In the afternoon, five individuals are scheduled to share stories of hope from experiences of long-term recovery. In the morning, panel discussion participants will represent a variety of pathways, from 12-step and faith-based programs to medication-assisted treatment.
People involved in addiction recovery in the Statesboro area, at Georgia Southern University and at the state leadership level will gather for a symposium from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. this coming Saturday at Connection Church, 1342 Cawana Road.
The event, themed “Freedom through Recovery” is open to “anyone who is in recovery themselves, anyone that provides recovery resources, and anyone that has been touched by recovery in any way,” said lead organizer Robert Bohler. Would-be participants are asked to register at www.pinelandrecovery.org.
Besides the panel discussion and speaker series, the event will include a lunchtime resource fair, with 20-25 exhibitors expected.
“The goals of the symposium are to create a positive message for recovery in the community, to recognize all pathways of recovery and, most importantly, to establish relationships between the people that provide recovery resources in town,” Bohler said.
While completing his master’s degree in public health, Bohler is working as a graduate assistant in the Center for Addiction Recovery on the Georgia Southern campus. The center, along with Pineland Behavioral Health/Developmental Disabilities, led local planning for the symposium. But it also involves the Bulloch County Alcohol and Drug Council, Celebrate Recovery, Connection Church, Willingway Hospital, Reliance Treatment Center, Capstone Technologies and several other organizations.
“There are a lot of resources in this area. They’re just very siloed,” Bohler said.
In other words, each agency tends to operate within its own circle, serving its own group of people with recovery needs. So bringing everyone together to talk and see the other resources that are available is the most important goal, he said.
Besides organizations involved directly in recovery services, the resource fair will feature social services, educational opportunities and housing options for people in early recovery.
A $7,500 grant through the Office of Recovery Transformation at the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities is funding the seminar.
Scheduled speakers for the opening session include Pineland BHDD Executive Director June DiPolito, state Office of Recovery Transformation Director Tony Sanchez, Georgia Council on Substance Abuse Executive Director Neil Campbell, and Bulloch County Jail Administrator Capt. John Staten. Connection Church Missions and Outreach Pastor Bo Fordham, Statesboro Mayor Jan Moore and Chris Johnson, also from the Council on Substance Abuse, appear later in the program.
However, the five speakers for the afternoon series of recovery stories are not officials, but people who will speak from personal experience.
The symposium is free for participants who register. Food and beverages will be provided, including 3 Tree Coffee Roasters coffee, smoothies by Juice Café, and lunch catered by Chick-fil-A with dessert by Rocky’s of Savannah, followed by Cork’s Kettle Corn during the resource fair.
Door prizes include a Lenovo laptop and an iPAD, both new, and more than 20 other items. Organizers anticipate about 300 participants.