I have recently become acquainted with the Hope for Recovery Center located in downtown Franklin NH. Though they have been there for quite some time now, I had never had reason to walk through their doors until a friend of mine decided to use her birthday to help raise funds for them. When I walked in, I was greeted warmly, and thanked for coming. There was food, of course, and cake, but more importantly, there were testimonies given by people who are members of this center; members of my community. Many of whom I didn’t know. One story, in particular, broke my heart three or four times before the young lady was finished speaking. It was a story that she admitted she didn’t quite feel ready to tell, and by the end of it, I knew I wanted to volunteer if I could.
I have never been an addict, so I am not in recovery. This does not mean that I have nothing to learn from these wonderful people. The night after my first experience at the center, they had a family friendly sober dance. I brought my daughters. As we walked through the door, a group of teenagers ran up and grabbed Krishna, and took off with her. Arienette spotted some toys, and off she ran as well. As I sat and watched, (as I am wont to do when surrounded by unfamiliar people) I noticed something; there was no judgment here. These people saw no age, no disability, no class. All were equal here. They formed a circle as an elder woman jumped to the center and danced her heart out, and they all cheered for her as she resumed her place in the ring. Another, younger person took their turn, then another. Nobody asked me who I was, what I was doing there, or anything. I was just there, and they accepted me as one of them. There were many children from infants to teenagers, to people in their elder years. People brought their dates as well. There were raffles and food, and everyone had a wonderful time. These dances have been happening every month.
Hope has been planning a theater group to help young people stay away from substance abuse. The theory here being that young people choose substances to fill a hole in their lives, and that we should give them something positive to fill that hole with instead. Give them theater! Give them someone to be! Help them become stronger individuals by teaching them strength of character and character development.
There is a spaghetti dinner planned for March 10th, and originally, the proceeds were to go to the wedding of Hope’s DJ, though he has graciously offered to donate them to help Hope stay alive. The dinner will include karaoke and probably some other things as well. The people of Hope know how to throw a party.
Yesterday morning, the director found out that the center, and three of the four other branches are set to close due to lack of funding. Yesterday afternoon, the Hope community said “No.” Last night, WMUR was on site to interview and broadcast some of the members who were able to make it out to stand and protest the closing of their center.
Franklin needs Hope. We talk so often, and so much about the drug crisis in New Hampshire, but when it comes down to it, what are we willing to do to help? I know that Hope helps. I have heard the testimonies from the people who have been helped by this center. Hundreds of people walk through those doors every month looking for help. Without Hope, many of these people would still be in the throes of their addictions. They would be without jobs, living on the streets. The truth is, if we want to help stop this drug crisis, we need to put our money where the help is. I know that I, for one, would by far prefer to see addicts find help in recovery than to see them on the streets.
We stand for Hope, help us find a way to keep it alive.