Deborah, Shea, and Lindsay (names left to right) sit at the Strength in Peers booth. They are here to provide information and resources to those challenged with mental health and substance abuse problems. Photo by Maeve Scherpereel
Deborah, Shea, and Lindsay (names left to right) sit at the Strength in Peers booth. They are here to provide information and resources to those challenged with mental health and substance abuse problems. Photo by Maeve Scherpereel

Harrisonburg organizations help community members recover

July 21, 2022

July 19th was the second Tuesday where the community came together to help recently released prisoners. On the top of the Water Street parking garage, nine different organizations met up and opened up their own temporary booths with the singular goal of helping disadvantaged people acclimate back into society.

The booths display various items. One booth, Strength in Peers, is a non-profit organization that works to help those with mental health and substance abuse challenges.

“We work with a lot of people who are in jail or prison or have been recently let out,” said Shea, a peer recovery specialist at Strength in Peers.

A wide variety of resources are included in the booth of Strength in Peers. Free hygiene bags, fentanyl testing strips, booklets with recovery centers and various hotlines, and Covid-19 testing kits are a few items. Shea also told us that they provide computers at their office to ease the job-application process.

Strength in Peers isn’t the only booth that provides help for those struggling with substance abuse. Another notable organization is Brightview Health. Brightview is an addiction treatment clinic that works as a medical alternative for those seeking help.

Brightview Health helps people recover using new methods. According to their website, brightviewhealth.com, Brightview combines standard medical treatment with psychological therapy and social services to give their patients the complete support they need to conquer their addiction. With over 65 locations across the South-East United States, Brightview has certainly been doing its part to help.

“We take all insurance, no insurance, medicare, and Medicaid,” states Trina, a community outreach manager at Brightview.

Kingsway is an organization with a focus on families. With only one paid worker and the rest being volunteers, this small but mighty group is making a difference. They focus on providing people with work opportunities and other resources such as gas cards.

“We have a project for the children during Christmastime,” said Pam, a volunteer at Kingsway. “And we had about 400 children that we had gotten gifts for.”

Career-oriented companies are also crucial to helping people get back into a safe, everyday society. Division and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) is a state-funded organization working to help people find a good working environment.

“People with disabilities are extremely underserved in our society,” said Darlene, an employee at DARS.

July 19th is just another example proving that Harrisonburg really is the ‘Friendly City’.

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