Fourth Annual Take a Walk in our Shoes
CONWAY — A drug addiction awareness walk and rally held Sunday in Conway and Fryeburg, Maine, was a success, according to its organizer.
Mt. Washington Valley Supports Recovery organizes the annual "Take a Walk in Our Shoes" event, which this year marked its fourth anniversary.
Both the Conway and Fryeburg walks began around 10:30 a.m.
The Conway walk started at Visiting Nurses Home Care & Hospice at 1529 White Mountain Highway and ended at Schouler Park, for a distance of 2.2 miles. The Fryeburg walk ran from Swans Falls Road to the Visitor Center on Route 302, a distance of 1.8 miles.
A rally at Schouler Park was held at noon. The rally included a barbecue lunch, information booths, and a Narcan kit demonstration and distribution. Narcan is a drug that reverses opioid overdoses.
MWVSR President Janice Spinney said 335 people attended the event. She also said there were 79 walkers in Conway and 29 in Fryeburg.
"I'm very pleased with how it went," said Spinney on Monday, adding there were 12 addiction resource providers attending the event and that more than 20 Narcan kits were distributed.
"We had some families there that were finding recovery this year so that really made me smile," she noted.
She also pleased with the weather Sunday, which was warm with no rain.
"You can say the recovery gods were shining down on us," said Spinney adding it was a bit hot for the walkers.
She said during the walk, she and Joey Rodriguez, a MWV Recovery coach who lives in Conway, had the walkers chanting "All Paths to Recovery" and " Who are we? We are Recovery Allies." She said people from the stores and restaurants in North Conway Village cheered them on.
Spinney said Rep. Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett) and Rep. Karen Umberger (R-Conway) both attended and expressed their support.
Ryan Fowler of Granite Pathways — a Concord group that began as a grass-roots initiative that introduced the “clubhouse” model for addiction recovery in New Hampshire — was the guest speaker. Spinney said Fowler did an "excellent job."
"His specific message was harm reduction," said Spinney. "Meaning if we don't support people who get on medication-assisted treatment or decide to use clean needles, we are really not supporting recovery."
During the rally, Spinney said the names of four community members who died of an overdose over the past year.
"I made a pretty strong statement that I hope I don't need to mention any names at the event next year," said Spinney, adding all four were under the age of 40.
She identified them by their first names: Bryce, Roxanne, Tracey and Zach.
The walk is a fundraiser for MWV Supports Recovery, which operates a community resource center and a sober living house for women who have completed residential treatment programs. Both facilities are located at 1620 East Main St. in Center Conway.
Spinney said the event raised a bit over $4,000, which is enough to receive matching funds of $5,000 for a U.S. Rural Development grant. She said Monday that she is still in the process of determining how much exactly was netted by pledges and donations for the walk.
The grant will allow MWV Supports Recovery to purchase things like a road sign and maintenance equipment like a snowblower, lawn mower and a ladder.
One disappointment, she said was that petitions for town warrant articles to ask area towns to help fund MWV Supports Recovery were forgotten and not brought out in order to collect signatures. Spinney said that was "a bummer."
"Now we have to run around to each town, but that's OK," she said.
Third Annual Take a Walk in Our Shoes Recovery Event
MWV Supports Recovery Coalition will hold its third annual Take a Walk in Our Shoes on Sunday, Sept. 17, to bring people together as a community to support and grow the recovery movement in Carroll County.
Teams are forming and pledges are being collected for the event, which now includes two options for walks and a 2.5-hour county-wide motorcycle rideall planned for Sunday, Sept. 17 starting at 10 a.m. and wrapping up at 3 p.m. (the rain date is Sunday Sept. 24). This year’s theme is Recovery Strong!
All walkers and riders receive a free lunch ticket; tickets available for non-participation with a small donation. You don’t have to walk, ride or collect pledges to join the rally.
