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Wheeling Celebrates ‘Day of Hope,’ Highlighting Recovery From Addiction

Photo by Joselyn King Valery Staskey, Youth Services System substance use project coordinator, left, Rev. Nancy Woodworth-Hill of Lawrencefield Parish Church and Rev. Erica Harley, of Vance Memorial Presbyterian Church hold up signs during an anti-drug abuse rally Saturday outside Wheeling’s Centre Market. The rally was part of “Day of Hope” festivities organized by the Youth Services System’s Community Impact Coalition.

WHEELING — There is always hope for anyone with drug addiction that they can beat that challenge, supporters said Saturday.

The Youth Services System Community Impact Coalition organized the “Day of Hope,” celebrated Saturday in Wheeling’s Centre Market.

“People can and do recover from substance abuse,” said Valery Staskey, substance abuse project coordinator for YSS. “Recovery is both possible and joyful.”

Events Saturday began with a concert at Centre Market, followed by interfaith service at Centre Market Fellowship Church and an addiction recovery rally outside Centre Market.

Speaking at the interfaith service were Rabbi Joshua Lief of Temple Shalom, the Rev. Nancy Woodworth-Hill of Lawrencefield Parish Church, the Rev. Erica Harley of Vance Memorial Presbyterian Church, and the Rev. Jake Steele of Christ United Methodist Church. Woodworth-Hill reiterated Staskey’s message that recovery from drug addiction is always possible.

“It takes a community (to make it happen),” she said. “I have seen people’s lives changed, and I know hope and action are possible.”

Lief said the challenge of substance abuse addiction is a public safety issue for the community.

“It’s an economic issue because it hurts productivity, and even more so it’s a moral issue,” he said. “We have to care for our neighbors, and help them find their way to healing.”

Harley told those in attendance that “to win the lottery” to beat drug addiction or achieve anything in life they first “must buy a ticket” and buy in to doing the work that must be done.

“Recovery is hard,” she said. “But the people who do it do it faithfully, and deserve our faith and admiration.”

Steele said Saturday’s “Day of Hope” events were an opportunity to bring the community together “and stand in solidarity with those who battle substance abuse.”

“And if there is any community who would do so, it must be the church,” he said.

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