For many, nothing is more delightful than the laughter and happiness of children. The innocent pleasure that kids can find in the simpler things in life lends us inspiration and hope for the future. A small boy running from the dinosaurs in the back yard just because he can or a little girl brushing the hair on a doll as if it was really alive, these things are fostered in the imaginations of youth. Just enjoying being alive and experiencing the world around them, reveling in the wonder of their own childhood. As adults, we find joy in the joy of our children, nieces, nephews or other young ones that we may find in our lives. We live vicariously through them, recapturing some of our own fleeting youth just by being around them.
There are some children, however, that don’t always get to experience all the joys in life that other children might. In some of our decaying inner urban neighborhoods, blighted communities and run down rural areas, many of the poorer families don’t have the resources to provide as much for their children as they would like. Some of these less fortunate children don’t find as much joy in life as other kids. Christmas might not be as special and birthdays may be a little lacking. This sad fact of life often gets ignored by those who walk the nice clean sidewalks of more affluent neighborhoods. But there are others that want to help, organizing charity functions like food drives, volunteering in soup kitchens and holding community building events. A Forever Recovery is part of that group.
On Halloween night, AFR, with former Detroit Lion Herman Moore, was one of the co-sponsors of “Candy Mountain” in Flint, MI. Hundreds of children and their family members showed up to Word of Life Christian Church, where this event was held, and the joy on every child’s face and the laughter in their voices was quite contagious. There were vibrant and colorful costumes, games of all types, and, of course, candy. Lots and lots of candy. A mountain of it, actually.
The idea behind “Candy Mountain” was to give children and their families a safe and fun place to go on Halloween, to enjoy festivities and community fellowship. Flint, a city located in Central Michigan, was hit very hard by the recent economic collapse that many towns in the state as well as all over America felt the effects of. Flint has struggled to bounce back, and poverty levels in the urban areas is very high. This, sadly, leads to streets and neighborhoods that aren’t the safest for young children to be roaming, even on as innocent an occasion as Halloween. “Candy Mountain”, an event organized by The Community Adults Urging Student Excellence, or The CAUSE, decided to give the families in the area a secure and festive environment as an alternative to the potential dangers in the local community. This was the first year that this event was held, and from the looks of it, it will most likely not be the last.
One of the organizers of “Candy Mountain” was able to find a few moments to speak with us about some of the ideas that form the bigger picture behind this wildly successful function. George Wilkinson, the Pastor of Word of Life, was involved directly with AFR and Herman Moore in their sponsorship of the event, and also with The CAUSE. He gives a wider perspective on some of the things that they had hoped to accomplish. “The CAUSE is about the community getting very involved in driving excellence in education,” Wilkinson informs us. “The way this is going to help Flint is we’re pouring back into organizations that are about educational excellence, and trying to promote education and get the support that’s going to provide them with the resources that they need to help our children develop, grow and mature in a progressive manner.” A portion of the proceeds from the corporate and community sponsors of “Candy Mountain” will get funneled into various non-profit organizations that encourage and motivate students as well as grant financial relief to the often under-funded school districts in the area. But, for the kids in attendance, it was all about the candy.
Part of the philosophy at A Forever Recovery lies in the building up of our communities. While our main priority is to help those suffering from addiction to achieve and maintain a substance-free lifestyle, we know that treatment for chemical dependency is just one part of a much larger idea. To truly battle the epidemic of drug and alcohol abuse, we must start with our children by educating, encouraging and supporting them in any way we can. Showing kids that, through hard work, integrity and perseverance, there is a better way, we also give them hope of a better tomorrow. By giving them healthy and positive alternatives to drug use, we can make the possibility of that tomorrow even stronger.
AFR sponsors various events, such as benefit concerts, athletic training events and food drives. Other than treating patients, we believe that supporting the community and those who call it “home” is the best way that we can possibly combat this dangerous and often deadly problem that plagues our streets. If we can keep just a few kids from even trying drugs in the first place, that’s as good a start as any. But, as a society, we can always do more and, at A Forever Recovery, we strive to do as much as we can.
For more on our community support events, visit our YouTube channel.