Wernersville, PA – The disease of addiction continues to impact individuals and families across Berks County and throughout the country. Berks HOPE (Helping Others/Providing Expertise), a consortium of experts and community leaders dedicated to making resources for addiction intervention, treatment, and recovery more easily accessible to those who need them, announced it will host a free event, High with Hope in Berks, on February 22, 2017. The event will be held at the Francis Hall Theatre at Alvernia University, 400 Saint Bernardine Street, Reading, PA. Doors open at 5:30pm and the event will run from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.
High with Hope in Berks will feature vignette performances by Tara Handron, Regional Vice President of Caron Treatment Centers’ Recovery Center in Washington, DC. The performances will be an adaptation of Handron’s one-woman show Drunk with Hope in Chicago, which spreads awareness about addiction as well as recovery and helps break down the stigma surrounding the disease. Handron created this adaptation, High with Hope in Berks, to address the specific issues families face in Berks County.
“I am so excited to be performing this special collection of vignettes,” said Handron. “We’re utilizing a new, creative way of illustrating what substance abuse and addiction can look like through various perspectives. In one vignette, I portray a young man who wakes up after blacking out from alcohol use the night before. In another, I represent a mother of a college-aged daughter who is worried about her daughter’s behavior and potential addiction. We want to send the message that addiction does not discriminate – but that there is hope for recovery.”
Handron’s production moves away from clichéd representations of addiction and recovery, relying on complex characters and layered stories to expose the raw emotions experienced by so many impacted by addiction. The vignettes will address a range of issues including: prevention, disease onset, assessment, intervention, treatment, family, and recovery. After each vignette, a panel of local experts will help the audience process each character’s experience, as well as answer common questions.
The discussion will feature panelists from Alvernia University, Caron, Common Ground, Council on Chemical Abuse (COCA), Easy Does It (EDI), Herd by a Horse, Reading Health System, Treatment Access Services (TASC), and a local parent.
“It’s critical for communities to come together to address the issue of addiction that is devastating so many lives,” said Doug Tieman, President and CEO of Caron who helped organize the Berks HOPE consortium. “It can be a daunting task for families in need of addiction treatment to find the right resources for their loved ones. The goal of the Berks HOPE consortium and the High with Hopes in Berks event is to connect families to the most appropriate resources, and educate them about the disease.”
This is the third event hosted by the Berks HOPE consortium, whose members include Caron, TASC, COCA, Reading Health System, EDI, Common Ground Recovery Ministry, the Berks County District Attorney’s Office, Rick Wolf (Education Leader and Retired Assistant Superintendent of Governor Mifflin School District), the Berks County Medical Society, and the Reading School District.
High with Hope in Berks will also feature an exhibition of local organizations that provide addiction treatment, education, recovery and/or family support services. Representatives from each of these organizations will be available to answer questions.
“The goal of this event is to spread awareness, and ultimately, hope,” said Yvonne Stroman, Community Programs Specialist for COCA and the event’s moderator. “We want Berks families to know that there are resources and support available. They are not alone.”