Victory Over Addiction
Supporting Addiction Recovery, Inspiring Community Discovery
Website or social media url(s) (optional):
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Established (successfully passed early phases, have a plan for the future)
1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."
Addiction not only takes an emotional toll on the person affected, but also on their surrounding friends and family. Trying to balance my education and extracurricular activities while dealing with the suffering of a loved-one many times became overwhelming. I remember feeling helpless, wondering what I could possible do to help, providing love and support without enabling is a tough balance. I have seen how proper support can be the difference between life and death, however, despite the severity of the issue, there does not seem to be a sufficient amount of long term help. I was compelled to take action after a close family member lost their battle with addiction, and founded the 501(c)(3)nonprofit "Victory Over Addiction" in order to deal with my family's hardships as well as my own feelings of helplessness and sadness.
2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
Drug abuse, alcoholism, and addiction kill tens of thousands of people annually in the United States alone. Since 2000, overdose fatality rates have more than doubled and alcohol related deaths continue to climb. For some, these may be mere news statistics in a world filled with problems, but for many they are lost mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons. The problem perpetuates largely due to the nearly 90% relapse rate after initial treatment.
3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
Supporting those that have left medical rehabilitation is paramount to long term success. We strive to provide a supportive environment with supplies and necessities for everyday living needs for recovering individuals that have completed their initial rehab treatment. Victory Over Addiction's projects are broken up into three main categories: educational awareness and prevention, recovery outreach, and sober homes. To educate our fellow students and community of the dangers and consequences of addiction, we present to local organizations and school groups including DEKA, National Honors Society, and rotary clubs. We also work with recovery houses and sober homes throughout New Hampshire, such as "Amber's Place" and "Hope for New Hampshire Recovery" to provide food, supplies, mattresses, and furniture to recovering individuals. We are staffed with student volunteers, many of whom were affected through a loved one's struggle. In addition to our numerous fundraisers that utilize young volunteer's talents and passions, our annual "Color Race" unites young changemakers, recovering individuals, and their families. Our long term goal is to buy and run a post-recovery sober home.
4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
First, we share our vision and mission with prospective volunteers and gain a sense of their strengths and interests to find a project that best suits them. One specific example to illuminate this process was the story of Royce Belsky, age 18, who is now on the Board of Directors. When initially approached, he was unsure of how anyone his age could make a lasting impact in the addiction recovery community, but after explaining how our nonprofit is student driven, he began to help fundraise door-to-door and deliver food and furniture to recovery homes. He also utilized his social skills to organize an annual "Color Race" to get younger community members involved and unite the friends and family of those suffering from addiction.
5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
It is a popular misconception that when an individual has completed their rehabilitation treatment, there addiction has been broken forever. This is not the case - recovery is a life long journey. However, often times when an individual has gone through medical withdraw and leaves rehabilitation, they return back to the same neighborhoods and conditions that contributed to fostering their addictions. What sets us apart from existing organizations is our focus on providing support after the initial rehabilitation treatment. We are also completely student driven, which attracts youth attention.
6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
We present to local organizations and school groups including DEKA, National Honors Society, and rotary clubs. We also support the annual “Senior Safe Night Event”, which provides over 200 seniors a safe, alcohol-free environment on the night of graduation. In addition, I have gained the support of over 70 local businesses and set up over 100 donation jars all over the community. We have partnered with numerous other nonprofits that share our mission such as "Hope for New Hampshire Recovery", which serves roughly 230 people in the recovery-community every day. We bring furniture, mattresses, and beds to sober houses across New Hampshire and have helped hundreds of recovering people take back their lives.
7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
The next upcoming "Color Race" is scheduled for September 22, 2018 and based on sign ups and current progress with Positive Tracks, we expect double the turnout of last year. One of our main long term goals, and the next major step for taking our organization to the next level is to purchase and run a recover/sober home of our own that caters to post-clinical treatment. When addiction takes hold of an individual, they often times lose having a place to live, leaving people feeling abandoned and desperate. When this happens, even finding a place to rent is next to impossible leaving them vulnerable to relapse. Our vision involves a sober home that fosters a long term recovery environment support system, free from past negative influences.
8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?
In order to make our vision of a long term recovery sober home a reality, the primary resource needed is funding to purchase the property. Our past three years of fundraising has brought us closer and closer, but at our current pace it would take years. We currently have a sufficient volunteer base to repair and maintain the house as well as several partners and Board members with renting/ real estate experience to make our vision a reality.
9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
Donations less than $100
Donations between $100-$1k
Donations between $1k-$5k
10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.
We are always looking for new volunteers and changemakers that are excited to improve their community and are currently establishing new younger leadership to carry on Victory Over Addiction's many projects and overall vision. Each leader within the organization brings a unique skillset to the table and are delegated responsibilities that align well with their abilities. As word of our organization spreads and the "Color Race" event grows in popularity, younger changemakers are inspired to get involved, and train for leadership positions within Victory Over Addiction. In addition to the people that we serve, the ripple effects extends to their family and friends that support them, who are inspired by their recovery and encouraged to get more involved combating the issue due to seeing the positive affects of our work and support.
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