When Candice Fondal was serving in the United States Air Force, she was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq. Somewhere down the line she developed a drinking problem, and it forced her to go to a 14-week …
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WHERE: 1629 Simms St.
WHEN: JUUST Living is scheduled to open up on Feb. 15.
CONTACT: juustliving.org/home/contact-us/. For immediate assistance, you can reach Ruth Rinehart at 720-290-5715, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOCIAL MEDIA: facebook.com/JUUSTLiving/
According to “Drug Use by State: 2018’s Problem Areas,” a study by WalletHub, Colorado has the third highest percentage of adult drug users, trailing only Alaska and Vermont. The Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Prevention says there were 504 fatal overdoses involving opioids in Colorado in 2016. In 2010-2011, Colorado ranked second in the country for self-admitted non-medical use of prescription painkillers among people ages 12-24, according to the organization. Prescription drug overdose deaths are one of the four most serious epidemics facing the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
When Candice Fondal was serving in the United States Air Force, she was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq. Somewhere down the line she developed a drinking problem, and it forced her to go to a 14-week outpatient program. She has been sober since 2001, and now she has her eyes set on helping out people who are struggling with what she suffered from — addiction.
Fondal has been responsible for community outreach for JUUST Living, a healing and recovery center that is scheduled to open up on Feb. 15 in Lakewood. The center will be able to house 16 people who will all strive to work toward integrating back to society in a two-year program. JUUST Living will be open to addicts, people who are experiencing homelessness and those who are coming out of incarceration, or jail.
“We’re the cushion between incarceration and rehab and moving right out to the big, bad world. We’re providing that supportive community that is a transition,” said Kirsten Boyd, fundraising director for JUUST Living. If we can provide a place where people understand what you’re going through, we think people will have a better chance to succeed.”
The healing and recovery center is based off Unitarian Universalism principles — a liberal religious faith that doesn’t require one to take part in a particular religious belief, according to JUUST Living. It is modeled on the Delancey Street Foundation in San Francisco, a residential self-help organization for former substance abusers, ex-convicts, homeless people and others.
While people stay at Delancey Street, they receive a high school equivalency degree, and they are trained in three different marketable skills. JUUST Living plans to do something similar by helping people learn skills such as agriculture, culinary and maintenance skills. By the time people leave its program, JUUST Living hopes to help its residents find a stable living situation and a job.
“I see it benefiting the community at large and these people who are trying to be sober. If they went through other programs, they wouldn’t develop these skills in order to give back, instead of taking,” said Fondal.
JUUST Living is a voluntary program, and applicants write a letter to the organization stating why they are in the circumstances they are in, and why they are ready to make a change. It will house mixed genders and people from the LGBT population.
“(JUUST Living) is a unique model for Colorado. This is a way to have a long, slow healing process,” said Ruth Rinehart, executive director for JUUST Living. “If you want to turn your life around and make a change of how you’re living, this is a different way to do it.”
JUUST Living is funded through personal contributions, and it is part of the West Colfax Community Association. It will be located at 1629 Simms St.
“Lakewood is 50 this year, and that’s great. As someone who has lived here for a long time, I’m looking at where Lakewood has been, where it is now and where it is going to be in the next 50 years, and we’re excited to be in part of the fabric of Lakewood,” said Boyd.
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