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Volusia Recovery Alliance’s ‘Keeping Hope: Overdose Awareness & Remembrance Day’ event history written by event Creator, Cathy Hartman: Yearly events held in 2019, 2020 – upcoming 8/28/21
As a Community Member who attended the beginning visioning meetings as VRA was being formed, I became aware of International Overdose Awareness Day/IOAD through Facebook. Because of my previous experience working with a nonprofit who support bereaved families after the loss of a baby and knowing how very important remembrance events are (personally and more), I wanted to bring the idea of hosting an IOAD remembrance event through VRA for our community.
I asked to be included on the Visioning Meeting Agenda at the June 2019 meeting to offer the idea. There were enough people interested to create an event and with less than 3 months, even with a hurricane looming, our event was created and a success – held on Saturday, August 31, 2019! We honored and remembered many lives lost by overdose through name reading of those who’s lives were lost to overdose and ceremony. We offered education resources including Narcan and had an exceptional Keynote Speaker, Dr. Kristin McCabe-Kline who spoke on the Epidemic Impact and Solutions, especially around the emergency room. We also had testimony of lives saved and of family testimony. The event was held at City Island, Daytona Beach with approximately 50 in attendance and $400 was raised. I also created and got printed the #End Overdose t-shirts with the VRA logo on the back for this event through Mid Florida Sportswear in Daytona, working with my sister in law who works there and is also named Kathy Hartman.
Our 2nd Keeping Hope event was impacted by Covid-19 and though we had many challenges in keeping everyone safe, we were again able to have a successful event on Saturday, August 29, 2020 at the Daytona Beach Christian Drive-In Church utilizing radio transmission and Facebook live. Our wonderful Keynote Speaker was Dr. Aaron Wohl speaking on the topic of Substance Use disorder, childhood trauma/ACES, recovery support and MAT. Most everyone who attended in person received narcan and narcan training. Loved ones lives were honored and again we had testimony. 125 people attended in person and up to 50 people watching on FB Live at one time (averaged 35). 87 Loved ones names were read and all 100 boxes of Narcan were distributed along with other recovery resources. We had 37 feedback forms returned and raised $1,500 net. There was a 2nd version of the t-shirts created with more info on the back on shirt. A big shirt order was put in to Mid Florida Sportswear (financially supported by VRA’s grant money).