Proceeds from the first fundraising walk in Somerset County for family, friends and individuals in substance abuse recovery went to Somerset Inc. handed over for a future public mural project.
The first Somerset County Recovery Walk was held on October 1st and was sponsored by Crossroads of Somerset, which provides medication-assisted treatment for individuals with substance abuse disorder.
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Despite heavy rain and cold winds brought by the post-tropical remnants of Hurricane Ian, about 40 people participated in the walk to honor and support those recovering, said Venus Hall, a care manager at Crossroads , said. Live music, face painting and vendors were also part of the day’s activities.
Donations from the community brought in $800, and it was decided that those proceeds would go to Somerset Inc. will be given, which plans a variety of free events, some art-related, to the public throughout the year, Hall said.
“The purpose of the walk was to help Somerset County understand that people do recover,” she said.
“Giving back to the community will help with the stigma that’s out there, and trying to get people in recovery to get more involved in the community.”
‘Addiction does not discriminate’
Art is one of the most important ways, along with athletics and reading, that individuals in recovery use to maintain their sobriety, said Brian Nash, senior director of operations for Crossroads.
“Addiction does not discriminate based on zip code, race (or) income. That is why it is important that we focus on the community as a whole,” he said.
“Art is an avenue for recovery for many people. When (an individual) starts treatment, it’s ‘OK, what am I going to do with my time?’ That’s where art comes in, to positively reflect what they do. It will take time and make people focus on things they can be proud of.”
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Help make the community beautiful
Regina Coughenour, executive director of Somerset Inc., said the Somerset County Recovery Walk donation will be used to produce another public mural in the area, with plans to include individuals in recovery in its creation.
“We do focus on public art and we work with Laurel Arts to do public art projects in the community,” she said. “Our role in art is to bring more visibility to the talent that is here, in partnership with arts organizations here.
“Our intention is to partner with Laurel Arts on another public mural, and we would like to incorporate the recovery community into the creation of that mural. This is something we have discussed with Laurel Arts, and we have been working to get our mural program off the ground. This will help move that (project) forward because we want our community to be beautiful and we want everyone to be a part of making it beautiful.”
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Coughenour said she was pleased to learn that Somerset Inc. ‘s free, public events help support individuals in the community through their recovery.
“It meant a lot to me that they were looking for outreach, and they are reaching out (to the community),” she said. “We did talk about how we could use this money to work with people in recovery in the community. When someone is struggling with addiction, or they may be shaky in their recovery, they should be invited to be included. They should be welcomed.
“I hope that’s something we can continue with this donation, to spread the message that we’re here to be the town for the whole community.”
Hall said that Crossroads hopes to organize another Recovery Walk next year. For information or to participate, contact Hall at [email protected] or call 412-851-3797.