NEWTON, NJ – The sign on the building says “The Center.” It is a Recovery Community Center, an extension of the Center for Prevention and Counseling, “a place that’s dedicated to recovery as a lifestyle,” Director of Recovery Services Annmarie Shafer said.
It is the recovery arm of the well-known organization that operates down the road on Spring Street.
The women and men who work at The Center, some in long term recovery themselves, are passionate about their mission and the people who choose to join their community. They are excited to have reopened on April 5.
Not that they ever closed. Like just about everything else, the pandemic changed how they have operated, with limited contact and virtual programs.
While they will continue to offer hybrid options, people will once again be able to drop in to talk with a recovery coach. All of the staff members are trained recovery coaches according to the Recovery Community Center Coordinator Marjorie Timmerman.
“Anyone can walk in, a parent, a family or person struggling with substance use,” Associate Peer Services Coordinator Abbey Thomas said. When they do, they will be given the opportunity to talk with a counselor individually or together with family members.
Timmerman said they will be offering programs that “benefit people who navigating recovery.” She spoke about a bird house painting event, held virtually, as an example.
The Center brought in a member of the Sussex County Bird Club to discuss the birds while participants, at home, painted the houses, using supplies they picked up from The Center.
“We will be bringing in people from local resources” Timmerman said. They will also offer people in recovery the opportunity to volunteer to share their talents and “tap into their skills,” Timmerman said.
A client will be sharing her journaling skills, Timmerman said. They will be hosting a journaling workshop “to introduce and foster journaling because some people may never have heard of journaling,” she said. The workshop will be held virtually and in-person and attendees will get a journal of their own.
“The Center affirms them in their offerings,” Timmerman said. It is through these type of interactions as well as in the counseling sessions with recovery coaches, peer recovery coaches and group meetings that “someone can touch your heart.” She said sometimes it can be the smallest interactions that can have a huge impact on people’s lives.
Several modes of assistance are available at The Center, using resources from the area to help meet the needs of people that are in recovery.
Abbey Thomas, the Associate Peer Services Coordinator said The Center will continue the work through programs such as Opioid Overdose Recovery Program or OORP, that brings Recovery Coaches and Patient Navigators into the emergency room anytime a patient’s test shows a substance in their system. The coach remains in contact offering coaching and introductions to other services through the Center.
The Support Team for Addition Recovery or STAR program offers guidance to people in long term recovery to reach “health, life and wellness goals,” according to Thomas.
Operation Helping Hand through the Sussex County Prosecutors’ office is a grant funded program that has a detective and a recovery coach do outreach to those affected by substance use, Recovery Specialist Supervisor Katie Walker said. During the three years of the program they have been to 239 houses and all municipal courts in the county.
Additionally, on April 17 they will be taking the Operation Helping Hand van to Spring Street with future plans to go to shopping centers, farmer’s markets, “where the people are, to give people information about their services,” Walker said. The “mobile unit allows our recovery coaches and local law enforcement officers to go into the community to give information about recovery and treatment services,” according to Walker.
The Center for Prevention and Counseling and The Center offer their programs for free. They are supported by donations, personal giving and grant funding. “Every dollar amount makes an impact,” Timmerman said. People can also give through Amazon Smile as well as donating time and resources.
On August 7 they will have their annual walk “a large event for the recovery community,” at the Franklin Fireman’s Pavilion, Walker said. They expect the walk to be back “in person” after having to be virtual in 2020. It is their largest fundraiser of the year. “People can walk, or support a team virtually,” Timmerman said.
The Sussex County Recovery Community Center is located at 65 Newton Sparta Road, Newton.