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Have Hope Peer Recovery Center Preparing for Grand Opening
By Kim McMann, iBerkshires Staff
05:15PM / Saturday, January 06, 2024
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Have Hope Peer Recovery Center is moving into its new location on Main Street. Director Rebecca Dodge expects a grand opening next month.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — For the past six months, a growing community has been meeting weekly to create a safe haven for people in recovery.  
And now, that community is able to meet in its own space, the Have Hope Peer Recovery Center located at 37 Main St.
Director Rebecca Dodge on Wednesday pointed out a change from the previous week, the first week the gathering met inside the new center: no borrowed chairs.
"We are sitting on our own chairs," she said to a round of applause.
The organization's mission is peer support recovery rooted in dignity and respect. It was made possible by a five-year state Bureau of Substance and Addiction Services contract through the Brien Center
It is meant to be an accessible hub for peer support and substance-use services as well as a support center for families affected by addiction. The center will support traditional and nontraditional pathways to recovery, while also providing hope and promoting wellness.
A volunteer-led recovery center was established part time in 2019 but closed after changes in staffing and the pandemic. 
Have Hope will operate with a budget, staff, administrative support and a permanent location in the Berkshire Plaza. However, its goal is to be community and peer driven. 
Dodge has long been involved in substance abuse recovery and established the Have Hope Initiative after the death of a close friend from addiction. 
On Wednesday, each attendee was acknowledged and included in the decision making that occurred. A binder that is available to everyone in the center includes notes on all of the progress being made, the changes being adopted and all of the policies in place. Transparency is a key tenet.
Those present, members of the center and the staff, discussed the small changes that had been made to a draft mission statement and then accepted the statement. Next, the vision and values were given a final look before being voted on and accepted.
Then, more good news was announced: in the next week several deliveries are expected: couches, chairs, end tables, shelving, a television, computers, office supplies. In fact, the first order of business that evening was to circulate a volunteer sign-up sheet for those who would come to unbox items, to help put the shelving and other items together and to continue setting up the space. The list quickly grew with eager volunteers.
Program specialist Dylan Hilchey reminded everyone that during these past couple of weeks while they've been waiting for deliveries, staff have already been assisting many people with housing applications, getting IDs, applying for jobs and more. As they get up to speed, the center will be open most days from 10 to 4, but soon will be open Monday through Saturday from 11 to 7.
A grand opening is expected in mid-February and there's much to be accomplished.  
So far, this growing community has collectively chosen the colors for the walls, the flooring, the furniture and even the hours the center should be open. On this evening, discussion focused on the sorts of daily activities that will be scheduled.
"We had a recovery center in town for a little while," one attendee remembered.  "It didn't have support and it faded out. It was only open a couple of days and the hours always changed."
"Consistency! People didn't know when you could go," said another.
Julian Ramos, a recovery coach for the center, described how he "didn't know anything about recovery or detox until I got invited into the recovery center where I lived."  
Another attendee said they utilized the Greenfield and Holyoke recovery centers so had "a pretty good idea of what things can look like." Classes, meetings and life skills were all discussed.
"We can make the fun come true," said Dodge. "People say sobriety isn't fun.  Let's think of the fun we can have too."  
Dances, karaoke, potluck dinners and other activities were added to the list.
The center's core values of acceptance, integrity, community, dignity and respect were particularly evident as the community worked through the discussion, staying focused and making sure everyone was heard.
Nearly 30 people were assembled, arriving on time, following the agenda, enthusiastically taking care of business and envisioning all of the opportunities their futures hold. In just one hour the mission and values statements were accepted, the volunteer list for when deliveries are expected filled, a solid list of activities to schedule was created, and a few other topics were introduced for further discussion.   
The meeting ended then, with everyone agreeing, same time, same place, next week.
The Have Hope Peer Recovery Center is located in Suite 201, 37 Main suite 201, with the entrance on the side of the building. Weekly meetings are currently held on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. For more information, contact the director at or 413-346-8896.
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