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Memorial to honour the lives lost to addiction and substance abuse

Reeves College students want to support the people in the community who have lost a loved one to addiction and those struggling with substance abuse.

A memorial celebrating and remembering the lives of people who died or are struggling with addiction will be held at the Atrium Centre on December 23.

The memorial was put together by the Reeves College Addictions and Community Support Worker Program. It is a 10-month program with a work experience portion built into it. The memorial is a special project for the students and staff which student Megan Nash says has brought them closer together. 

“There are so many people in the community that have lost to addiction and are still fighting it. It’s a cause that’s close to our hearts as a lot of the students here have been personally impacted.” 

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Nash herself is in recovery after struggling with addiction but still has family and friends who are impacted by it.

Instructor Catherine Hill says the idea for a memorial service came after bringing in a guest speaker who spoke about losing her son to addiction. She says people coming to the memorial should bring an electric candle or light and a picture of the lost loved one. She also asks people to bring a lock and key.

“It symbolizes keeping that person in your heart. We’re then going to attach it to a chain-link fence that we have on hand.”

Nash says the service also acts as a thank you gift for Tyler Lorenz and Residents in Recovery for the work they’ve done in the community.

“Residents in recovery is a program in town that is close to our whole class. What Tyler Lorenz is doing is amazing. One of his biggest focuses is filling in the gaps in recovery. It’s a great organization and something we stand behind. We want to get more support from the community for Tyler and Residents in Recovery.”

Guest speakers will be speaking on their experiences dealing with addiction as well as the different services in the city people struggling are able to access.

“We want people to see there is a lot of support for people who have lost people to addiction or who are still struggling. There’s a community and we want people to know that the community does care.”

The memorial will take place at the Atrium Centre on 5010 – 49 Street in front of the main doors. The service will begin at 7 p.m. and run until 9 p.m. Hill hopes to make the memorial a yearly event.

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