored constantly, with attendees able to communicate questions before, during, and after the event. A chat feature was also included on the event page where attendees could privately ask questions and engage in discussions with a monitor from SBDBH. This event may have been virtual, but it was not lacking in engagement nor attendance!
Head of Recovery Happens Dr. Kelly and the SBDBH team worked on speeches and secured both a musical guest and a celebrity keynote speaker for the public event. The after school drug prevention group, Rock Against Drugs, worked together remotely to create a musical number. Each member of the teen music workshop practiced and performed their part of “Ooh Child” from home on camera, a feat that many adults would struggle with. These San Bernardino students played, sang, and performed with skills that sounded so polished you might forget the challenge of not being physically able to gather might present. We were immensely proud to have them hosted on our site.
Celebrity speaker Danny Trejo, on the other hand, is no stranger when it comes to being in front of a camera. Hollywood “ex-con turned icon” is known for films such as Heat, Con Air, and Desperado among others. For this film, however, he only had to be himself. His open, honest speech with a touch of humor discussed his life from addiction and crime to recovery and success. He engaged with the attendees in a way that felt nearly one-on-one, often looking directly at the camera and making attendees feel as though they were hosting him at their own homes, even while he sat in his muraled garage.
The media production team worked magic in gathering video of the pre-recorded elements. Their editing capabilities added a level of production worthy of a Hollywood film. They seamlessly crafted a montage-like musical piece that gave each member their moment to shine, added informational overlays, and ensured the flow between speakers was a smooth transition.
The opening ceremony began with Danny Trejo with cardboard cutout Dr. Kelly at his side. He kicked off the event with an introduction that cut to the real Dr. Kelly. From there the Pledge of Allegiance was followed by the Serenity prayer. 3rd District Supervisor Dawn Rowe talked about the key to success and the dedication of the entire SBDBH team. Keep fighting the good fight Supervisor Rowe! The event faded back to the fearless Dr. Kelly who introduced us to the musical guest of the afternoon, Rock Against Drugs. It was every proud parent’s moment when those teens took over our screens with their flawless rendition of “Ooh Child” by Five Stairsteps.
Each teen got a chance to proudly show their skills, the result of heavy practice and hard work. In addition to their normal (as normal as 2020 could be) practice, they had to add performing for a camera (alone!) to their skillset. Their rock musical number has us all singing along, days later, “Ooh ch-ild, things are gonna get eas-ier!” a rock anthem truly worth singing as the summer of 2020 comes to a close.
In yet another seamless transition and to honor those helping make things brighter, Dr. Kelly announced the Recovery Happens award winners. Residential Counselor of the Year went to Melody Sapp. Prevention Advocate of the Year went to RJ Ruiz. Outpatient Counselor of the Year went to Jennifer Combs. Recovery Advocate of the Year went to Kenneth Bryant and Recovery Agency of the Year went to St. John of God –Residential. Here at Event Solutions, we want to take a moment to congratulate all the winners AND the nominees. Congratulations and thank you for making the world a little brighter.
Thanks in part to the advancements in technology, guests were able to attend the event on mobile or desktop devices and not miss a beat. The overall attendance was fantastic, with just over 400 guests attending the live event and even more tuning in to see the recording after.
Danny Trejo said “Everything good that has happened to me has happened as a direct result of helping someone else. Everything.” and we could not agree more. Our team at Event Solutions could not be more proud or honored to have worked alongside SBDBH and all the people who helped make this event possible. Thank you for letting us be a part of your event and thank you to everyone who shared their Saturday with us. It was a blessing we are not soon to forget!