A local coalition will be hosting a special event for individuals and families who are touched by substance abuse and for local community members who want to learn more about how to reach out a helping hand.
The Hopkinton Organizing for Prevention (HOP) Coalition will be presenting a Celebration of Recovery on May 4 from 12-4 p.m. on the Town Common.
The HOP Coalition is a grant-funded organization that was created in 2015 by Denise Hildreth and Hopkinton’s Youth and Family Services. Their mission was originally fueled by the opioid epidemic but now is more broadly centered on addressing substance use and abuse prevention and recovery support. HOP includes members of the police and fire departments, the school district, community members, people in recovery and family members of those who struggle with addiction. Since its inception, HOP has hosted a number of events and educational programs for individuals and families who may need support or resources including a screening of “If They Had Known,” a film about the dangers of underage drinking and abuse of prescription drugs, and a vaping intervention program for Hopkinton High School.
When considering another event to bring to the community, the HOP Coalition decided to celebrate the hard work of those in recovery while providing a safe, fun, substance-free recreation opportunity for the whole community.
“There are not a lot of events for people in recovery that are substance free,” said Colleen Souza, a licensed clinical social worker for Youth and Family Services. “[On May 4] we will celebrate individuals and families in support of and or connected to substance addiction recovery, and to help remove the stigma of recovery.”
The HOP Coalition subcommittee members — Karen Zaleski, Amanda Fargiano, Gail Levine, Paula Vanesian, Eileen Warren and Souza — have been working hard to put together the first-for-Hopkinton event. The day will feature food trucks, music, a bouncy house, face painting and guest speakers to talk about addiction and the importance that removing the stigma has on recovery.
“This is a great opportunity for community members to learn more about addiction and to meet with other members of the community who may be in the same position,” Souza said. “It will give them a connection.”
The event also will provide an opportunity to honor those loved ones who are in recovery or who have lost their battle with recovery by offering flags to be planted in a commemorative flag garden.
Along with the support of the Hopkinton community, the event was made possible by the local treatment centers donating their time and resources and a state earmark grant from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health/Bureau of Substance Addiction Services. The towns of Hopkinton, Ashland, Milford, Framingham and Holliston have been invited to provide resources and messaging on local substance abuse prevention programs in the areas.
The family event is one organizers hope the whole community can learn from and enjoy.
Said Souza: “Even if just a few people hear something that might guide them to treatment if that’s what they need, that would be great.”