Posted by Maggie Howard on May 05, 2019
The Rotary Club of Gloucester recently collaborated with several local agencies to present a substance misuse prevention and self-care forum to every student at the Gloucester High School.  Over the course of two days, the forum brought together three local organizations, the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI), Gloucester’s Health Department, and Children’s Friend and Family Services, to provide students with real stories of addiction and recovery, as well as the importance of self-care. 
Three recent Gloucester High School graduates, Cody Desmond, Lilly Salah and Christian Maki, who are in recovery, gave students some insight into their struggles through addiction and journey to recovery during a guided conversation with PAARI’s Care Advocate and Outreach Specialist, Tito Rodriguez.  This was followed by a presentation from Children’s Friend and Family who focused more on the prevention side of things, stressing the importance of self-care as an alternative to using substances to manage stress.  Students were provided with an opportunity to ask questions of the panelists and the presentation was followed by a survey, with many students expressing how impactful the presentation was for them and also hoping that other opportunities would arise to invite the speakers back to the high school.
This forum was an opportunity for the Rotary Club of Gloucester to provide outreach and education around a topic that has profoundly impacted so many in the Gloucester community.