Eva’s Village Co-Sponsors 7th Annual Passaic County Recovery Walk & Celebration; Local Leaders to Attend; Recovery Pioneers to be Honored

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This year's theme, "Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities,” highlights critical peer-to-peer support that leads to long-term recovery from mental health and substance use disorders.

Cindymarie Dix, honoree and Senior.Peer Services Coordinator at Eva's Recovery Community Center.

“We want to share the message that, ‘Yes, you can live your very best life. Yes, you can give back to the community. Yes, you can fall, make mistakes and get back up again,'” Cindymarie Dix, Sr. Peer Svcs. Coordinator at Eva’s Recovery Community Center.

The 7th Annual Passaic County Recovery Walk & Celebration, set for September 9 in Paterson, will celebrate the gains made by individuals in recovery and recognize leadership in the recovery community. Elected officials, community leaders and treatment providers will join hundreds of friends and families to send a message of hope: that help and prevention, treatment and recovery support services make long-term recovery possible for those affected by substance use and mental health disorders. The event is one of thousands held nationwide to celebrate National Recovery Month.

On-site registration begins at 9:00 am. Participants are encouraged to pre-register on line. Speeches and an awards ceremony at the William J. Bates Memorial Plaza at 77 Hamilton St. in Paterson will kick off the event at 9:30 am. Then, at 10: 15 am, Passaic County residents and community groups will walk the one-mile route to Pennington Park in Paterson where the celebration will continue until 5:00 pm. Entertainment will include a D.J. in the pavilion, games on the grounds and food prepared and served by students at The Culinary School at Eva’s Village.

The annual event celebrates millions of lives transformed through recovery, raises awareness about mental and substance use disorders and encourages individuals to take action to expand access to prevention, treatment and services. “We want to share the message that, ‘Yes, you can live your very best life. Yes, you can share your life experiences to help others. Yes, you can give back to the community. Yes, you can fall, make mistakes and get back up again,’” said Cindymarie Dix, Senior Peer Recovery Coordinator at Eva’s Recovery Community Center. “Our peers will be there every step of the way. We don’t give up. We keep going. We keep growing. We keep learning. Our peers are warriors, they inspire me every day! “ she explained.

Speakers include Francine Vince, Director of the Passaic County Division of Mental Health & Addiction Services and Acting Director of the County’s Department of Human Services, Josh Copeland, an alumnus and Recovery Coach at Eva’s Recovery Center and a Recovery Specialist in the state-sponsored Opioid Overdose Recovery Program, plus several elected officials.

Since 2010, Eva’s Village has helped to organize and sponsor Passaic County’s Recovery Walk. This year, Passaic County, the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, The Ammon Foundation, Endeavor House North, and Turning Point join Eva’s Village to sponsor the event, with help from Catholic Charities’ Straight and Narrow and William Paterson University and many other organizations. “Our first event drew a crowd of approximately 160 supporters; last year over 1,200 people turned out to support and celebrate the recovery community in Passaic County,” noted Mark Schmit, Eva’s Chief Executive Officer.

Event Honors Peer-led Recovery Community Center at Eva’s Village
This year the celebration will honor the peer-led Recovery Community Center at Eva’s Village and Senior Peer Services Coordinator, Cindymarie Dix, who oversees its operations. She also works as a Patient Navigator at the Center, guiding patients to treatment through the state-sponsored Opioid Overdose Recovery Program (OORP). She has worked at the Recovery Community Center for seven years and serves on the New Jersey‘s Affiliate of the National Council on Addiction and Drug Dependence and on the committee that organizes the Recovery Walk each year. In 2016, she received the Extra Mile Award from The Paterson Alliance in recognition of her dedication and outstanding contribution to the Paterson community.

More about The Recovery Community Center at Eva’s Village
On September 10, Eva’s Recovery Community Center’s will celebrate its 8th anniversary. When it opened in 2009, the Center became the first peer-led, peer driven recovery center in New Jersey. Since then, the Center has provided a welcoming and safe place for more than 11,100 individuals seeking recovery services before, during and after treatment. Volunteers with lived recovery experience train to provide one-on-one support to individuals working towards long-term recovery. Peer volunteers give back at the Center; designing and leading fellowship, spirituality and wellness workshops, and coordinating events to support and celebrate the recovery community. Peer-led support groups focus on recovery from substance use disorder and on co-occurring behavioral and mental health issues. Services include one-on-one recovery coaching, child care, and referrals to medical and behavioral health treatment.

“Eva’s Recovery Community Center has been a shining light in the Paterson community for the past 8 years,” noted Cindymarie Dix. Each day our wonderful staff, our recovery coaches, recovery specialists, volunteers and members inspire me. Their dedication, love, and giving hearts are the reason we have been able to provide quality peer support services. It is an honor to work alongside them every day,” she said.

More about the Opioid Overdose Recovery Program
Eva’s Village has been participating in the state-sponsored Opioid Overdose Recovery Program (OORP) since April 2016. The program brings trained Recovery Specialists from Eva’s Village, who are in recovery themselves, to the bedsides of patients reversed from opioid overdose in Passaic County hospital emergency rooms. The specialists build relationships with the patients in order to connect them with recovery treatment and support. The OORP program is one of the first in the nation to offer immediate peer-to-peer recovery support to overdose survivors and to maintain contact with them for a minimum of three months.

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. Among adults in the U.S. 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 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The alarming rise in opioid use and deaths due to overdose in the U.S. underscores the critical need for recovery treatment and support. In 2016, drug overdose deaths in the U.S. likely exceeded 59,000, according to preliminary data compiled by the New York Times, which translates to one death from overdose every 9 minutes.

Registration Information
Participants are encouraged to pre-register on line; on-site registration will start at 9:00 am on the day of the walk. For more information about registration and sponsorship, visit the webpage for The Recovery Community Center at Eva’s Village or call 973-754-6784.

More About National Recovery Month
Now in its 27th year, National Recovery Month is sponsored by SAMHSA to promote awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders, to celebrate individuals in recovery, and to honor the families, friends and communities that support them. Throughout September, tens of thousands of events like the Passaic County Recovery Walk & Celebration organized by prevention, treatment, and recovery programs and facilities will take place across the nation.

More about Eva’s Village
Founded by Msgr. Vincent E. Puma in 1982, Eva’s Kitchen began by serving 30 meals a day to feed the hungry in Paterson. Today, Eva’s Community Kitchen serves nearly half a million meals annually. In response to the related issues of poverty, addiction, mental illness and homelessness, programs and services grew out of the original soup kitchen to address the root causes as well as the effects of homelessness and poverty. Today, Eva’s Village, a non-profit, comprehensive, social service organization, offers 20 programs that address needs in the community for food and shelter, recovery and medical services, and education and job training, with the goal to help those in need move toward stability and independence.

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Ellen V. Kuhn
Eva's Village
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