Volunteering saves and transforms lives. Those of us in recovery who actively decide to give back are more than survivors: we are champions of our own recovery and we are given extraordinary opportunities to champion the cause of those battling addiction.
Volunteers in recovery understand that their service is essential to sustaining their own recovery and in providing support, hope, and education to communities in the throes of a drug crisis and opiate epidemic.
“Every day is a new beginning to make a difference in someone’s life,” observes longtime Southern Bucks Recovery Community Center/PRO-ACT volunteer Marie Widmeier. She began her volunteering journey back in 2012 when she experienced that moment of clarity, “I knew what I needed to do-to get back to a way of living that my mother showed me.”
True to her word, Marie invests her boundless energy and dedication in every one of her volunteer experiences. For the past three years she has chaired the ornament committee for The Council’s Tree of Hope ceremony held every December. Taking on this leadership role has helped heal Marie as she recovers from losing her parents and beloved sponsor to tragic circumstances. Marie reflects on how much the people at PRO-ACT mean to her: “for me, it’s a lasting recovering family.”
Once shrouded in guilt and despair, Marie, whose first name means “star of the sea” has flourished because of her direct involvement in Southern Bucks Recovery Community Center’s programs. She facilitates a weekly recovery discussion group every Wednesday afternoon, and organizes fundraising events such as Karaoke and a pancake breakfast held at Applebee’s. Marie understands that her altruism also inspires our recovery community. She is bold about sharing how much PRO-ACT has done for her: “there is deeper meaning in life when we serve the needs of others.” Whether Marie is chairing a meeting at her favorite clubhouse or delivering a speech at her community college, Marie’s devotion is evident. Marie lives by example.
Gaining confidence and leadership skills through her active and vigorous volunteering, Marie is ready to graduate with an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration and Management. As a single mom of a 19 year-old son, Marie encouraged her son to graduate early and pursue a college degree. Currently Marie and her son take classes at Bucks County Community College. They are clearly a dynamic duo whose drive and motivation sets the standard for others.
Marie has seized the day with her multiple involvement in committees at her college. She is the Recording Secretary for Kappa Beta Delta, a business honor society. Marie also serves as the Lower Bucks Campus Coordinator for Students Advocating Student Success. A fierce and proud student, Marie obviously loves to learn; she thrives in an educational environment where she will definitely graduate with top honors.
Marie’s philosophy in life is simple, “the advice I would give to a new volunteer is to wake up and commit to one thing that will make a difference.”
There are many of us who have had the honor of witnessing the transformation in Marie. Marie expresses her gratitude in these words:” I have learned to stay out of myself that was sad and depressed; instead, I am learning to connect with the joy inside of me-those little pieces call me on a daily basis.”
Karen M. Burke
Southern Bucks Recovery Community Center/PRO-ACT