When Robbie Robinson and Aaron Groves first started talking about forming a support group for local residents in Newton struggling with addiction, it wasn’t long before they realized they had a hit on their hands.
Founded in 2014, Discover Hope is a faith-based addiction counseling organization in Newton, and a bond between a pair of unlikely friends. As Robinson prepares to move out of the group’s first home, a second story office at 219 N. Second Ave. W., he’s got his eyes on a bigger prize. On Monday, Robinson will begin a fundraising drive to purchase a new building with expanded treatment options, including residential facilities for recovering addicts.
“So many lives have been transformed up here, so many people being touched,” Robinson said. “They’ve walked away from this addiction and began to pursue greater things in life.”
Robinson is a convicted felon and a recovering drug addict, and Groves is a lieutenant with the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office. After meeting at the Church of the Way in Newton the pair quickly became friends, and together, they’ve worked together to provide a place for those who are struggling to overcome addiction. Right from the beginning, Groves said the need for a program like theirs was apparent in the community.
“We started out with a program that lasted 45 minutes every other week, and after the first month, people wanted to meet every week for an hour,” Groves said.
As a law enforcement officer, Groves has seen firsthand the damage that methamphetamine addiction has wrought in Newton. He’s heard from people from out of state refer to Newton as a “meth town” and when he first realized that options were few and far between for those looking to get help locally, he was astounded.
“When we first looked at getting a faith-based support group started in the community there was no other faith-based support group in our community, which really shocked me, given the meth addiction we’ve had for a couple of years,” Groves said.
As the organization has grown, so has it’s needs. Robinson said the group plans to fundraise for a total of $360,000, with an initial $130,000 to purchase a new building in town and refurbish it to meet the organization’s needs. The remainder of the money will go toward paying off the building, and hiring some support staff for Robinson. While Robinson will unveil the fundraising campaign next week, he also said interested donors can use Discover Hope’s website, www.discoverhope517.org to make a donation. Hoping to have the first chunk of money by March of next year, Robinson said he’s optimistic the transition to a new building will be quick. This winter Robinson plans to set up shop temporarily at Haven Vineyard church, 207 First Avenue E. in Newton.
“This new location is going to allow us to do so much more,” Robinson said. “It’s a great jumpstart, to help restore people back into the community.”
While Robinson wasn’t able to disclose the location yet of the new facility, he said that building’s size will allow Discover Hope to significantly increase their offerings to the community. With more than 8,000 square feet, Robinson plans to set aside a fourth of the building for transitional housing. Providing that housing helps addicts stay out of the cycle of bad decisions and make positive changes.
“It’s hard to get housing without a job, and we want to create an environment where we can help them make a transition, so we can bring them back into the community,” Robinson said.
While Groves has stepped back from the organization recently, he’s still incredibly proud of the work that Robinson has accomplished. Adding the residential services to what Discover Hope already offers will be a boon to the community, Groves said. He’s even hoping that it’ll give Newton a chance to burnish its reputation. Combating drug addiction helps lower crime, and makes Newton a safer place to live Groves said.
“We want to rebrand Newton as a good place to live, and a good place for people to raise their families,” Groves said.
Contact David Dolmage at 641-792-3121 ext. 6532 or email@example.com