The final event in a series called "Humanity Walking" will spotlight addiction recovery, organizers say.
The "Community Walk for Recovery" will begin at 9 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Jackson County Justice Building. The 2.3-mile course will pass by local treatment centers, including the Addictions Recovery Center, Kolpia, Foundations for Recovery, OnTrack and the Family Nurturing Center, said Michele Morales, addictions manager for Jackson County Health and Human Services.
Funded by a $7,500 grant from the Oregon Humanities Foundation and co-sponsored by United Way of Jackson County, the walks are intended to expose the community to ideas and provide a format to engage those ideas — while participating in healthy activities, said Dee Anne Everson, director of United Way of Jackson County.
September is National Recovery Month, and the county and United Way are sponsoring a discussion about addiction that brings a different perspective to the problem of addition, Morales said.
The route was created to pass by the agencies that touch the lives of individuals seeking recovery, "including the courts, child welfare, treatment centers and churches that host meetings," Morales said.
At 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20, New York author Joshua Ferris will read passages at St. Mark's Episcopal Church from his book "The Unnamed."
In Ferris' novel, the protagonist is a successful lawyer, husband and father. But he also suffers from a periodic compulsion to take off walking, "which means he gets up from whatever he is doing and walks for miles, often days, until he collapses," she said.
"The impact of this compulsion on his family, his work and his health is a powerful allegory of the ways addiction gradually lays claim to everything, and everyone, in a person's life," Morales said.
The hope is to open up a discussion about a different kind of addiction, Morales said. Local drug and alcohol addiction specialists will facilitate a conversation after Ferris' reading session, she said.
"The story allows people to think about addiction without the stigma of alcohol and drugs," Morales said, adding Ferris' tale prompts the question about what someone might do if their compulsions began hurting everyone around them.
"The story is a powerful tale of losing everything to a compulsive behavior, including job, family, friendship and ultimately life," Morales said.
Previous walks included a Walk for Health in the Rogue Valley Mall in April that was directed toward seniors.
The second event, "Walk for Success," occurred in May. It began at a Medford elementary school, made its way to a middle school, a high school and ended up at the RCC/SOU Higher Education Center, where hip-hop poet Claudia Alick performed poetry and music.
June featured a "Walk of Faith," Morales said. Walking from a Buddhist temple to a Christian church to a Jewish synagogue, religious leaders discussed the place of walking in faith traditions and other kinds of walking meditations, Morales said.
Veterans were honored in July's "Warriors Walk" in White City, which included a film at Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics about four Iraqi veterans who lost limbs in the war and then went on to become world-class athletes through the Paralympic Games.
White City hosted a "Walk for Opportunity" in August. Youths from the LIFE Art program told stories of historical, familial and personal immigration experiences through their art, poetry, photography and readings.
For more information, call Morales at 541-774-7807 or email MoraleME@jacksoncounty.org.
Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or firstname.lastname@example.org.