WV Day of Hope Gives Faith Organizations a Voice in Substance Abuse Prevention

Martha Polinsky, Project Coordinator, Lori Garrett-Bumba, Program Director, Bishop Dunkin and Bishop Bransfield proudly announce the DAY OF HOPE!
     The Ohio CountySubstance Abuse Prevention Coalition (OCSAPC) & the WV Council of Churches have collaborated to bring a “Prevention & Recovery Sunday” called “WV Day of Hope” to West Virginia churches and other ministries.  OCSAPC plan includes bringing the faith community to the “table” and encourages opportunities for policy change on a state-wide basis.  Faith organizations can shine a light on substance abuse prevention and recovery on a single designated day.  The group applied for and received a proclamation from WV Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.  This one day make a great impact on the lives of many.  Faith groups have the opportunity to help in the following ways:

Ø      Reinforcing Drug & Alcohol Free Youth
Ø      Providing Parent Tips
Ø      Empowering Folks in Recovery & Reducing the Stigma of Addiction 
Ø      Guiding Those Struggling with Substance Abuse
Ø      Supporting Families or Friends of Alcoholics & Addicts. 
Ø      Talking about Community Solutions
Ø      Healing for Children of Alcoholics/Addicts
Ø      Remembering Those Lost to Addiction
Ø      Creating Learning Opportunities
Ø      Finding Help and Resources
     The idea came about when community member Bill Hogan contacted OCSAPC’s Project Coordinator.  Bill had been trying to reach bishops in WV and ask them for help with the substance abuse problem in our state.  As a result, OCSAPC added a faith-based component to their annual membership retreat and had state and local representation from Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist, Catholic and nondenominational faiths.  Several state faith leaders joined local faith leaders to talk about what could be done about substance abuse in WV.  The plan for the “Day of Hope” began. The group agreed WV needed a designated day to unify the promotion of a drug free life-style with folks across the state.  This is a great opportunity to bring prevention strategies to a large receptive audience and to promote and support recovery.  Organizations are encouraged to remain true to their own traditions, beliefs and missions to organize and plan the event for their congregations. 
     In attendance at the faith-based meeting first meeting was Reverend Jeff Allen, Director of the WV Council of Churches and The Most Reverend Bishop Ralph W. Dunkin of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.  To propel the idea, Reverend Allen presented it to the council and they agreed to promote the day to all churches in WV.  They chose September 13, 2015 as the first official Day of Hope.  Each organization or churches are encouraged to add elements to their services to celebrate a substance free life-style.  OCSAPC has invited all state prevention coalitions to promote the “Day of Hope” in their counties to their local faith organizations.    

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