LEWISTOWN — A new support group aims to give those struggling a new perspective on life.
Formed from the Barrville Mennonite Church in Reedsville, the group, Building Champions, strives to help train people struggling with issues ranging from mental health to alcoholism and drug addiction.
Michele Mackenzie, the program coordinator, said that while the group incorporates elements of traditional recovery groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery, there is more emphasis on discussing issues with peers who have similar experience. .
The group offers confidential, non-judgmental support. It is denominational, but all are welcome, whatever their denomination.
“This is for broken people” said Mackenzie. “It could be someone who is in a situation of domestic violence, who has experienced abuse, who has attempted suicide or who is struggling with depression and anxiety.”
Mackenzie said the purpose of the group is to restore hope, “Because if you have no hope, you have nothing… We want to help each other – be there for each other – because everyone needs someone,” she says.
The group can also help direct individuals to resources that can help those who are uninsured.
Building Champions does not have the same requirements as traditional programs.
“We don’t push people to talk about past mistakes,” said Mackenzie. “I want to talk about today because today leads to tomorrow. Tomorrow we can fix because that’s where we’re going. I understand that your past might have something to do with why you’re broken, but we’ll start with today.
Mackenzie said she worked with Barrville Mennonite Church pastor Carl Geissinger to form the group.
“I’ve always been very passionate about helping others recover,” she says. “I wanted something that would change the way people see an addict or someone struggling with mental health issues, because that’s not always how they will be.”
“I strongly believe that if you help people with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, abuse they experience at home, we can prevent them from falling into addiction and alcohol.” she says. “I thought if I could help people change and improve, they could come together and make our community better.”
The group meets at 7 p.m. every Wednesday behind Clear Concepts at 24 N. Main St., Lewistown. Enter the Third Street parking lot, next to United Fire Company.
For more information, call or text Mackenzie at (717) 994-6701 or Pastor Geissinger at (570) 765-3923.