ROAR Center hosts fundraiser for sober environment facility
It's a program that offers a safe space for people recovering from drug addictions to spend their time.
"We offer them a place to go where they can feel comfortable and be around people that can understand where they're at," said Mary Jane Yesh, Assistant Program Manager of the ROAR Center in Sharon.
The center is a sober-focused community center that provides and promotes healthy alternatives to drug use and was created within the Mercer County Coalition for Drug Awareness.
"We have people, hundreds who come through our door every month," explained Tracy Weimer, Treasurer of the ROAR Center in Sharon. "A lot of them do use the facility on a regular basis because maybe they're involved in a class or program there."
The 4th Annual Flurries 'N Fun gala is the largest annual fundraiser for the ROAR Center, which is run by Mercer County Coalition for Drug Awareness. The event welcomed over 100 guests Friday evening at The Corinthian Banquet Hall and Event Center in Downtown Sharon.
"We help addicts in early recovery," explained Austina Hutchins, Program Manager of the ROAR Center in Sharon. "They come down for meetings. We help with our programs like raising their endorphins through arts and crafts, yoga, bingo and, activities like that."
21 News spoke with some employees of the coalition who are also in recovery and gave credit to the ROAR Center and coalition for turning their life around.
"I know that it's hard walking through those doors and asking people for help. I've been there," Hutchins added. "So, just know you're not alone and that we are there to help."
Hutchins said the ROAR program started her recovery when she went to several meetings offered. She took a life skills class through the ROAR Center and eventually got hired as the Program Manager. "Everything I do with my recovery started with the ROAR Center."
"The ROAR Center gave me a place to start again and they were very open and loving," Yesh added. "The meetings that occurred there was such a great opportunity."
Yesh said she has a background in education but was never able to work in the field because of her addiction. Now, she is able to work as an assistant in a positive way. "That ultimately helps me and my recovery because it's about giving back," Yesh added.
The funds raised by the coalition will go towards programming expenses in hopes to expand the classes they offer.
"We grew so much that in July we had to open in addition to our ROAR Center, it's called S'more ROAR so that's a good problem to have because we had so many people that needed to use our facility," Weimer added.
As Mercer County has seen record-high numbers of drug overdose deaths in recent years, the group aims to spread awareness about addiction and promote a better way of life for those they serve.
"There's still a lot of stigmas out there and we really need to break that stigma," Weimer said, "This is a disease and if it's not treated, people will die."
The ROAR Center also collaborates with county agencies to assist people with housing, education, food, and clothing.
For information on how to donate or seek assistance from this program, visit the center's website or give them a call at 724-308-6662.