My Story as YPR Orange County Program Coordinator Hi my name is Dan Burley and I am a recovery ally. I am a retired Aerospace Engineer and ex corporate pilot with a heart to serve the community. I’m active in prison ministry as a volunteer and eventually came to YPR in my retirement. I been on the YPR staff for more than a year as Program Coordinator and Chapter Leader for Orange County. The job started off as something to do to keep me busy after retirement but turned into much more as the months went on. I realized very early while working for YPR that my work makes a difference in people’s lives in the recovery community. Conducting life skill training which YPR calls EPIC (Engaged; Peer Driven; Integrated; Community) that includes training in employment, housing and education are essential to many people in long term recovery. In addition to the EPIC training, I am greatly rewarded by helping young adults find work in their local area by conducting Employment Workshops at our partner treatment centers. The participants are proud to tell me they found work thanks to the information received from YPR training and workshops. Staff members at the treatment center are also quick to tell me how they appreciate me and the many resources that YPR provides. I am a recovery ally so working at YPR has taught me valuable lessons. The first lesson learned is that recovery can be a hard road to travel, especially without the support of family, friends, professional counselors and a recovery community. Most of my YPR participants are just everyday people who you would never guess are battling with Substance Use Disorder (SUD). They look, talk and act like anyone else but unfortunately, substance abuse has entered their lives and they battle for sobriety. Providing a safe community through Pro Social Events and All Recovery Meetings is a big step to providing a much-needed recovery community in Orange County.
What I learned most from YPR are the same principles I learned from prison ministry. Listen, Listen, Love, Love. Don’t judge and place myself in our participants shoes. A big component to recovery is commitment. You must be fully committed to your recovery because it will not happen by accident. That’s why I love the valuable resources that are freely given by YPR. When you show you care, you become an instant mentor for YPR participants and a stronger commitment to recovery follows. My biggest surprise working for YPR is that it’s not just another part time job but YPR gives me a chance to be in the community and pour my knowledge and encouragement into others who desperately need mentoring and life skills. When I wake up to do my job, it doesn’t feel like work but more like an opportunity to help lives and hurting people who need encouragement.I feel like this is part of the mission God has designed me to do and he has given me the opportunity to invest in others through YPR. What Inspires me about YPR is the staff who are very professional, caring and patient. Also, the mission of creating a sober community among young adults and even older adults like me, so they can thrive in society. I love the way that the Team Leads and Program Coordinators all over the country work diligently in the community to create that much needed sober living community. It can be very intimidating when you’re a new Program Coordinator but the support given to each YPR team member is phenomenal. Recovery communities do not happen overnight, it takes time, patient and commitment but in due time, the Program Coordinators create a great sober living environment in their communities. Our work matters !