Recovery Through Community Membership

April 29, 2022 9:00 AM-4:00 PM
Recovery Through Community Membership- $199 includes CEUs
Dennis Rice, Ed.M., Michael Seibold, MA
*Please Note that this training will take place at the The Whitin Mill, Singh Performance Center, 60 Douglas Rd, Whitinsville, MA

This interactive workshop offers participants practical strategies to help individuals combat their social isolation and enhance their recovery through deeper community connections. This program introduces a completely fresh set of practical strategies to help persons in recovery become re-established as active, participating members of their local communities. It has been demonstrated that assisting such individuals to develop and use social capital is highly correlated to successful recovery.

The strategies to be presented focus broadly on the desirable outcome of community integration, combatting stigma, and gaining acceptance. In addition, our presentation is strongly person-centered in that it relies on utilizing the unique talents, gifts and preferences of each individual to select the specific opportunities in which the individual wishes to participate. And, perhaps most importantly, our presentation offers practical strategies as well as concrete examples of successes that have enhanced the recovery journeys of persons with mental health, substance use and other debilitating challenges.

Following this training the participants will be able to:

  • Describe a greater understanding of the importance of “community” in recovery and how our services can get in the way.
  • Describe shifting service paradigms from Medical Model to Community Membership Model
  • List about several easy to replicate community connecting initiatives
  • Describe concrete strategies to help individuals use their talents and interests to make community connections that result in mutually beneficial relationships

Dennis Rice co-founded Alternatives Unlimited, Inc., a non-profit rehabilitation agency in Central Massachusetts, in 1976, and served as Executive Director from 1979 to 2018 when Alternatives affiliated with the Bridge of Central MA and became Open Sky Community Services. During his tenure, Dennis helped grow Alternatives from its original three programs to a comprehensive agency of more than 60 programs with an annual budget of $50 million.  Alternatives served 1,200 men and women with psychiatric or developmental disabilities in a full range of residential, employment, and day service options and a clubhouse.

After completing his BA degree in Theater from Alma College in Michigan, Dennis earned his Master in Education from Harvard University in organizational development. Since 1980, Dennis has forged a strong working relationship with the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation.  Agencies throughout the United States, Canada, and abroad have invited Dennis to train and consultant on Alternatives’ innovative service approaches. 

For the past 15 years, Dennis has promoted a new service model that emphasizes community membership as critical in the recovery process. The prime example of this approach is the renovation of Alternatives’ historic Whitin Mill.  This out-of-work mill that once housed Alternatives’ sheltered workshop is now an inclusive community cultural center using green design technology. An award-winning project, it has provided space for Alternatives’ new headquarters, affordable housing, a performance center, an art gallery, and a restaurant.  Alternatives’ Whitin Mill has already received international recognition for promoting community integration, and for its contribution to the economic development and quality of life of the region.

Dennis has also received numerous awards for his work in the rehabilitation field and for his visionary Community Engagement Initiatives including the USPRA Irv Rutman Award in 2010, the 2013 Non Profit Business Leader Award from the Worcester Business Journal, the Telegram & Gazette 2012 Cultural Enrichment Award and the Greater Worcester Community Foundation’s Renaissance Award in 2009 for exceptional talent, commitment and leadership.


Michael Seibold has served as the Director of Community Services at Alternatives Unlimited, Inc., a non-profit rehabilitation agency located in Central Massachusetts.  His experience includes forging partnerships with funders, individuals and families to create flexible, highly personalized residential, outreach and employment services that support individuals with psychiatric and developmental disabilities.  Areas of expertise include psychiatric rehabilitation, leadership development and mentoring, results oriented management, training and supervision, and managing organizational change. From 2018 to the present Michael has played a key role in the merger of two large Central Massachusetts human service agencies into one $80 million organization. As acting COO, developed structures and processes to enhance the blending of two organizational cultures and led the collaborative effort to create a new staff development master plan.

Mr. Seibold holds a BA in Spanish and an MA in Psychology from Catholic University, Washington, D.C.  Mr. Seibold has provided training and consultation throughout the United States and Canada and has presented at numerous conferences on topics such as innovative approaches to rehabilitation, community inclusion and recovery.

He has also co-authored a chapter entitled “Psychiatric Rehabilitation in a Residential Setting” in William Anthony’s book, Putting Theory into Practice. And two articles including “Promoting Readiness for Discharge For Long Term State Hospital Residents” Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, (2011) and “Capacity, Commitment, and Culture: The Three Cs of Staff Development in a Learning Organization”. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, Education and Training Column (2015).

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