Bel Air, Md., August 6, 2014 — “Shining a Light on Recovery,” a free family event and candlelight vigil, takes place Saturday, September 6, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Shamrock Park, 39 North Hickory Avenue in Bel Air.
The event, sponsored by The Albert P. Close Foundation in partnership with Addiction Connection Resources and the Homecoming Project, aims to raise awareness about substance abuse and to remove the stigma associated with addiction.
The family festivities begin at 4:30 p.m. with “Extreme” Balloon Man and master magician, Steve Gambrill, performing a show for children of all ages. The documentary, “Anonymous People,” will be shown at 5:45 p.m. Also on hand will be local organizations that offer services for the prevention and treatment of drug/alcohol addiction.
The event features light refreshments for sale and a playground area for children. Those attending are welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy in the park area.
The evening concludes with a candlelight vigil at 7:30 p.m. The vigil will be led by Pastor Craig McLaughlin from Mt. Zion Methodist Church in Bel Air, in memory of his daughter, Hannah, who passed away from a drug overdose in March. During one week in March 2014, Harford County lost four young people as a result of drug overdoses.
The Close Foundation is putting together a video presentation to be shown September 6 in memory of youth who have died as a result of an addiction. Parents and/or family members may submit photos to [email protected] or post them to facebook.com/closefoundation by August 31. Organizers ask that the person’s name and dates of birth and death be submitted with the photo. Those submitting information may also include how the person died (heroin overdose, for example).
Data from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene show that since 2002, 364 Harford County residents have overdosed and died due to addiction to drugs and alcohol.
“If we can educate, there will be less stigma, and with less stigma, there is more hope,” said Carol Frontera, president of the board of The Albert P. Close Foundation. “We hope that this event will help those who have lost someone through substance abuse and addiction find peace. The memory of our children, relatives and friends we have lost will live in our hearts forever.”
The Close Foundation was established in 2002 in memory of the late judge, Albert P. Close, who during his long and distinguished career served as an attorney and as a judge of the Circuit Court for Harford County (1967-86). He was vitally interested in the welfare and success of young people. Over the past 12 years the Close Foundation has worked to help “close the gap” between need and existing resources by raising and distributing funds to give Harford County’s troubled youth—particularly those fighting alcohol and drug abuse—hope for their futures.
The September 6 event and vigil will be held rain or shine. In case of severe inclement weather, updates will be posted to the Close Foundation’s Facebook page. For more information, visit closefoundation.org, email [email protected] or call Carol Frontera at 410-879-2237.