September is National Recovery Month, and events sponsored by a coalition of local organizations begin with Recovery in the Park, which is open to the public, 10 a.m.-1 pm. this Saturday at the pavilion in Mill Creek Regional Park.
Saturday’s festival-like gathering features music, food and games. Speakers will include people with lived experience recovering from addiction or mental health issues, as well as professionals who work in recovery.
“We’re going to have food, fun and fellowship, and we’re going to have speakers and people giving testimony and praises for their life and recognition, and then fun and activities for the kids, and we’re going to have vendors there giving out information on recovery topics,” said June DiPolito, executive director of Pineland Behavioral Health-Developmental Disabilities.
The eight-county organization providing behavioral health services is an obvious one to sponsor Recovery Month events. But Pineland is not alone in hosting these activities in Bulloch County.
More events ahead
In fact, the Averitt Center for the Arts is hosting events on seven different days over an extended Recovery Week, Sept. 13-22, and organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon and Willingway are also involved in these. Connection Church will then help to extend the activities further, hosting a Recovery Through Worship Concert in cooperation with Freedom Through Recovery at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 26.
But Recovery in the Park launches it all. The event will also help to spotlight the new Susan Ford Recovery Community Organization, which is based on South Main Street near Statesboro Regional Library. The new organization provides support, not treatment, DiPolito noted.
“That is a wonderful thing. It’s a great adjunct to treatment,” she said. “It is there for support, and they have meetings and groups and activities going on all the time, helping people to see about getting jobs, helping people see about GEDs and helping people learn about different resources in the community.”
The Susan Ford Recovery Community Organization also goes by the motto “Freedom Through Recovery,” and its “FTR” logo appears on fliers both for Saturday’s event and the one Sept. 26.
Willingway and the Bulloch Alcohol & Drug Abuse Council are also major supporters of the events and will be represented Saturday in the park, DiPolito said. Some of the activities have a theme of destigmatizing treatment, and Recovery in the Park offers a family atmosphere with things such as bouncy houses, snow cones, cotton candy and face painting.
“It’s an opportunity for us to give back to the community and share lived experiences so that maybe we can reach somebody who’s really needing help but doesn’t know how to take the first step,” DiPolito said.
Averitt’s Recovery Week
The Averitt Center for the Arts, which is involved through its Project Recovery, released a full Recovery Week schedule for Sept. 13-22, with the Whitaker Black Box Theater, 41 West Main St., as the location for key events.
- Sept. 13, Friday, will be Movie Night at the Black Box Theater, with a showing of the recovery-related documentary “The Anonymous People,” at 7:30 p.m. with popcorn and soft drinks.
- Sept. 14, Saturday, brings a meeting of The Fork AA at 411 Northside Drive at 8 p.m. with food trucks. The Whitaker Black Box Theater will then be hosting a 9:30 p.m. Barefoot Comedy show.
- Sept. 15, Sunday, the Black Box Theater will host a 3 p.m. family and Al-Anon program with speakers Hope Aldred and Catherine Thomas, plus children’s games and activities.
- Sept. 18 brings a Freedom Through Recovery meeting to the Whitaker Black Box Theater at noon and then a community meeting involving the Georgia Southern Center for Addiction Recovery at 7:30 p.m. Pamela Worrell-Carlisle of the Georgia Southern School of Nursing is slated to speak on “Eliminating Stigma.”
- Sept. 19 will be Law Enforcement Night at the Black Box Theater, beginning at 7:30 p.m. with Statesboro Police Chief Mike Broadhead also to talk about dismissing addiction stigma. A time for sharing and questions is slated.
- Sept. 21, DiPolito will be the speaker, also at the Whitaker Black Box Theater, with Pineland and Willingway residents cordially invited.
- Sept. 22, the Black Box Theater will host a 3 p.m. art action and silent auction, involving the Bulloch Day Program, Recovery Art Show and New Beginnings.