Mike Kleiner is quite busy, working as the People Operations Business Partner for a Dunkin’ management company, Cafua Management. Cafua owns and operates Dunkin’ stores in six different states with 240 locations. Mike provides HR support and training for managers at the 36 locations in Maine and half a dozen in Massachusetts.
Now, he is adding SUD (substance use disorder) education to his training agenda.
It all started by happenstance, when Mike and Niki Curtis, Community Engagement Director at Journey Magazine, partner of the OPTIONS program, met at a job fair last summer. “I was there recruiting for management positions and Niki was there with her SUD educational information, swag, and copies of the magazine,” Mike said. Niki connected Mike with Carolyn Delaney, Journey’s Publisher, the two hit it off and a business relationship began.
Journey Magazine’s mission hit close to home for Mike. His family, as many others, was acquainted with the painful results of substance use. When a family member was in active use, their substance dependence affected those who loved them — immediate and extended family members. “It was extremely painful watching the struggle and the pain it caused,” Mike said. “I’m pleased and grateful to say that they’ve been in recovery for over five years now.”
Drawing from his own personal experience, his company’s mission statement and his budding relationship with Carolyn, Mike was open to a partnership with Journey and the Maine OPTIONS program. Since earlier this spring, Journey Magazine has been presenting “pop-up” resource events at Dunkin’ locations across Maine, from Pittsfield to Sanford.
I’m pleased by how responsive our employees have been about these events,” said Mike. “Staff and customers have been open-minded, inquisitive and appreciative.
“I first ran the idea of these events by my boss, who then took it to senior management,” Mike told us. “They are in full support.”
The community-level events, held in collaboration with local OPTIONS Liaisons, include educational materials, lifesaving naloxone, swag, plenty of knowledge to share and resources designed to help individuals, their friends and family understand SUD and how to get help. To date, there have been 26 pop-up events with many more on the horizon. “Because the events are not promoted ahead of time, customers simply come in expecting their morning cup of Joe and a donut,” Mike shared. “They also are provided information about recovery and OPTIONS.”
Niki Curtis and Brenda Briggs, both from Journey Magazine, are on site at the events. “When Niki gives me a proposed schedule where they want to go, I communicate with the leadership of the store and their boss who is on,” said Mike. “I’ll tell the managers there is absolutely nothing they have to do to get ready for it. Niki and Brenda will come in, set up the table, do their thing and talk with customers. When staff is on break, they can meet with them, too. They are agreeable because there’s really zero impact on their business, and in fact, we get some additional business through it and we are carrying out our organization’s mission.”
Cafua Management Mission Statement
Committed to turning moments into memories for our guests while providing opportunities for our employees and giving back to the communities in which we serve.
In addition to hosting the in-store events, the Dunkin’ locations are placing posters featuring recovery resources, including how to get naloxone in the store break rooms and restrooms. “We will also be placing vinyl clings on all of the bathroom mirrors that have contact information for getting help on them,” Mike said.
“I’m pleased by how responsive our employees have been about these events,” said Mike. Staff and customers have been open-minded, inquisitive and appreciative. “I’m happy that people from our company are not shy about getting this information. It’s great to see,” Mike said.
Mike spends much time commuting between locations across the state; and really enjoys his car radio. “I hear the ads for OPTIONS all over the dial,” he told us. “And now when the ad comes on, I say ‘this is my Journey Magazine, these are my people.’” He went on to say he thinks seeing the pop-up events and hearing the ads are “connecting” the dots for Dunkin’ staff and customers as well.
Mike recognizes that until someone is ready to get help, they can’t be forced to do so. “Someone may look at the poster in the breakroom three or four times before picking up the phone,” he said. “They may never call for help, but at least they know it’s available.”
He went on to say, “If they look at that poster day after day, maybe the light bulb will come on. You know if just one person gets help, it’s all worth this collaboration. It’s all multiple layers. The next person that makes a change and gets back in the workforce and makes a success story for themselves — that’s a win for their family, their employer and their community. Everyone deserves a second chance.”
This recent collaboration with Journey and OPTIONS is not Mike’s first rodeo. Earlier during his tenure at Cafua Management, his territory was in New Hampshire. “There was a tough drug problem in a particular community,” he said. “I got involved with the jail system there and officers would send me people through the work release program. Three store managers came through that system. They turned their lives around. So I know that programs like work release, OPTIONS and publications like Journey Magazine work for a lot of people, given the chance. The programs tie together to make a healthier community.”
“I just hope that other businesses will sign on with Journey and OPTIONS and get more involved,” Mike said. “We plan to continue this work, and I invite other employers to do the same.”