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Group Working For Hope, Help

By Staff | Jan 20, 2021

Wetzel Advocates Towards Community Hope, or W.A.T.C.H., held its first meeting last Friday, January 15 at 11 AM in Klug Hall at St. Vincent De Paul’s Catholic Church in New Martinsville.

The group was developed by Michelle Rohde, Project Coordinator, Dawn Lavoie, Youth Engagement and Peer Recovery Specialist for Youth Services System, Inc., Lisa Gonzales of Wetzel County Community Resources, Denise Klug , Office Manager of St. Vincent De Paul’s Catholic Church and Msgr. Kevin Michael Quirk Priest of St. Vincent De Paul’s Catholic Church.

They want to unite the non-profit organizations, governmental bodies and local businesses working across Wetzel County that are all struggling with issues involving alcohol and drug abuse, mental health issues and homelessness.

In attendance were representatives from local government; New Martinsville Mayor, Sandy Hunt spoke about the city’s efforts to deal with the drug/alcohol and homeless issues faced by the town. Sheriff Mike Koontz and Deputy Rob Hayes provided their insight from the front lines addressing addiction and mental illness. Prosecuting Attorney Timothy E. Haught gave valuable information about current concerns the court is identifying. Non-profit organizations such as Community Resources, The Lighthouse Child Advocacy Center, The Wetzel County Family Resources Network, Leap of Faith – Sober Living House, Community Behavioral Health, BreakThru – At Reynolds Memorial Hospital, and many more were either in attendance at the meeting or planning to work with W.A.T.C.H.

For this inaugural meeting, 3 main points of focus were identified including drug and alcohol abuse, poverty and a need for resource coordination across the region.

The goal of W.A.T.C.H. is to identify what resources we have available in the county and find a way for them to work in unison, providing the best services possible to each person in need.

The next W.A.T.C.H meeting is set for March 26th at 2:00 PM in St Vincent de Paul’s.

Anyone is welcome to attend, particularly those with knowledge or resources to aid with our collaborative effort.