As dusk set on August 2022, Rosecrance staff, alumni, and clients paused to honor the memory of individuals lost to overdose. This was the first year that all major Rosecrance sites and regions collaborated to mark International Overdose Awareness Day with luminaria walks and other activities.
“It is important that, together, we recognize everyone’s lived experiences, struggles, and successes,” said Therapeutic Recreation Coordinator Abby Nelson, M.S., CTRS. “Embracing these stories allows us to build bridges with clients and community members to develop a stronger sense of purpose, direction, and meaning.”
Luminaria walks took place at Rosecrance’s residential sites in Rockford, Champaign, and Sioux City. In addition, Rosecrance staff joined community events in Madison, Wisconsin, McHenry County, and Chicago suburbs. Rosecrance Jackson Centers also hosted naloxone trainings for community members.
Nelson noted that the somber evening activities were a healthy step toward celebrating National Recovery Month in September.
“When we work through difficult emotions such as grief and loss together, we can enjoy hope and success even more,” she said. “It is an appropriate transition to a month of celebrating recovery and everything that it brings to our lives.”
“Despite challenges individuals may face, these events acknowledge that hope still exists and recovery is possible,” she said. “They are reminders that we are not alone in our journeys.”