Change on Main opens its doors
Northampton County’s newest recovery center opened Aug. 24. Change on Main, 1830 Main St., Northampton, seeks to offer a safe and pressure-free environment for those in recovery to find their own community and avoid external stressors.
“Here at Change on Main, that’s what we’re going to offer — hope and love. That’s the foundation of what people in recovery need,” Brian Sabo, the center’s program director, said.
According to Timothy Munsch, executive director of Lehigh Valley Drug and Alcohol Intake, this center will give people in recovery the opportunity to socialize and help to normalize sober life.
“Going to treatment is one step in the recovery process, but staying sober is the real problem,” Munsch said.
The four centers — Northampton, Bethlehem, Easton and Bangor — give those who may be struggling with sobriety a place to go on the weekends where there is no pressure to partake in various substances.
“This will be a very social and sober atmosphere,” Munsch said.
Change on Main is operated by volunteers in recovery who can share their experiences and assist those going through similar struggles. There is also a professional staff to manage the center.
There will be a variety of recovery-based support meetings as well as fun activities. The center is planning karaoke and movie nights, seasonal cookouts, art classes, yoga classes and life skills workshops, among other things.
“The most important people of all are the people in recovery. This is your center. You help decide how this center will be run,” Munsch stressed.
According to Munsch, the county discovered a need for a space in Northampton Borough so that people do not need to worry about traveling to Bethlehem or farther.
Tiffany Rossanese, from the county drug and alcohol program, and Sue Wandalowski, director of human services in Northampton County, stressed the importance of the center and the need in Northampton Borough to Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure.
“I’m a borough resident, so I see and hear what’s going on. We have a problem here, and what better resource can we offer than this center?” Rossanese said.
McClure agreed with the idea, and they made it happen.
“Just because you had lived with drug and alcohol addiction your whole life doesn’t mean your community should abandon you,” McClure said.
He mentioned how important it is the community is willing to help and support these people. Rossanese pointed out all of the fliers in the center for local businesses. A representative from Northampton Community College was in attendance and posted fliers about events at the school.
McClure emphasized the county wants to help these people be the best they can be.
“You might write the next great American novel or find a cure for a certain type of cancer. You might be a better dad, or you might just enjoy your life a little more,” he said.
Gail Yoder, from the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, attended the opening to show her support.
“I do commend you for your forward thinking and what you’re doing,” Yoder said, referring to the open atmosphere and welcoming environment of the center. “They have a new community to reach out to, so they don’t have to suffer alone,” she commented.
She recognized the dedication of those involved with the center and believes it will lead them to be successful.
The center features a comfortable lounge area with couches, computers and a television. There is also a large meeting room, and artwork hangs on the walls. A lot of the artwork was made at the youth program at the juvenile detention center.
“It’s light. It’s airy. There’s no feeling of judgment,” McClure said.
According to Munsch, the space is not just for recovering people. The center is also for family members or loved ones who might not know where to go, and it will offer resources for them as well.
“Thank you to Northampton County for making all this possible,” Munsch said.
Lori Vargo Heffner, chairwoman of both Northampton County and the human services committee, attended the center’s grand opening to show her support.
Change on Third is the recovery center in Easton and is run by Phil Chaney. Carlos Molina runs the Bethlehem Recovery Center.