Eva’s Village Co-Sponsors 6th Annual Passaic County Recovery Walk & Celebration; Local Leaders Show Support; Recovery Pioneers to be Honored

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This year's theme, "Join the Voices for Recovery: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery!” highlights the importance of families, communities, and individuals sharing their stories to encourage others to make a personal connection with the recovery movement. This year's event honors individuals from the medical, behavioral health and recovery communities who are working to end the opioid epidemic.

Eva’s Village helped organize the first Recovery Celebration in 2010 to showcase the impact of behavioral health issues on the community, & to raise awareness about prevention, treatment and recovery.

“The message we want to share with a very loud and unified voice is simply this: people can and do recover from substance use and mental health disorders,.” Mike Santillo, Director of Integrated Care Services at Eva’s Village.

The 6th Annual Passaic County Recovery Walk & Celebration, scheduled for September 10 in Paterson, will celebrate individuals in recovery and demonstrate support for the recovery community. Elected officials, community leaders and treatment providers will join friends and families to send a message that help and prevention, treatment and recovery support services are available for those members of our community affected by substance use and mental health disorders.

The event also celebrates those who are in recovery leading healthy and productive lives, and those who support them—treatment providers, family members, and friends. “The message we want to share with a very loud and unified voice is simply this: people can and do recover from substance use and mental health disorders,” said Mike Santillo, Director of Integrated Care Services at Eva’s Village.

Mental & Substance Use Disorders Affect Millions

Mental and/or substance use disorders affect millions of Americans and directly touch the lives of individuals, family members, neighbors, and colleagues. Families often deal with the complex dynamics of supporting a loved one in recovery while at the same time learning how to take care of their own well-being. Given the widespread impact and societal cost of these behavioral health conditions, it’s important for communities to make prevention, treatment, and recovery support services available and accessible for all who need them. The prevalence of mental and/or substance use disorders in the United States is high. Among adults aged 18 or older, 43.6 million (18% of all adults) struggled with mental illness in the past year and approximately 21.5 million people age 12 or older were classified with a substance use disorder in 2014, according to information published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Event Honors Leaders in Fight Against Opioid Abuse

Eva's Village helped organize the first annual walk and celebration in 2010 to showcase the impact of behavioral health issues on the community, to raise awareness about prevention, treatment and recovery support services and to celebrate the supporters and services that sustain recovery. The celebration has grown each year. “Our first event drew a crowd of approximately 160 supporters; last year over 1,000 people turned out to support the recovery community in Passaic County,” noted Eva’s Village Executive Director, Marie Reger.

Each year the event honors a service provider and a member of the recovery community. This year’s celebration will honor Michael Pinckney, a person in long-term recovery who is a Recovery Specialist and Chair of the Peer Advisory Board at Eva’s Village Recovery Community Center’s, as well as St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center and Dr. Mark Rosenberg, Chairman of Emergency Medicine and Medical Director for Population Health at St. Joseph’s Healthcare System. The honorees will be recognized for their achievement and leadership in the battle against opioid abuse. Dr. Rosenberg led the establishment of the Alternatives to Opiates Program (ALTO) at St. Joseph’s this January; it is the first program of its kind in the United States. St. Joseph’s also partnered with Eva’s Village this April to initiate the Opioid Overdose Recovery Program (OORP), a two-year pilot program which places Eva’s Recovery Specialists, in recovery themselves, in the emergency room to connect patients who have been reversed from opioid overdose with treatment and recovery support options. The OORP program is one of the first in the nation to offer peer-to-peer recovery support to overdose survivors and to maintain follow up contact for three months.

Local Officials Will Address Rally

Passaic County Freeholders Hector Lora and Bruce James, Passaic County Mental Health & Addiction Services Director Francine Vince, and Paterson Councilman Luis Velez, will address the crowd and join hundreds of Passaic County residents at 10 am to walk from the Hamilton Street Courthouse in Paterson to Pennington Park. Festivities end at 6 pm. The event will feature music and food, including barbeque prepared by students from The Culinary School at Eva’s Village.

Participants are encouraged to pre-register; on-site registration is also available beginning at 8:30 am on the day of the walk. For more information about registration and sponsorship, visit the webpage for The Community Recovery Center at Eva’s Village or call 973-754-6784.

Passaic County, the Diocese of Paterson, Catholic Charities Straight and Narrow, Turning Point, Summit Oaks, and the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse join Eva’s Village to sponsor the event.

More About National Recovery Month

Every September since 1989, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration sponsors National Recovery Month to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders, to celebrate people in recovery, and to honor the family, friends and communities that support them. There are millions of Americans whose lives have been transformed through recovery. Since these successes often go unnoticed by the broader population, Recovery Month provides a vehicle for everyone to celebrate their accomplishments. Throughout September, events like the Passaic County Recovery Walk & Celebration are organized across the nation to promote the message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover from mental and/or substance use disorders.

More about Eva’s Village

Founded by Msgr. Vincent E. Puma in 1982, Eva’s Community Kitchen began by serving 30 meals a day in Paterson to feed the hungry. In response to the related issues of poverty, addiction, mental illness and homelessness in the community, additional programs and services grew out of the Community Kitchen to become Eva’s Village, a non-profit, social service, anti-poverty organization that is one of the most comprehensive in New Jersey. For more than 30 years, Eva’s Village carried out its mission to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, treat the addicted, and provide medical and dental care to the poor with respect for the human dignity of each individual. Today, Eva’s Village helps thousands of individuals rebuild their lives each year through 20 integrated programs addressing needs in the community for Food & Housing, Medical & Recovery Services, and Education & Training.

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Ellen V. Kuhn
Eva's Village
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