Friends Of Recovery Norwich Center Slated To Open This Spring
Published: February 15th, 2022
By: Sarah Genter

Friends of Recovery Norwich center slated to open this spring Friends of Recovery of Delaware and Otsego Counties will be opening a new facility at 24 East Main Street in Norwich. The center is expected to open in the spring, and will offer vocational training, housing assistance, mental health resources, and much more. (Photo by Sarah Genter)

CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this story accidentally omitted the full name and title of the quoted source: FORDO Program Coordinator Deborah Roberts.

NORWICH — Friends of Recovery of Delaware and Otsego Counties (FORDO) is expanding out to the City of Norwich. The nonprofit organization, which focuses on "promoting addiction recovery through every available means, including advocacy, education, and peer support," is currently working on preparing their location at 24 East Main Street and hopes to open their doors this spring.

The Norwich center, tentatively named The Turning Point of Chenango to match FORDO's Oneonta and Delhi locations, will provide assistance to businesses and individuals with "recovery-gained employment," as well as a litany of resources to community members and those struggling with addiction.

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"It’s going to be like an employment center. We're going to be helping people that identify as being recovery-gained employment, but then also we have someone who already reached out to us that would like to host an AA meeting. So we do a bunch of different resources," explained FORDO Program Coordinator Deborah Roberts. "We help with housing, we help with getting documents back, we help with social security, food insecurity, all that kind of stuff. So it’s just going to be a centralized location where people can come and hopefully remain sober, and then also get some additional resources that they need."

The FORDO Norwich location will also offer training courses on how to use Narcan, an overdose treatment that can be life saving.

"We will most definitely be offering Narcan training," said Roberts. "I think it’s nice because everything we do is free, so you don’t have to jump through hoops. Sometimes it’s literally as simple as signing in on a paper so we can make it a program, and then you can get Narcan trained, you can leave with Narcan, you can drop your expired Narcan off and pick up new Narcan. So it’s a lot of valuable resources that people get without having to pay for them."

While the facility will not be offering needle drop offs or things of that nature, Roberts said employees at FORDO are available to help individuals find the resources they're looking for.

"We are not going to be doing those types of things, but if somebody is looking for those we would be more than happy to help them find where the nearest one is," she said.

Programming offered through FORDO is entirely peer based and peer driven. Roberts said individuals enrolled in the program can choose to work with a peer specialist, such as FORDO Peer Specialist Ivana, who will support them through their recovery.

"Ivana is the peer specialist. Anybody who enrolls in this program gets the option to have a peer with them, and basically the peer’s role is to guide them and support them and just make sure that they’re feeling secure in their recovery, whatever that means to them," said Roberts."Her role is to really be like a support system and to help people learn how to be responsible and work, and be there for any recovery needs that they have."

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Volunteers will also be welcome at the new location, and Roberts said FORDO currently has successful volunteer programs at both the Oneonta and Delhi locations. She added that specific responsibilities are largely left up to the volunteers themselves, to ensure it's something they will feel fulfilled doing.

"Volunteers are always welcomed. I think it’s nice, and it makes people feel like they’re really a part of the community when they can come and help and see what’s going on. So I think volunteers are always a good option," she explained. "We try to make their volunteer experience based on what they’re looking to get out of it, so we kind of leave that up to them."

Roberts said she hopes the new location will help to educate the community and change perspectives on addiction and recovery, as well as support those recovering from substance use.

"My hope for the community is that maybe some of those community members that have a sour taste in their mouth about people in recovery in general will kind of see that nobody wants to be an addict, nobody wants to be sick," she said. "My hope is that this kind of changes the way people think about people in recovery, and in turn will hopefully encourage more people to want to be in the program because they see significant changes in the community and the people in recovery."

She added addiction can be caused by any number of factors, including things like difficulty handling emotions and stressors of life, and growing up in any environment where drug use is common. Negative stigmas within communities can also make recovery harder to reach.

"I think that there’s multiple different things that can cause addiction. I don’t know necessarily one is more prominent than the other because we see so many different, diverse people. But everybody's story is a little bit different, and sometimes it’s exactly the same. So it really honestly depends on the person," Roberts explained.

"A lot of times there's that 'not in my backyard' stigma where they don’t want people in recovery to have housing, or they just don't want them in their community, and I think that can really put a strain on people," she continued. "Obviously if you feel like you’re not welcomed, or not wanted, or understood, or supported, you’re not going to want to stick around, and that doesn’t really give you much hope to better yourself if everyone already has this kind of negative thought about you."

However, she said the Norwich community has been supportive of the center so far, which she thinks will help to bolster the program and get more people on the road to recovery.

"Norwich has been very, very welcoming so that’s been really great, and I think that will help a lot of people in the long run," said Roberts. "If they see that the community wants this program to help support them and help them get back on their feet, I think that that will help greatly."

Funding for the center and its programs is being provided through a workforce training grant from the Appalachian Regional Committee, which will support vocational training for individuals and businesses, and the R.C. Smith Foundation. FORDO is also already connecting with other organizations in the area as well, to learn more about Chenango County and the needs of its community.

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"We have CDO Workforce in Norwich, and we have Chenango Health Behavioral Network, so it’s nice to see all those people kind of come together," said Roberts. "They’ve all been very, very helpful and I’m grateful that everyone has been as welcoming as they’ve been, because this program is new and we don’t know everything, we don't know Chenango. So we can definitely can use all the help and feedback that we can get."

The City of Norwich Mayor Brian Doliver is also penning a letter of support for the Norwich facility, which will be signed by himself and all members of the City of Norwich Common Council when finished.

In the meantime, FORDO is getting everything ready to begin providing valuable resources and services to the Norwich community. Roberts said they will keep their focus on working with those in recovery to fit their individual needs, whatever those may be.

"The term being in recovery means whatever that person wants it to mean. It doesn't have to mean anything in particular," said Roberts. "There’s a lot of different pathways, and we want to make sure that we embrace them all."

More information on FORDO can be found on their website at, or on the Friends of Recovery of Delaware and Otsego Counties Facebook page.