JOHNSON, Vt. — An opioid addiction recovery center has expanded recently with a new location in Johnson, and the site will focus on teaching life skills, job training and more to help recovering addicts get back in a home and find work.
Greg and Dawn Tatro founded Jenna’s Promise in 2019 after losing their daughter tragically to substance abuse. The couple, inspired to turn despair into hope, created an organization in a former church to help Vermonters escape drug use and find a new life based around useful life skills. The personal development-focused strategy includes resume building and physical fitness, among other things.
The Tatros held a grand opening in Johnson, Vermont, to showcase the services they hope to provide to other people who desperately need recovery and support.
“This is going to include housing, physical therapy, different recovery programs, workforce development, and medical treatment that benefit both those in recovery and the community at large,” Gregory Tatro, the son of Greg Tatro, told TNR in a recent interview.
“We have some really innovative ideas about giving people some experience with resumes, and giving them work experience that will help supply local businesses with a labor force as well as helping those who are in poverty regain the skills that they need to be marketable to enter careers in the future too,” he added.
Gregory Tatro currently works as a media advisor for the organization. He said career and life-building programs are what local businesses want to see more of as many are in desperate need of a viable workforce.
“I think it’s not because we are extremely smart intelligent people who have like figured this out,” he said. “The reason and the reality is that there is such a demand for this type of service and the need for it.”
Tatro expanded on the services at Jenna’s Promise are different from some of the other programs. Namely, they focus on the tail-end of the recovery process whereas others may focus on the initial treatments.
“We’re more with the recovery aspect,” Tatro said. “You have different stages; a person who is severely addicted needs help, and getting them into help and getting them to detox is a huge part of it. Then there’s the treatment and programs that will happen when they are in treatment, then after that they have the recovery process which can take years, and so we’re dealing with the recovery process.”
The last stages are where Jenna’s Promise focuses its efforts.Also, Tatro said that while they are a religious organization, non-religious persons are still encouraged to use the program.
Liz Sirrico, the program manager of Jenna’s Promise, told True North that the new Johnson location is a satellite operation that supplements their existing efforts. The headquarters location is in Morrisville.
According to Sirrico, the organization can even help recovering addicts integrate back into society by creating events with friendly community members for public events such as movie nights.
“That kind of breaks down that stigma and you are all in the same place getting to know one another, and you might not even realize that the person that you are sitting next to at the movie or at the community event is in recovery,” she said. “And it kind of creates a sense of normalcy for everybody.”