POTTSVILLE, Pa. — The Presbyterian Cemetery in Pottsville is full of dead leaves, fallen tree branches, and overgrown weeds — making it the perfect place for volunteers from Gaudenzia to clean up.
Employees and clients from the addiction treatment center came to the site on their Labor Day holiday to help improve the cemetery that was in need of some TLC.
“We're here to break the stigma. The whole point of recovery months or any month is to raise awareness. We want to raise awareness that people can get better, that there is hope,” said Paul Noon, Gaudenzia clinical supervisor.
Many of the volunteers are currently in recovery and are getting help through Gaudenzia, including Jessica Wehr from Cressona.
“I thought it would be a good thing to do, just to help the community and get the word out about us and that we're all not bad people,” she said.
While doing yard work in the rain doesn't seem appealing, Wehr says it's become a part of her healing process.
She almost lost her home because of her addiction, and working in her home garden has become her own kind of therapy.
“It does, it gives you a sense of pride, and I'm so grateful for a program like this,” said Wehr.
Wehr and the other clients in recovery are revitalizing the cemetery in a similar way. They're taking care of themselves through their own journey with recovery.
“In this area, it's hard to find things to do that don't involve your past, and I think this is a great idea to get all of us out here doing sober fun,” Wehr added.
They hope this can bring awareness to the world of recovery in Schuylkill County.
“You can live good, productive lives and be responsible citizens and do good while not being a scar on the community,” Noon explained.
Gaudenzia plans to make this community clean-up event an annual tradition for National Recovery Month.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use, call Gaudenzia’s confidential Treatment and Recovery Hotline at 1-833-976-HELP (4357), that’s available 24/7. For additional information, email email@example.com
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