Every September, the Gándara Center participates in National Recovery Month, which is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This longstanding observance is designed to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders, celebrate people in recovery, and laud the contributions of treatment and service providers.

Hope for Holyoke is one of several Gándara recovery support centers hosting events in conjunction with National Recovery Month (see below). For Debra Flynn-Gonzalez, Hope for Holyoke program director, it is an occasion to see the silver lining in the cloud of the current opioid epidemic: the people who overcome their addictions. “At a time when the opiate crisis is so prominent, and we’re often focused on overdose deaths and the tragic consequences of addiction, this is a great day to celebrate recovery,” she said at last year’s Holyoke Recovery Day.

Indeed, the focus of National Recovery Month has evolved over the years to shine the spotlight on the achievements of those in recovery. Recovery Month began in 1989 as Treatment Works! Month, which honored the work of substance use treatment professionals. The name was changed in 1998 to Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, expanding the occasion to include individuals who have succeeded in their recovery. It received its present name in 2011 to encompass all parts of the behavioral health industry, including researchers in the field.

The theme for Recovery Month 2018 is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Invest in Health, Home, Purpose, and Community,” exploring how integrated care, a strong community, sense of purpose, and leadership contributes to effective treatments that sustain the recovery of persons with mental and substance use disorders.


Hope for Holyoke program director Debra Flynn-Gonzalez and Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse at last year’s Holyoke Recovery Day.


Gándara Center National Recovery Month Events

PIER Recovery Center of Cape Cod Third Anniversary Celebration
Wednesday, September 5
1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
209 Main Street, Hyannis
Speakers, volunteer recognition, food and music

Plymouth Recovery Rally
Sunday, September 16
Noon-4:00 p.m.
Plymouth Recovery Center
71 Obery Street., Plymouth

Live music will be performed by Paul Horton, PRC Peer Coordinator Dan Kelly, and PRC Peer Support Specialist Jason Wamboldt. There will also be games for kids, face painting and a food truck from Vela Juice Bar.

Hope for Holyoke and Stairway to Recovery to Join March in Boston
Monday, September 17
The Annual Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR) and Friends Recovery March and Celebration will consist of a rally in Boston at the State House at 9:00 a.m. followed by a march to the celebration at Faneuil Hall. There will be speakers and performers, and the afternoon program will feature artists in recovery.

For residents of western Massachusetts, the MOAR bus will leave the Northgate Shopping Center, 1985 Main Street in Springfield, at 6:15 a.m. Those interested in the trip should contact Barbara Gallo, MOAR Western Massachusetts Parents Support Group, at 413-246-0677. The bus will also stop at Hope for Holyoke, 100 Suffolk Street, Holyoke, at 6:00 a.m. The bus will return to the Springfield area at about 6:00 p.m.  To board the bus at Hope for Holyoke, contact Deb Flynn-Gonzalez at 413-551-1020, x5101.

Many of those affiliated with Gándara’s Stairway to Recovery support center will take the 7:42 a.m. commuter train from the MBTA Brockton Station at 7 Commercial Street to South Station in Boston, or you can meet them at the State House rally at 9:00 a.m.

MOAR Western Massachusetts Recovery Day
Friday, September 21
Holy Name Social Center, 37 Alderman Street, Springfield
10:50-2:00 p.m. ceremony, as well as lunch, spoken word, music, and dance
MOAR is the main organizer for this event, which will include a Gándara Center resource table. To RSVP, contact Barbara Gallo at 413-246-0677.

Holyoke Recovery Day
Friday, September 28
Recovery march and celebration starts at Heritage State Park on Appleton Street. The march ends at Veterans Park on Dwight Street.
12:00-1:00 Gather in Heritage Park for the March for Recovery. Bring a sign to show what you are celebrating about your recovery!

1:00-4:00 Veterans Park Recovery Celebration

  • Opening remarks, special guests, speakers
  • Mayor Alex MorseProclamation for Holyoke Recovery Day
  • Personal recovery stories of hope
  • Resource tables

There will be live music and dance, snacks, refreshments, giveaways, games, and prizes.

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Hope for Holyoke has built a National Recovery Month awareness float that will take part in the Springfield Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sunday, September 16. We invite you to join us in Springfield for the festivities to celebrate Puerto Rican heritage and help us raise awareness and honor those in recovery! The parade kicks off on the corner of Main and Wason Streets at 11:00 a.m., marches down Main Street, and ends on Boland Way. The event is free and open to the public. Interested in marching with the Gándara Center contingent? Contact Lisa Brecher at lbrecher@gandaracenter.org.