A 20-year dream comes true
George Walker Adult Rehabilitation Program serves the community.
by Stefanie Segur –
A dream of 20 years came to realty in Chico, Calif., as The Salvation Army George Walker Adult Rehabilitation Program (ARP)opened its doors this past November.
George Walker, who once struggled with addiction, is now an advisory board member. He understands the need for the program and has been the driving force behind this $5.2 million establishment. At the ribbon cutting, Walker expressed gratitude for the project.
“For years I feared that such a program this would never open up in our community. It’s needed so that people struggling with addiction can become clean and move on with their lives. I did it, and I know they can too.” he said. “This is a blessing for the people of Chico.”
The facility, once a sporting goods store, has a fully equipped kitchen and dining room, two common living areas, dorm rooms, staff offices, a library and a meeting room. When at maximum occupancy, it will house 30 men and 20 women, all with the same goal—to get clean and begin the journey toward recovery.
Advisory board member Cheryl Tuck-Smith also knows the challenges of addiction—she’s seen them first hand. Her daughter graduated from a Salvation Army rehabilitation center and remains clean. Now Smith’s dream of helping others recover is coming true.
“This is such a wonderful opportunity for the people of Chico,” said Smith. “My fellow board members and I are thrilled to finally see this project bloom and bear fruit. The people of Chico worked hard for it.”
In order to insure that the residents begin with a clean slate they are given funds to buy new clothes and hygiene supplies. They are taught the skills necessary to make it in the world so once they leave the ARP they can continue to be productive members of society. With a goal of increasing self-esteem and a sense of responsibility, all residents are required to work at the thrift store warehouse. As they get close to graduation, they begin going to job interviews and lining up housing.
Local merchants have agreed to donate food for the program, and sales of donated items in the local Salvation Army thrift stores will assist to financially support the program.
Recently, the ARP had opportunity to serve the community as heavy rains and winds hit Northern California, leaving behind downed fences and debris on the roadway. Many people were left without power for days on end.
Summoned for help by the fire and police chiefs of Chico, adult rehabilitation program provided shelter to those who needed it most. Patients at the nearby Enloe Medical Center were stranded in the dark with no place to plug in medical equipment. They were transported to the ARP site, where they had warm beds, hot showers and full meals. But, most importantly, they had power outlets where oxygen tanks and other medical equipment could be plugged in and recharged.
The shelter was in full operation for over a week, housing 65 individuals displaced by the storm. Salvation Army personnel, including program residents, prepared and served over 500 meals for the shelter and numerous senior complexes in the area.
The storm made life especially difficult for those who were wheelchair bound and without power. Unable to get out of their homes because of downed elevators, many did not know how they were going to get their next meal. Once again, the Army was there. Men from the ARP loaded up 12 passenger vans full of hot food and hand delivered meals to the immobilized.