In 2019, Cumming, Georgia will be opening a recovery community center.
It was the fall of 2017 when I first had the opportunity to venture out across the country and begin bringing our training on Community Organizing to our initial 15 communities. These communities, who made up our Pilot Community Project, ranged from large urban centers to suburban towns to rural communities. As Facing Addiction with NCADD worked its way through developing this program, learning lessons from each town that we visited, so many of these leaders stood up, took the mantle, and began working on the goals they developed in order to bring the change they sought to their communities.
One of our original 15 communities was Cumming, Georgia. The Recovery Community Foundation of Forsyth, one of the over 900 members of our Action Network Coalition, served as the primary contact within the community. Cumming is approximately an hour northeast of Atlanta and is the county seat of Forsyth County.
After receiving our training in September 2017, organizers in Forsyth County came together to use the framework we provide communities to determine what goals they should work on moving forward. The community quickly came to the conclusion that what they hoped to do was to open a recovery community center. We provided some rough initial thinking to the community as to just how they could go about doing this.
Leaders in the community rolled up their sleeves and got down to work. Not everything they tried worked initially, but after over a year of organizing, working with local officials and identifying funding sources, their hard work paid off. In early December, I received an email from Catherine Rosborough, the unbelievably passionate and determined leader of the Recovery Community Foundation. Organizers in Cumming had gotten the job done. In 2019, they would be opening a recovery community center.
The Recovery Community Center in Cumming will provide numerous services to those seeking support in Forsyth County, free of charge, including Womens Book Study, All Recovery meetings, SMART Recovery, Nurturing Fathers, Gratitude, Friday social gatherings (acoustic night, movie night, Sober Super Bowl, etc.) and public education and training, including Narcan and recovery messaging. Programming is being developed in response to the Community voice so it is fluid in nature.
Where does the credit for this tremendous accomplishment rest? It rests with organizers like Catherine and others in Cumming who mapped out a goal, saw what needed to be done to achieve the goal, remained flexible and adjusted their planning over time – and then got it done. Passion got these organizers going, but it was their commitment to the work that completed the project. And these leaders have proven that through community organizing, our cities and towns can move our issue forward – and by doing so, they can and will save lives.