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"Steps of Change 2017," an anti-drug and recovery event will take place rain or shine from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Ravenna City Park on Oakwood Street.
Sponsored by OhioCAN -- "Change Addiction Now" -- the event is free. The public is invited to join those who support substance abuse recovery and to honor the memories of those who have been lost to the drug epidemic. Multiple community groups supporting addiction services and recovery are expected to attend.
"We've gotten an incredible amount of community support," said organizer Mim Cherrie. "We're trying to make it into a day of education and awareness."
For fun and for the children, there will be a visit from a fire truck, games, costumed characters from "Beauty and The Beast," rock painting, an ice cream social, pizza, cake, information tables, raffles and a DJ.
Part of the event is the shoe memorial, a display of one pair of shoes for every person who has died of an overdose or substance abuse in Portage County, she said.
The even will end with the dedication of a memorial garden in the park. Those in attendance may plant a flower for an individual who has passed away due to substance abuse, is in recovery or who is actively using addictive and dangerous substances.
Guest speakers will include Rob Court, an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio who specializes in narcotics prosecutions; Dr. Jeanette Moleski, an addiction specialist from Hudson; Laura Cash, whose son died from an overdose and who will speak about harm reduction; members of GRASP, a grief recovery group; Iris Meltzer of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County; and others.
Community leaders including Ravenna Mayor Frank Seman and a representative of the Portage County Board of Commissioners also are expected to attend.
Donations for the raffle also are welcome, and winners need not be present. To donate or with questions, call Cherrie at 330-620-7128 or assistant coordinator Marybeth Day 330-459-4686.