New model puts emphasis on community, member-led programming

Oaklawn will host a grand opening for its new Recovery Café at 1 p.m. on April 17 at the café, 333 N. Main St., South Bend (located inside First United Methodist Church).

The café started in 2017 as a drop-in center for people facing substance use. It provided a sober place to hang out during the day and get connected to recovery coaches and community resources. The new café will be based on the statewide Recovery Café model developed by We Bloom, an Indianapolis non-profit. The new model focuses on membership and includes people facing not only substance use, but also mental illness, incarceration, homelessness, grief or other similar issues.

“It provides more opportunity for a sense of community and for members to drive the programming,” said John Horsley, one of the founders of Oaklawn’s Recovery Café.

Recovery Circles will be a staple at the café. These meetings give members the opportunity to reflect on what they’re grateful for or what’s going well that week, share their goals, talk about their struggles and build relationships. Other programs include groups on meditation and inspiration, meaningful movie day, or fun sober activities like karaoke.

“The main focus will be on programs, groups, community and social support – all day long,” Horsley said. “We don’t have that in our community right now.”

The café will be open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. To maintain membership, members must be sober for 24 hours and attend at least one Recovery Circle a week. Visitors are allowed to visit for a day before deciding whether they want to become a member.

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