I’m delighted that Kurtis Taylor, is my Profile in Advocacy this week. Kurtis is the Executive Director of Alcohol Drug Council of North Carolina (ADCNC), the Vice Chair of the Substance Use Disorder Federation, and a man living in long-term recovery.
1. Advocate, from Latin advocatus means “one called to aid (another).” What moves you to aid others in this way?
I am excited to aid others because I am deeply grateful for the aid that I have received. As a person in long-term recovery, I know how important it is to have people in your life that support you when you need it most.
2. What’s the single most important character trait that makes an effective advocate?
The single most important character trait that makes an effective advocate is to possess an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude drives me and helps me to maintain an appropriate perspective and outlook on life.
3. Share with us an advocacy story from your work – one in which you are most proud or where you learned the most.
I was asked to come to a hearing in Federal Court to testify as a character witness for a gentleman that was facing some very serious charges. I was able (with great enthusiasm) to lend endorsement to this man’s recovery program and the person that he had become. Based largely on my testimony, this man was allowed to go free. Since then, he has helped countless individuals in their recovery journey. He started a program that supplies citizens returning home from incarceration with toiletries and basic necessities, as they move into transitional housing. Because he was free, he was able to witness the birth of his precious baby daughter and he is now married to a wonderful woman that also advocates for others. This particular opportunity to “aid another” excites me, because the life of his entire family was positively impacted, and now he is positively impacting the lives of so many others.
4. When you look back, how will you measure your success as an advocate?
Have I helped others to be successful? Have I spoken-up for those unable to speak for themselves? Have I played a part in making sure that people seeking long-term recovery from substance use disorder have more options and more opportunities to live full and productive lives?
5. Tomato-based or vinegar?
Profile in Advocacy is a regular feature within our new advocacy newsletter for APNC members, The Empowered Advocate. We launched our fourth installment today. If you have suggestions about whom we should feature in the future, do let me know. Previously, we featured the amazing Tessie Castillo. We know NC is full of strong advocates, and we want their stories told.
BTW, ADCNC will be throwing the 1st Annual Anne Doolen Visionary Awards Luncheon Thursday, August 2nd. This event will recognize the strong work of NC’s advocates, while raising funds to continue ADCNC’s invaluable mission. Please visit AlcoholDrugHelp.org to learn more.
Until next time,
Kathleen Lowe, MSW
Policy & Advocacy Specialist