Phoenix Rises: A Community Treatment Program Grows in Mid-Missouri

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Phoenix Programs, Inc.
City & State:
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

The mission of Phoenix Programs is to reduce the adverse effects of alcoholism and other drug addiction in our families and our community by providing treatment, support and educational services. Our purpose is to restore dignity and respect to persons who have experienced significant losses as a result of an addiction in order to return a productive and responsible person to the community.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

STORY: "For 19 years of my life I have been in either prison, on parole or in a substance abuse treatment facility. I started drinking alcohol when I was 6 years old. As I got older I recognized drinking alcohol got me into trouble, so I began smoking pot instead. Then I discovered meth. After years in prison, treatment and multiple relapses I finally checked into treatment at Phoenix Programs. Today, I am a manager at a large local restaurant. I have an apartment of my own, healthy relationships and support people in my life. I find gratitude in the small things others may take for granted, like having a checking account for the first time. I give Phoenix Programs a lot of credit for my journey to recovery."

For more than 35 years, Phoenix Programs, Inc. has provided comprehensive substance abuse and mental health treatment and housing services in Columbia, Missouri. People all over Mid-Missouri can tell stories just like this one, about how Phoenix Programs has MADE AN IMPACT in their lives.

In 2004 Phoenix Programs was at a crossroads. The once small, grassroots non-profit had been expanding successfully for 10 years. The agency was poised to serve more people, increase the range of clients and enable new programs to serve the ever-growing waiting lists. But the lack of SECURE AND STABLE TECHNOLOGY was prohibiting Phoenix Programs from taking the next step.

PROBLEM: In 2004 in a typical day a counselor was expected to hand write documentation, communicate without email, research without the internet and schedule all clients in a tattered appointment book shared by 15 other staff. If they made it through those hurdles THEN they could perform their real job: Provide life-saving treatment. In addition, Phoenix Programs could not interface with the State of Missouri’s new web based system. The State was Phoenix Programs’ largest funding source but the lack of technology infrastructure prohibited Phoenix Programs from utilizing the system; interrupting the delivery of valuable services.

THERE IS A CRITICAL NEED for Phoenix Programs’ services. Only 10% of the people who need treatment receive it. Alcoholism and other drug addictions are chronic, terminal illnesses and people die waiting for treatment. When people wait for treatment, they return to the streets and to crime, their health decreases and their families break up and are hurt by abuse and homelessness. Without secure and stable technology Phoenix Programs was paralyzed: Counselors could not perform their jobs. Phoenix Programs could not expand their services.

SOLUTION: Phoenix Programs’ limited infrastructure changed drastically with Microsoft Technology and the Techsoup donation program. In 2005 Phoenix Programs used a small technology grant to purchase computers, a server and Microsoft Software and licenses including MS Office 2003, Windows XP Operating system and MS Small Business Server 2003. Retail cost of this purchase would have been more than $25,000; an impossible cost for Phoenix Programs. Literally overnight Phoenix gained technology stability, security, infrastructure while increasing communication, safety and efficiency. In the summer of 2005 Techsoup featured Phoenix Programs’ story on the cover of the Techsoup Stock catalog to highlight the impact of the software donations which was evident within a few months.

IMPACT IN NUMBERS AND PROGRAMS: Since 2005, Phoenix has experienced a 45% increase in numbers of clients served. In 2004 Phoenix admitted 1059 clients and that number increased to 1540 clients in 2008. Waiting lists for many programs are reduced or eliminated and Phoenix is treating more people and new populations.

NEW PROGRAM IMPACT: Since the acquisition of the Microsoft Technology, Phoenix Programs has expanded or created multiple programs, giving many more people the opportunity to receive treatment in Mid-Missouri. New programs and populations include:

Boone County Assertive Community Treatment program. Provides treatment to 150 individuals with severe mental illness and addictions who fall through the current treatment gaps.

Therapeutic Community Supported Housing Program. Provides treatment and housing for 36 homeless individuals with substance abuse and mental health disorders, following a nationally recognized best practice of “housing first“.

Adolescent treatment program. This program serves 132 adolescents and uses a pro-social treatment approach, providing home-based treatment and activities. It is the first treatment program to use this approach in Mid-Missouri.

Vets at Home. This treatment program is for homeless veterans with substance abuse and mental health disorders.

At Home and Project Bridge. These programs provide permanent, stable housing and case management for homeless individuals and families.

Freedom From Smoking. People in recovery and with substance abuse disorders have an abnormally high rate of smoking. This program provides Quit-Smoking classes to 513 individuals. In October Phoenix will become the first tobacco-free treatment center in Missouri.


Microsoft products such as Office improved counselor efficiency which increased both effectiveness of treatment and number of clients that could be seen each week.

The ability to interface with the State of Missouri system with the uniform Windows XP platform increased admissions significantly.

Agency email allowed all staff, sites and buildings to communicate effectively and provide better treatment and keep people in treatment longer.

Microsoft Publisher and PowerPoint were used to enhance community awareness and increase fundraising through presentations and brochures.

Microsoft Excel provided the financial department with the tools to track financial numbers and improved fiscal responsibility.

Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 created Phoenix’s first local area network, allowed users to share files instantly, back up documents, connect to an intranet and maintain security.

Microsoft Access allowed Phoenix to create a shared client database to track client demographics, treatment progress and outcomes.

Tracking and reporting outcomes in the Microsoft Access database allowed Phoenix Programs to apply for more prestigious grants and funding in order to expand programs in other areas.

MORE GROWTH TO COME: In 2008 Phoenix implemented a comprehensive electronic medical record system that tracks clients, outcomes, encounters, documentation and services with one secure system accessible to all staff at all locations. The impact of this system is profound leading to new funding opportunities and better treatment for all clients. Today, Phoenix Programs is at new crossroads. Our new 28,000 square foot building is almost complete and we will expand to serve more people and more populations. It is hard to imagine that only 5 years ago, Phoenix had no technology infrastructure. The Microsoft Software donation program has given Phoenix Programs the tools to fully achieve its mission and MAKE AN IMPACT!

Submission Category
Stable and Secure Technology
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