HOPE Sheds Light, Inc., a Toms River-based non-profit organization, dedicated to educating families on the disease of addiction, drew nearly 3,000 people to the Seaside Heights Boardwalk for its sixth annual Celebration of HOPE Walk on Sept. 7.
“We would like to express our gratitude for everyone’s participation at our sixth annual Celebration of HOPE Walk,” said Pamela Capaci, CEO of HOPE Sheds Light. “It was a wonderful day and we had nearly 3,000 attendees, media coverage and community support. We would also like to congratulate Team FWH, Team Stepping Up For Sabrina and Team Bob Dra for your outstanding fundraising efforts this year.”
At the Celebration of HOPE Walk, the community came together to learn about addiction and celebrate recovery and provide hope to those affected.
“Those impacted by addiction typically don’t know where to turn for help,” Capaci said. “Our walk offers them a community of support, and it is just so powerful to see our community come together to provide hope for those suffering from this epidemic. It truly is a celebration of recovery.”
The walk featured more than 70 onsite vendors who offered community support for family members and friends of those dealing with addiction and substance use disorder. The event also highlighted three inspirational speakers, a Tree of HOPE to remember those who were lost, face painting for the kids, music, a 50/50 raffle and more. Live music was provided by the Zzak G. Applaud Our Kids Foundation and Love More for Julius represented by Niki Sumka and Chris Aguayo.
“We know that there’s not one right way to recovery, there are many,” said Stephen Willis, co-founder of HOPE Sheds Light and master of ceremonies at the event. “And we also know that to be successful in recovery, we have to want change and believe that change is possible. HOPE exists, as families in recovery, to share our hope and joy and our blessings with you. It’s hope that gives us the energy to move forward. We have to draw strength from the wisdom of our peers because when we do it, we start getting better. But we must believe that there is a better life beyond the confines of our own limited thinking and that’s hope and that’s what HOPE Sheds Light is. That’s what we offer. It’s a wonderful combination of faith, hope and love grounded in wisdom, strength and experience. Why do we do it? Because our sons want us to. Because by helping you get well, we elevate the lives of our blessed boys.”
Founded in 2012 after co-founder Ron Rosetto lost his son Marc to a battle against substance abuse, HOPE Sheds Light serves to provide help and resources to families affected by addiction. Rosetto, along with co-founders Arvo Prima and Stephen Willis, Capaci, and a team of board members and volunteers, work year-round to support families impacted by this epidemic that is so prevalent on the Jersey Shore and across New Jersey.
Looking to the future, HOPE Sheds Light is excited to announce the expansion of its mission and focus to include the opening of a new recovery community center in Toms River.
“Our HOPE Sheds Light Recovery Center will be led and governed by representatives of the local recovery community,” Capaci said. HOPE Sheds Light will be a hub for community members to access peer-based recovery support services, community education and outreach programs, academic and vocational training, family strengthening and reunification programs, trauma-informed support services, family support groups, social/recreational outings, wellness workshops and physical activities for the whole family.
To learn more, visit HOPEShedsLight.org.