About Anchor Recovery

The Anchor Recovery Community Center Story.

Our Philosophy

At Anchor Recovery Community Center, we know that there are many different paths to recovery. We want to encourage yours. By becoming a member, you’ll have access to a variety of programming, from AA meetings to holistic wellness activities. You’ll be able to take advantage of employment services like job interviewing and computer literacy skills to help you build your career. Most importantly, you’ll be part of a network of supportive people that encourage your journey to a healthier life. 

The Anchor family of programs includes our main location (Temporary) in Providence, a center on the campus of the Kent County YMCA in Warwick, and two outreach programs: Anchor ED and AnchorMORE. Anchor also provides recovery support services in collaboration with the Health Equity Zone led by Thundermist Health Center in West Warwick and in all units of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.

We’re entirely run by people with lived experience with addiction recovery and our allies who have experience with the recovery journey. Become a member today (link to “Membership” page).

History

Anchor’s first Director James Gillen (right)

Anchor’s original location in Downtown Pawtucket was opened by The Providence Center (TPC) in December of 2010. At that time, national statistics ranked Rhode Island as the state with the highest rate of substance use related problems in the country, and research pointed to a significant gap in treatment. Many Rhode Islanders went from receiving intensive residential or daily substance use support to the opposite extreme, a monthly clinical appointment with little community support. Under the leadership of TPC’s Director of Recovery Support Services, James Gillen, and Associate Vice President of Addiction and Recovery Services, Holly Fitting, Anchor was able to fill that void, providing people with a network of peers and recovery-oriented programming.

In January of 2013, Anchor opened its second location in Warwick, and outreach programs Anchor ED (Emergency Department) and Anchor MORE (Mobile Outreach Recovery Efforts) began in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Since its inception, Anchor has become a national leader in the peer recovery movement, and the destination for thousands of Rhode Islanders looking for recovery support.

In December of 2018 Anchor moved to a temporary location inside the Jim Gillen Teen Center at 1280 N. Main St in Providence.

Leadership

Lee Ann Jordison-Keeler - Operations Mananger

Lee Ann was born and raised in Wisconsin, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work with a Minor in Psychology and a second Minor in Substance Use Counseling from Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI. Lee Ann’s career in social services took her from Wisconsin all the way to Portland, OR, where she worked with the houseless population and recovery community for five years. She is currently in the process of obtaining her Master of Social Work Degree from Portland State University with an advanced concentration in Practice and Leadership with Communities and Organizations. Lee Ann has now been with Anchor Recovery Community Center for over a year where she has been able to bring in her experiences from across the country to Rhode Island.

Michael O’Neill ACDP, CCSP, CPRS – Manager of Anchor Community Centers, Anchor MORE, and Safe Stations

Michael serves as the manager of Recovery Services, providing Anchor Recovery Coaches with clinical supervision and providing quality education and training for their continued professional development. Michael has trained hundreds of peers in pursuit of state licensure as Certified Peer Recovery Specialists. He has been a key trainer of Anchor's Recovery Coach Academy. His work in the recovery field began with The Providence Center in 2011 working as an outreach coordinator with the RESPECT program. Michael is a US Army veteran.

Tammy Thornber- Manager of Anchor: ED

Tammy started as a volunteer with ARCC in 2015 and was hired as a Peer Recovery Specialist soon after. She now serves as the Manager of Anchor ED. Tammy loves her job and the community she works with. As a person in long term recovery herself, she strives on a daily basis to show others that there is hope and that you can live a productive, happy life in recovery.

Melissa Bernier - Manager of Anchor Warwick

Melissa started working at Anchor as a peer recovery specialist in 2017. She was promoted to the Manager of the Warwick location in 2018 and is also a trainer of the Recovery coach academy. She is pursuing her degree in substance use disorder and is also working towards obtaining her LADC. Melissa feels very passionately about helping others.

Michelle Harter - Community Liaison and Consultation Manager