Program hopes to help young adults stay sober through art

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Hope Creates was created after founder Kathie Thomas’ own daughter’s struggled with addiction. The program works to help others who are also in recovery for addiction.

On Feb. 27, Hope Creates hosted a virtual gala called, “Extraordinary Stories of Creative Young Artists in Recovery.” The event’s goal was to help inspire young addicts to stay sober and provide information for families looking for ways to help loved ones. 

The gala included videos highlighting individual stories and a silent auction featuring pieces from program participants. Jeffery Small, TV  personality and actor, emceed the gala. 

Kathie Thomas, founder of Hope Creates, described the vision of the gala as, “a society that understands addiction, recovery and supports healthy, constructive lives for our recovering addicts.”

Kathie Thomas, the founder of Hope Creates, holds up a member’s artwork during the virtual gala. Photo contributed by Hope Creates.

In 2017, Thomas founded Hope Creates after her daughter’s own struggle with addiction. This program was created to empower teens and young adults who were in recovery for addiction through expressive art and the development of entrepreneurial business skills. Hope Creates also provides support for the family of those struggling with addiction.

“Addiction is preventable if you can work a program and have the support you need to do what you need to do. Just like a diabetic needs to do what they need to do to save their lives, which is what every human being needs to do every day,” Thomas said. 

Lexy Algiere —  a ceramicist, a participant in the program and a part of Hope Creates leadership team — has been sober now for about five-and-a-half years. Since being in recovery, she has graduated college and entered into the workforce as an employee for an environmental consulting firm. She said Hope Creates and Thomas played a major role in where she is at today.

“From a societal view, people who are addicted are weak-minded, they don’t know how to say no or control their life. That’s not it, it’s an anomaly. I had a substance put in my body, and something changed,” Algiere said. “They say in recovery that this disease either ends with institutions, death or you get sober. And I got the chance to get sober.” 

A vase made by Lexy Algiere. Algiere was a participant in Hope Creates and now works to help other people who have struggled with addiction. Photo contributed by Hope Creates.

Algiere works to help other people who are sober because she got the chance herself. She commends Hope Creates as an avenue to be able to reach other people who are in recovery. 

“When I got to Hope Creates, there was this whole other energy about everybody who was there. It was loving, accepting and everyone was so excited to see you. At the same time, there was a lightness about everything. With the people there, we could laugh, we could joke and not be so serious and heavy,” Algiere said.

Pottery is Algiere’s favorite form of art to create. When she learned to create pottery at Columbia College, she was taught in a traditional way. However, since graduating, she gets to be creative and use glazes and textures. 

Hope Creates has a piece Algiere created when she was on an assistantship in New Castle, Maine. 

A vase made by Lexy Algiere. Pottery is Algiere’s favorite kind of art to create. Photo contributed by Hope Creates.

Both Thomas and Algiere described addiction as a very isolating disease. Now, during the time of COVID-19, when people are forced into isolation, addiction is more deadly. 

Hope Creates has had to change its routine meetings because of COVID-19, but Thomas still tries to bring people together. 

“Being together as human beings is critical in the sobriety of people,” Thomas said.

For more information about Hope Creates visit https://www.hopecreates.org/about

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