Homepage | Archives | Calendar of Events | Exploring Akron | Lawn & Garden | Pets | Death Notices | People & Places | Faith & Worship | Get email news alerts | About Us
Community News

Institute offering help to addicts, their families

1/21/2016 - West Side Leader
      permalink bookmark

By Ariel Hakim

Every year, Packard Institute participants hike a section of the Appalachian Trail, as shown from a previous year’s trip.
HIGHLAND SQUARE — On Tuesday nights, a small group gathers in Highland Square to offer their experience, strength and hope to one another.

At the center of the conversation, said Raynard Packard, founder of the Packard Institute, is the heroin epidemic.

Support group members are parents and other family members of a young person who is struggling with heroin addiction. Some have a family member who has died as a result of heroin use and are there for grief support. Others come for answers, said Packard.

The meetings generally last around 90 minutes. It’s a small group, and there is room for others to join, said Packard. The maximum allowed in the group is 12, he said.

“Young people are dying at an appalling, unprecedented rate,” as result of the heroin epidemic, but the group, and The Packard Institute as a whole, looks toward recovery, said Packard.

Started in 2007 as an agency that would embrace a variety of healing disciplines, the Packard Institute targets teens and young adults.

If Packard wasn’t seeing recovery, he wouldn’t still be in the business, he said.

“We see miraculous things,” he said.

The agency offers a number of facilitated support groups to the community for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, said Packard.

In addition to the groups, a home in Highland Square offers a temporary residence for those seeking recovery. The house, which has five rooms and space for staff, is inundated with applicants, said Packard.

The agency takes a mind-body approach to healing, employing a number of different types of therapies. Every year, participants hike sections of the Appalachian Trail, and in recent years, kayaking has become more and more popular as a therapeutic intervention, said Packard.

Typically, the agency has its hands in more than a half dozen projects at any time, including restoration of old cars, said Packard.

“What I’ve learned is not everything works with everyone 100 percent of the time, so you have to be creative,” he said. “I offer something equal or greater than the compelling nature of these chemicals,” he added.

The agency, which is nonprofit and not publicly funded, has been able to assist more than 1,200 families since it opened, according to Packard.

Evidence of the help the agency provides is in the Misfits, the name some of the alumni of The Packard Institute have given themselves. Led by the alumni themselves, they have formed a softball team, organized hikes and even taken trips to Florida, according to Packard.

Packard said the reason the institute has thrived for as long as it has is due to a lot of help from the community, and the agency is always looking for passionate-minded people to join it.

“We’re always looking for kindred souls as volunteers because that’s what makes us successful,” he said.

Anyone interested in the Tuesday night Family Group, which meets at 6 p.m. in Highland Square weekly, should contact the agency at 330-762-4357.

For more information on The Packard Institute, which is located at 461 W. Market St., call or visit thepackardinstitute.com.

A building at The Packard Institute honors young people who have been lost to the heroin epidemic.
Photos courtesy of The Packard Institute

      permalink bookmark