People can participate in one of two walks between 10 a.m. and noon. One starts at Visiting Nurse Home Care and Hospice, 1529 White Mountain Highway to Schouler Park; the other starts at Fryeburg Fairgrounds at Swan Fall Road to Stateline Visitor Center.
This year, MWV Supports Recovery added a 2.5-hour county-wide motorcycle ride starting at Scenic Overlook in Intervale going to Abbott and Staples in Ossipee then to Wolfeboro, turning around in the Wolfeboro Chamber parking lot, riding by for a a toot salute White Horse in Center Ossipee then back to North conway on Route 16 to join the rally at Schouler Park.
MWV Supports Recovery invited all county town selectman boards and offices, commissioners, police departments, fire and rescue and the growing organizations supporting the recovery moment, and hopes to have 500 people participate.
In addition to the family style barbecue starting at noon, there will be music, activities for kids, raffle items, inspirational and guest speakers. A presentation to a special family, community member or service provider will also be made.
MWV Supports Recovery is a non-profit grassroots family organization created in 2015. With the supportive help of fiduciary agent Vaughan Community Services, the group has begun the work to enhance recovery options in Carroll County, Western Maine and the Mount Washington Valley.
Since 2015, it has initiated several programs to educate, train and support the recovery movement. At its Center Conway location on 1620 East Main St., MWV Supports Recovery runs a full resource center with recovery coaches — peer support programming like Narcotics Anonymous, along with yoga, family support FASTER and drop in. Endeavor House recovery living for woman will be opening this fall and will house up to eight women in transitional housing.
Pledge sheets for individuals and teams are available on the MWV Supports Recovery website at mwvsupportsrecovery.com, or stop in at 1620 East Main St., Center Conway or call the offices at at (603) 662-0668 for more information.
All funds raised will be used to support Endeavor House upgrades and MWV Supports Recovery resource center staff development and operations.
Memorial Hospital Sponsors MWV Supports Recovery
Women on the Streets, MWVSR asks the question: Are you open to recovery?
MWV Supports Recovery now offering services
Mount Washington Valley Supports Recovery has announced it is offering addiction recovery coaching out of its new facility on East Main Street in Center Conway. Meanwhile the group is fundraising to help pay for improvements to the building.
MWV Supports Recovery was founded by Intervale resident Janice Spinney in 2015 to help people overcome substance abuse disorders. It also has organized an annual event, "Take A Walk in Our Shoes," held in various Carroll County towns as well as Fryeburg, Maine, over the past two years.
In September, MWVSR closed on the property at 1620 East Main St., next to the Center Conway United Methodist Church.
The building was formerly owned by The Echo Group, now based in Conway Village, a maker of computer software for behavioral health organizations like drug and alcohol agencies.
The building will house recovery coaching, peer to peer support and in the future a residential recovery home for women, which could possibly open this spring.
The building is now open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. to allow people to meet with coaches who have been trained to engage with people who are seeking recovery or are in the early stages, according to Spinney, the group's board chair, and fellow board member Rose Normandin of Fryeburg, who is also the head recovery coach and board treasurer.
"If you are a person with substance abuse disorder, you can walk in any of those days or call our number an interact with a recovery coach," Spinney said.
MWVSR has six recovery coaches and hopes to have more trained in the spring.
"Six people won't be enough for the community once we get up and running," said Normandin, adding that the coaches will be needed to give the clients attention and to cover the hours.
Recovery coaches not only counsel clients but help them find the resources to help them fight their addiction. Active users' first step would be a three- to five-day stint in medical detox, Spinney and Normandin said. They said people are sent to places like Hampstead Hospital or Concord and Portsmouth area hospitals.
On Thursday nights, the center is hosting a program called Families Advocating Substance Treatment, Education & Recovery where families can get together to share stories and gain information.
Another peer support program will be Drop In meetings for people in recovery and their families.
Right now, MWVSR is helping about 10 or 12 people per week through its various programs.
Spinney and Normandin said they expect the numbers to grow quickly once word gets out that they are open.
Normandin hopes those in recovery will spread the word to those who are actively using.
