In March 2010, Linda Vecchia started “Friends and Family” a local non-profit support group for those people in the community and outlying area with substance abuse issues.
By providing a safe place where people recovering from alcohol and substance abuse problems and their families could talk and share stories about their experiences, Vecchia hoped that she could help bridge the gap between treatment and sobriety, while at the same time offer a support network for families that are torn apart by substance abuse.
Just six months after starting Friends and Family Vecchia tackled another daunting challenge and organized the first Friends and Family 5K Walk at Ingleside Park last September.
The walk ultimately raised about $7,000 in proceeds, and also raised the profile of the organization. Over the past year, Vecchia has used the funds that were raised in the walk to offer parent workshops, guest speakers, Nar-Can training, and educational materials for families.
“Many families have taken advantage of our program to seek assistance in dealing with issues associated with substance abuse,” said Vecchia. “This year, we want to reach out even more to really try and prevent substance abuse before it starts.”
The Second Annual Friends and Family 5K Walk for Recovery and Prevention of Substance Abuse will be held on Saturday, September 24 at Ingleside Park. Registration for the walk begins at 9 a.m. and the Walk itself is expected to begin at 10 a.m.
The walk has already gathered a number of sponsors, with Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo and Elliot and Whitter Insurance signing on as Gold Sponsors and State Senator Anthony Petrucelli, Seacoast Contracting, Ernest Caggiano and Sons, Famolare’s Catering, Nu-Tread Tires and Brown’s Pharmacy all signing on as Bronze Sponsors as well.
“This year we will be walking to support For Kids Only Afterschool,” said Vecchia. “Also one of our goals this year is to work more closely with the Winthrop School District.”
Vecchia said that she hopes, with the cooperation and support of the school department, to be able to create a program similar to the Eighth Grade Drug Summit that is offered in Melrose and is also planning to support the local 21st Century Program @ Kathy’s Place, and the Meridien House in East Boston.
For more information about the walk, Friends and Family or to register in advance and participate, please call Linda Vecchia at 617-847-7959.