Families struggling with addiction, doing their best to reclaim their lives often find that as they work to pick up the pieces of their lives, finances can be extra difficult. On the journey to a healthier life, meeting even basic needs can be a challenge. For these families, the holidays can hurt.
“Imagine being a parent doing your best and still not being able to give your kids anything for Christmas,” Kristen Swords, member of SOLACE administrative staff, stated.
Swords, who has lived in the area and watched children walk to school without coats, explained that in order to help lessen the burden on clients, SOLACE staff members work together to offer a Christmas dinner and gifts for the families of each client. In the past, SOLACE staff members would use their own money to make sure that this special event took place. However, as they expand, the financial demand means asking for help.
Swords and SOLACE Counselor Angel Vest explained that this year they have reached out to the community, asking to help cover the cost of Christmas gifts for the children of addiction.
Vest explained that SOLACE has gone from having approximately 70 clients to over 200.
“We can’t really dig that deep into our pockets,” Swords commented.
This year, the dinner will be catered. However, Vest explained that last year, SOLACE staff members spent days cooking in order to make the dinner a success, and the result was a therapeutic experience for everyone in attendance, staff included.
“They (clients) were so happy, and it was a really good time in a safe space, which is important,” Vest stated.
For this year’s dinner, all of the clients have been invited in for an intimate and private evening with Santa. SOLACE is also working to get a personalized gift for each child.
Swords explained that all the growth has really been possible through the move to their new location on 6th Street; however, the location is not all that has changed. Swords explained that SOLACE is already offering more evidence-based practices with different types of therapy and even more options to come, including creative expression/art therapy and even animal-assisted therapy. Next year, SOLACE should have many new certifications, allowing them to offer the most current research-based methods with educated staff members who are skilled in their fields.
Vest, who has been with SOLACE since 2016 says the changes she has seen since her employment with the non-profit treatment center have been exponential.
“We have grown a lot, and we’ve had a lot of really great changes,” she stated. “We are doing a lot so that we can better help clients, and we’re doing a lot of evidence-based practices, which then better helps the community as a whole.”
Vest and Swords explained that there will be a grand opening and open house coming in 2018, during which time they will show off the huge space and all of the new treatment options they offer. For now, they are holding off on announcing all the new advancements, keeping a few surprises for the grand opening. Among those surprises will be a new name.
“Rest assured that what’s going on behind these doors is phenomenal in terms of holistic care,” Swords stated. “I think that change will start here. I look for this place to be the leading facility in the area.”
Both agreed 2018 will be the year for SOLACE and thus the year for a healthier community.
For more information about SOLACE or to contribute to the Christmas drive, visit Solace of Portsmouth on Facebook, mysolace.org or call 740-876-8290.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.