NewsLocal NewsCleveland Metro


#GivingTuesday: Northeast Ohio treatment center needs new van for drug-addicted youth

Posted at 5:47 PM, Nov 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-26 23:23:30-05

You’ve no doubt seen the pleas from nonprofits and charities around the country and in Cleveland for Giving Tuesday — a day of giving within your community.

But one Northeast Ohio nonprofit is hoping you’ll pay special attention to their plea.

New Directions is a nonprofit residential treatment facility for drug and alcohol-addicted youth, ranging in age from 13 to 20. The kids are there because it is court-ordered or parent-ordered.

“They’re used to a lot of failure, they’re used to not succeeding in life. So it’s really our role to engage them in what life could be like for them going forward,” said Mike Matoney, New Directions' CEO.

They have 18 youth living in the facility right now, with an average stay of 65 days.

The only way for those teens to leave the four walls of the treatment facility is with a van — one that is now rusty, beat up, and doesn’t always start.

“It has electrical issues, it has starter issues, it now has a muffler issue. It’s just not reliable,” Matoney said.

The van is used to drive the teens to recovery meetings, to activities, and out into the community.

“You know, we say treatment happens here, recovery happens out there,” Matoney said.

It’s something Becky Belair knows well. She came to New Directions at age 17. She said the 32 days she spent in treatment changed the course of her life.

“I always said that when I turned 21 and I was able to work there, I was going to. So on my 21st birthday, I showed up there with my resume in hand and said, ‘I want a job.’”

Belair has been working at New Directions ever since — 14 years — with the hopes of giving back to those who gave so much to her.

“Because so many of them come from environments that are so sick and their families have been through it and it’s just a cycle and a cycle and a cycle,” Belair said.

Belair said she remembers when she was in treatment, getting into that van every day — and the impact going out into the community had on her life and recovery.

It’s why New Directions is raising funds for a new van this Giving Tuesday — if you’re interested in contributing, you can donate by clicking here.

An estimated $274 million was raised on Giving Tuesday in 2017 -- a 50 percent increase over the previous year. The campaign was started in 2012.