XENIA — The crowd jams itself into the warm building in Xenia Sunday afternoon, all attendees here for one reason: a new beginning, to see the beginning of a place of hope, or more specifically, to see The Hope Spot of Greene County, opened.
The building is a community center, and a simple one at that. The unassuming building in Suite B at 335 E. Market St., Xenia, once home to a funeral home, is now home to little more than two large meeting rooms. But it’s the vision of what will take place in those rooms that makes the space unique.
The Hope Spot of Greene County is designed to help those recovering from an addiction or a mental disorder, as well as for families of those working through those issues. It’s designed to be a place of empowerment, of unity, of change.
“Oh my gosh,” the man at the front of the room says as he exhales. This is Nate Crago, the facility’s board president. “It’s real. It’s happened and not without the help of a lot of people.”
Just a minute earlier he was scrambling to find the speech he had written down, and as he begins his address, it’s easy to see why that piece of paper was necessary. Many individuals who contributed their work to the facility’s opening are recognized, a collaborative effort reflective of how the center will run once it is fully operational.
“A place where they can come and be safe”
The Hope Spot of Greene County will be a common space where individuals searching for help can talk to others going through the same things they are. Here, a variety of 12-step groups will meet. Here, social events like Super Bowl and Saturday Night Live viewing parties will be held. Here, individuals will walk through the doors to find support.
“The idea is to have a safe place for people recovering from alcohol, drug addiction or mental health issues, to come and fellowship with other people with those same struggles and just be around people [who] are fighting the same fight,” Crago said Sunday. “…This is a safe place for members of the recovery community to meet and take part in programs and activities that are beneficial for long-term recovery.”
Crago and the center’s board envision The Hope Spot being open for 16 hours each day.
“It’s our hope to have 12-step recovery meetings morning and night every day of the week…,” Crago said. “That’s our hope. We want somebody who’s struggling at any time of the day to have a place where they can come and be safe and stay sober and be around clean and sober people.”
“A place that I can come and not be ashamed of who I am”
Attendees at The Hope Spot’s opening heard from one man who has already reaped benefits from the center. After he struggled with drug and alcohol use growing up, this individual found the center to be a place of acceptance, even before it officially opened.
He spoke of coming to the center as a way to get away from the drugs he saw at the place he was living: “Instead of hanging out there, I came up [to the center],” he said. “I’d sweep the floors or tear up carpet, pretty much whatever these guys wanted me to do. I started to feel a part of something. They invited me to the board meetings and gave me the handouts they were reading and made me feel like maybe I can do something good.”
“This place hasn’t even been open and it was doing so much in my life, giving me a place to go every day.” he said. “It’s got people on the same mission as I am. [It’s] a place that I can come and not be ashamed of who I am, because everybody that’s going to be here has been through what I’ve been through.”
Now that it’s open, The Hope Spot is ready to create many other stories just like this one.
For more information on, or to learn how to volunteer at The Hope Spot of Greene County, visit the center’s Facebook page at facebook.com/thehopespotofgreenecounty or call 937-352-6367.
Reach Nathan Pilling at 937-502-4498 or on Twitter @XDGNatePilling.