Spinney said they also hope to get the word out through places like Memorial Hospital, Saco River Medical Group and Carroll County Coalition for Public Health.
Later this year, MWVSR is planning to open a six- to eight-bed recovery house for women called Endeavor House.
For months, this part of the project was called a "sober living house," but Spinney and Normandin said they prefer the new nomenclature for the residential portion of the facility.
Mothers will be allowed to stay there but not their children. The name "Endeavor House" was chosen by Spinney and approved by the MWVSR's board.
In The News
Mount Washington Valley Supports Recovery Coalition, a local organization dedicated to helping drug addicts, has announced plans to open a sober living home on East Main Street in Center Conway ahead of its second annual awareness walk.
"Talk a Walk in Our Shoes" begins at 10 a.m. Sept. 18 at the Conway Area Overlook in Intervale to Schouler Park. The Fryeburg Area walk starts at the Fryeburg Fairgrounds and goes to the Stateline Visitor Center. A fundraising cookout in North Conway's Schouler Park will follow.
MWVRC recently closed on the old Echo Building, at 1620 East Main St., next to the Center Conway United Methodist Church.
It will be used for office space as well as a residence for addicts trying to stay clean after detox. The coalition mortgaged the building for $200,000 from the Echo Group. The coalition hopes to own the building outright in three years.
"We can finally get down to helping people," said the coalition's founder, Janice Spinney of Intervale. "This is about giving people the opportunity to find recovery here in the community."
The building was formerly owned by The Echo Group, now based in Conway Village. The Echo Group makes computer software for behavioral health organizations like drug and alcohol agencies.
Echo Group Chairman George Epstein said the closing date was Sept. 2.
He believes the building will be an ideal place for the coalition, which will need rooms for residential living, as well as administration and counseling.
"It's designed for all those things," said Epstein, adding that Echo Group has owned the building for roughly 30 years.
The building will be able to house four to eight people.
Originally, it was planned to be co-ed, but may end up serving only one gender, said Spinney.
There are four bedrooms, and two people would share one room, though that's subject to change depending on intake flow and room availability. The other side of the building would be used for meeting rooms as well as being rented out to service providers. The coalition hopes to open in December or next January.
"It depends how quick we can get the funds to renovate and how quick we can get the general contractors to do the work," said Spinney.
The coalition is applying for grants in addition to holding fundraisers, she said.
As for activities at the park on Sept. 18, in addition to the cookout, there will also be henna tattoos and face painting, a homemade cookie table, a dog treat table, raffles and a resource table with a number of health-care providers. The cookout will be free for the those taking part in the walk, but others will have to pay.
There will also be an activity in which people can decorate shoes for a display near the event tent. The coalition has shoes, glitter, stickers and paint that people can use.
"We ask people to put whatever they want on the shoes, whether it be a picture of a child, a syringe or an AA symbol — anything that symbolizes their recovery on the shoe," said Spinney.
There are big shoes, baby shoes and boots. Materials were donated. For more information, visit the Facebook page for "Take A Walk In Our Shoes Sun Sept 18th."
To sign up for the walk, go to www.mwvsupportsrecovery.org.
Once the sober house is up and running, residents will be required to pay rent and have a job. They will be able to stay for between three and six months. A staff house manager will live on the premises.
"Usually, they are not paid because they run the house, but you can pay them and allow them to have their own job as long as they are maintaining what they need to for the residents," said Spinney about the house manager.
Residents will be screened in the intake process. They must be totally drug-free. Applicants would come to the house after a 14-to-28-day detox program
The former Echo building was originally two homes dating back to the turn of the 20th century. The east wing served as the post office for a time. The Echo Group acquired that portion in 1987 and the home that would become Echo's west wing around 1990, said Epstein.
Echo joined the two buildings together. For a time, it rented it out as a business incubator and also used it as temporary lodging for new employees or customers who came to Conway to visit Echo.
"Otherwise, it has been very empty for five or six years," said Epstein.
