Shannon J Scholarship helps substance abusers find treatment

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 1:22 PM

Andreas Rivera

OGDEN — For someone who is seeking treatment for substance abuse, financial limitations could be the only thing in the way. The Ogden-based Shannon J Scholarship was formed with the goal of eliminating that barrier for those who truly want to change their lives for the better.

The Scholarship, a nonprofit organization, was formed in May last year and officially launched Sept. 1, 2012. It gives financial aid to applicants who are entering treatment centers for alcohol and drug addictions.

It was founded by Shantell Stone, who named it after her late brother, Shannon J. Wolverton.

Wolverton died in a car accident Jan. 14, 2012. Just four days earlier, he sent his sister a text message saying he wanted help for his alcohol addiction.

“After that, I made the decision that if I didn’t go proactive, that I would go crazy,” Stone said.

She had previously tried helping her brother enter a clinic by trying to find financial aid, but had no such luck.

Stone said although her brother, Shannon, was seen as a felon, covered in tattoos, he wore his heart on his sleeve and was always a fighter.

“I don’t want anyone who wants the help to get denied because of money,” she said.

However, the Scholarship should be a last resort for people who have already talked to family, clergy and other resources with no luck.

The Scholarship helps those seeking treatment with up to $400 per month to the rehabilitation center of their choice.

The organization has no preference toward any rehab center, but informs recipients of all of their options. Stone said many centers charge about $100 per week, although some of the more expensive ones cost $1,200 per month.

Stone said she hopes to expand the Scholarship to accept more people.

“It’s devastating to tell someone they’re on a waiting list, especially since some people have a little window of opportunity when they want that help,” Stone said.

Besides financial limitations, the capacity for centers to take in patients needs to grow, she said.

In 2012, 88,251 adults in Utah needed treatment for substance abuse, according to the Utah Department of Human Services. The state’s facilities only have the capacity to serve 15,537 people.

Stone said the Scholarship is far from a handout. She checks in on the recipients on a weekly basis.

Duane, who would give only his first name, was a recipient of the Scholarship and has been sober from alcohol abuse for a year.

“I was going through a cycle of depression and alcohol,” he said.

He had tried a few times to go in for treatment, but continued relapsing.

“Relapsing gets worse and worse, and this time I had no money and no treatment,” he said.

Through his sponsor, he found out about the Shannon J Scholarship and was able to afford treatment through it.

“The people at the Scholarship, they’re part of my family — we’re a close group of friends,” he said.

The Scholarship is funded exclusively by donations from fundraisers, Stone said. Since its launching, 29 men and women have been helped, with a total of $11,042 in Scholarship money given out.

The group has two upcoming events, including a 5K walk-a-thon scheduled for Aug. 24 and a bike show in September. More information can be found on the Shannon J Scholarship Facebook page.

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