SMART Celebrates Service Achievements

Part of the wonderful time we had at the SMART 2024 conference was the recognition of service achievements by individuals in several categories. After conference attendees enjoyed a tasty dinner, the following awards were announced. 

The Joe Gerstein Award for Exemplary Service to SMART Recovery has recognized individuals since 2012 who have made significant, consistent, and durable contributions to the SMART Recovery community. The award consists of recognition at the conference, a plaque, and a monetary award of $1,000 to support the recipient’s continued involvement in outreach, research, and/or travel related to their advancement of SMART Recovery. This year there were two awardees: Charles True and Michael John.

Charles True’s decades of involvement with SMART includes development of the Inside/Out program and co-authoring the Successful Life Skills Handbook. His charm and loquacious wit have delighted many people throughout his years in the SMART community. He is pictured below with Joe Gerstein (L).

Charles and Joe Charles accepting award

Michael John serves SMART participants and volunteers in a variety of significant ways. He is a meeting facilitator who also works with other facilitators to make meetings more engaging and effective for all. His mentoring has contributed to raising the overall quality of SMART meetings and his support has been appreciated by many individuals.

The SMART Empowerment for All Award is a new award in 2024. In keeping with the conference theme, this award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to, and tangible progress toward, increasing the availability and accessibility of SMART Recovery in diverse and underserved communities. The award consists of recognition at the conference, a plaque, and a monetary award of $1,000 to support the recipient’s continued work to support the growth of SMART Recovery in diverse and underserved communities. This year there were two awardees: Diane Vines and Gerardo (Geee) Matamoros. 

Diane Vines is a counselor, therapist, and community public health educator in Palm Desert California. She also facilitates a SMART recovery meeting that involves migrant workers and unhoused people in the Coachella Valley. Her positive spirit adds to all her various endeavors. She is pictured below with SMART Board President Bill Greer (L) and SMART Executive Director Pete Rubinas.

Award winner

Gerardo (Gee) Matamoros is a SMART facilitator who champions Spanish language inclusion programs and has developed materials and a website in Spanish so that it is readily available to this population. He works tirelessly to spread the word about SMART both in the U.S. and internationally. His warmth and passion for recovery is obvious to all who have been fortunate to have interacted with him.

Finally, the SMART Recovery Science Award, started in 2018, recognizes scientists researching the efficacy of SMART and mutual aid groups that use a self-empowering model to address addictive problems. By honoring these scientists, we hope to encourage much more research so professionals, policymakers and the public can better understand and use the type of mutual aid we provide. The award consists of recognition at the conference, a plaque, and a monetary award of $1,000 to support the recipient’s continued research about SMART. This year the award was given to Dr. Alison Beck of the University of Wollongong, Australia.  

Dr. Alison Beck is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Clinical Psychologist based in the School of Psychology, University of Wollongong, Australia. Her research pursuits, which include SMART Recovery meetings and participation, are focused on improving the delivery and outcomes of psychosocial interventions for people affected by addictive behaviors and other mental health conditions.

Congratulations to all the awardees for their hard work and dedication to self-empowered recovery!



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