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The day was filled with balloon art, face painting, vendor displays, musical interludes, inspirational stories and lots of love for those who were lost from substance use disorder and those in recovery. The day's top fundraising teams were Grateful Dan in first place and Team FWH/Trident in second.
The walk was organized by Pamela Capaci, CEO of HSL, Nancy Moore, Family Services Coordinator of HSL, and Emily Hendricks, Program Director of HSL.
"Those impacted by substance use disorder typically don't know where to turn for help," said Moore. "HOPE Sheds light offers these individuals a community to lean on. We are stronger together than we could ever be walking this journey alone."
After a few opening words from HSL Co-founder Steve Willis, a host of dignitaries and guest speakers who have been impacted by addiction took the stage. Dignitaries included: Sgt. Melissa Rose of the Ocean County Prosecutors Office and Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Lindsay Ashwal.
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Hendricks had the honor of cutting the start ribbon to kick of the walk. "This was such a special moment that I will treasure forever," she said. "I walked to show that anyone can stop using, lose the desire to use, and find a new way to live with the help of each other. Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate this special day with us."
HSL was started after Ron Rosetto lost his son, Marc to a hard-fought battle against substance abuse disorder. When the Rosetto family was going through this very difficult time, they struggled to find the help they so desperately needed. Since the family and friends of those with addiction problems often feel isolated, ashamed, overwhelmed and hopeless, Ron, alongside friends Stephen Willis and Arvo Prima, whose sons also were battling addiction at the time, founded HSL. Shortly after, Stephen's son, Mark lost his battle with the disease of addiction. A few years later, Arvo's son, Paavo lost his fight with the disease.
Ron, Stephen and Arvo have since dedicated their lives to keeping their sons' legacy alive by helping others find the courage to face addiction and find recovery.
During the event, the three co-founder shared their personal stories. "Addiction is a disease that consumes everyone close to the person suffering. We all need help, and we all need each other for support to recover. God speaks through people," noted Prima. "This organization has changed my life in many wonderful ways because it continues to teach and keep me connected to my recovery and my family's well-being," stated Willis. "We are here to not only honor the people we lost, but to honor the people standing here today in recovery. Today we celebrate life," proclaimed Rosetto.
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Celebrating its 10th anniversary, HSL continues to grow and evolve, raising awareness and educating individuals, families and the community about the impact of substance use disorder in Ocean and Monmouth Counties and beyond. Through peer-to-peer coaching and support groups, wellness programs and educational programs for the whole family, HSL strives to reduce stigma in order to make way for new outcomes.
Capaci offered her appreciation to the entire community, as well as the HSL team for their unwavering support through the years. "We started out as a grassroots effort, and today, ten years later, we stand firm on our mission driven decision to serve the community," she said. "HOPE's growth means that more and more people each day are being served with love and coached toward recovery. We can't wait to see what the future holds."
About HOPE Sheds Light, Inc.
HOPE Sheds Light, Inc. is an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (Tax ID: 46-3910504) that is supported by friends and families directly affected by substance use disorder and found recovery through continuous love, support and understanding. The mission of HSL is to raise awareness and educate individuals, families and the community about the impact of substance use disorder by having the courage to share personal experiences and offer strength, wisdom, hope and resources that lead to positive community change and long-term recovery. To learn more or to donate, please visit http://www.HOPEShedsLight.org.
Design 446, Allison Brown
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