At the Center for Recovery and Wellness (CRW), we approach recovery from a person-centered perspective that takes into account the diverse experiences and individual needs of each client. To holistically support our clients, it’s important to address their needs that go beyond clinical services. That’s why in Pride Site residential, clients have access to an extensive recreation program to help them form connections with their peers and have fun in ways that enrich their recovery lifestyle.
Fiorela Caro, our Recreation Coordinator, has only been in her new role since August and yet she has already taken the recreation program to the next level. Our recreation program is unique in that clients can actively participate in shaping the program through their engagement with the “Recreation Committee”, which works with Fiorela to plan activities. While the committee only has a limited number of members, they take suggestions from clients who are not on the committee, so that everyone has a voice.
The recreation program is all about building community and having fun. By providing different activities, it gives clients the chance to connect with each other in new ways and see one another in a new light. This is crucial in recovery, “Because addiction is so isolating,” Fiorela explains.
Equally important, exposing clients to new experiences that make them feel good also gives them a chance to build a new perspective, and find new definitions of fun. “Life is about having fun…if you don’t have fun what is the point?,” says Fiorela. “To me, there’s nothing more fulfilling than to bring joy to people, that is not necessarily centered on addiction. It’s just about having a great time with people, being sober and just enjoying life for what it is.”
Speaking with residents who are involved in both planning and participating in activities, it’s clear just how much they love the recreation program. Tiana, a resident since June, said “I most enjoyed going on a boat trip that was sponsored by Big Vision, that was great. I’ve never been on a boat before. I also can’t wait for the [trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s] Cloisters. I’ve never been, so I’m very excited about that.”
Devon, a resident who has been with CRW since June, said that actively creating activities for the rest of the residents has been the most fun. “Everyone has their specialty, their baby. Some people are great at art so they come up with the artsy things. I’m more of a host, so I have a [comedy] roast event coming up on Thanksgiving. It’s where I get to be Steve Harvey—Welcome to Family Feud!—and do my whole thing like that.” Devon also had high praise for Fiorela. “She is so awesome; she’s really made a big difference. My first month here, there was no Fiorela, and post Fiorela it has been awesome.”
Hector, who has been a resident since August, said “I’ve most enjoyed working with Fiorela– her open mindedness and willingness to always do something new. I’m an avid Spartan Racer, so we’ve organized a team and we’re going to do a Spartan challenge at Citi Field on the 19th of [December]. In the time that I’ve been here, we got to go to laser tag, which was awesome. We also went to a Halloween party outside Pride Site, and we did our own Halloween party here. And we went to Six Flags Great Adventure, that was a blast.”
Fiorela said that she has witnessed the impact the recreation program has made, just in the past several months. “There is a lot of love within the community. It’s very visible now how much they love spending time together. Once they leave, they have connections with people who know exactly what it is like to be in recovery. And that’s the whole point: to foster that community and foster that support.”