Pinkham Real Estate's Greydon Turner said there have been a number of showings at the property over the past few years and that most of the potential buyers wanted to turn the building into apartments. He said it totals around 7,400 square feet.
"We figure it's a very good place for the coalition," said Turner. "There's plenty of space for them to grow as their program takes off."
Several members of the coalition said they became involved in the project because addiction has touched their family.
Chris Spinney, 31, of Conway said he is a former heroin addict who is now two years sober. He moved to Conway at 6 years old and later developed an addiction problem at age 18. By his late 20s, he had a heroin habit.
But he was able to get treatment and is now the author of an e-book series, "Heroin Recovery is Possible."
He said he believes the sober living home will be helpful to Conway because there are more addicts now than in 2014 when he stopped using.
"Recovery is possible, and I'm proof of that," said Chris Spinney. "Just because you are an addict today does not mean you can't in the future become a productive member of society."
The language of ‘addiction’
by Janice Spinney, Founder, MWV Supports Recovery
by Janice Spinney, Founder, MWV Supports Recovery
MWV Supports Recovery holding hosting a Community Forum, "Save A Life, Change A Path"
MWV Supports Recovery is hosting a Community Forum, "Save A Life, Change A Path," with screening of the documentary "Cycle: An Addiction Story," which was filmed here in Carroll County, followed by a panel of local experts leading a community discussion of the issues in our county. The forum will take place at the North Conway Community Center, 2628 White Mountain Hwy, North Conway, today from 5-8 p.m.
The panel will include Janice Spinney, Conway Police Detective Chris Mattei, Emily Benson from United Way Public Health, and Eric Moran and Yvonne Meisner from White Horse Recovery in Ossipee. Several local state representatives also may attend.
Prior to the film, Carroll County Coalition for Public Health will provide a brief training and demonstration of how to administer naloxone to members of the general public from 5-6 p.m. Those individuals successfully completing the training will be given a kit containing two doses of naloxone at no cost.
The naloxone is being provided by the New Hamphire Department of Health and Human Services.
The documentary screening and open discussion are set to take place from 6-8 p.m. A $3 donation per person is requested.
If you would like more information, contact Janice Spinney at MWV Supports Recovery by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 603-662-0668. You can find the MWV Supports Recovery on Facebook, Twitter, and on the Web at www.mwvsupportsrecovery.org.
The forum is made possible by a grant from the N.H. Charitable Foundation and Green Granite Foundation, North Conway.
Soups & Songs raises nearly $1,500 for Memorial Hospital’s A New Life Program, MWV Supports Recovery
~Conway Daily Sun
CONWAY — Soups & Songs, the second annual dinner and concert fundraiser for recovery services in the Mount Washington Valley, raised nearly $1,500 to benefit Memorial Hospital’s A New Life Program and MWV Supports Recovery.
The event was held earlier this month at the Center Conway United Methodist Church; attendees were treated to a concert and communal dinner.
Kathy Bennett, Thom Perkins and Taylor Whiteside performed a concert of original folk and Americana music. Homemade soups and entrees were served in home-thrown pottery bowls made by local artist Jenny Lanoie and her students.
A New Life, launched three years ago at Memorial, offers a structured, comprehensive program that promotes a coordinated, centralized care approach. By linking the midwifery/obstetric care and more involved treatment for substance use disorder, it improves the coordination of care, the patient experience, ongoing maternal success and newborn health. Pregnancy often becomes a time when women struggling with addiction have new motivation to address their problems. For more information, go to memorialhospitalnh.org/anewlife.
MWV Supports Recovery combines transitional sober living with continued support. This helps women transition to a sober lifestyle after completing primary or extended residential treatment.
This program allows a more complete exploration of the issues that fuel drug and alcohol addiction, and opens the door to a shared understanding of how these problems affect women. This type of environment has a high rate of success in both recovery and relapse deterrence rates.
For more information, go to mwvsupportsrecovery.org.