The annual event, hosted by HOPE Sheds Light, Inc., offers hope and support to families on the Jersey Shore that are impacted by addiction.
Seaside Heights, NJ – Despite the cloudy skies and rainy weather conditions, the message of HOPE shined through at HOPE Sheds Light’s 5th Annual Celebration of HOPE Walk held on September 8th on the Seaside Heights boardwalk. The event featured guest speakers in recovery, including Jersey Shore star Mike Sorrentino and fiancée Lauren Pesce, as well as onsite vendors and supporters.
Founded in 2012 after co-founder Ron Rosetto lost his son Marc to a battle against substance abuse, HOPE Sheds Light serves to provide help and resources to families impacted by addiction. Rosetto, along with Co-founders Arvo Prima and Stephen Willis, and a team of board members and volunteers, work year-round to support families suffering from the epidemic of substance abuse that has become widely prevalent at the Jersey Shore in recent years.
“Since the families and friends of those with addiction problems often feel isolated, ashamed, overwhelmed and hopeless, HOPE Sheds Light was created to provide direction, resources and hope toward recovery,” said Ron Rosetto, co-founder of HOPE Sheds Light. “We are passionate about helping anyone in need, and we have created this organization to provide those individuals with the resources they need to find hope for a future free from drug addiction.”
“We would like to express our gratitude for everyone’s unwavering support,” said Pamela Capaci, CEO of HOPE Sheds Light. “It was truly an amazing to see countless people come out to support us despite the rain. Special thanks to our friends at Press Communications for your comprehensive media coverage. We would also like to congratulate Team FWH, Stepping Up For Sabrina, Too Inspired to be Tired and SAFE Sailing for your outstanding fundraising efforts this year in support of our HOPE Walk.”
The Celebration of HOPE Walk was held on the Hiering Avenue beach in Seaside Heights. All participants received a yellow HOPE Sheds Light walk t-shirt at the event, and resources were available for family members and friends of those dealing with addiction and substance abuse. The event, moderated by HOPE Sheds Light Co-founder Stephen Willis, began with a prayer Pastor Sue from Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Toms River. Congressman Tom MacArthur also gave opening remarks.
During the walk, HOPE Sheds Light Co-founder Arvo Prima shared his story about his oldest son’s addiction and going through the 12 steps. “Addiction is a medical problem with a spiritual solution,” he said. “My recovery had nothing to do with my son’s. That was tough. I learned about the 3 C’s, I didn’t cause it. I can’t cure it and I certainly can’t change it. I learned a different kind of love. Today, I am learning to deal with my son’s loss. His addiction is my blessing. My hope is that by me sharing my story, you’ll share yours. Today we are sharing light and hope. Showing the world that recovery is real and possible for everyone. That’s the promise of recovery.”
The event also highlighted speakers Dawn Wilson and Brian Percox (to hear their inspirational stories, video footage of the walk is available on HOPE Sheds Light’s Facebook page). Mike Sorrentino and Lauren Pesce gave closing remarks before Dory Rachel sang the National Anthem to launch the two-mile walk.
Sorrentino, 35, rose to fame on the MTV show “Jersey Shore.” The show wrapped in 2012 while the New Jersey native was battling a prescription painkiller addiction. Five years and two trips to rehab later, Sorrentino is now clean. He credits the Discovery Institute (https://www.discoverynj.com) and Pesce for giving him the support necessary to find recovery.
“Going through the recovery process has taught me how to live a better way… with integrity, peace and purpose,” Sorrentino said. “I don’t drink. I don’t drug. I don’t lie. I don’t cheat. I don’t steal. I don’t even speed. I don’t have time for mistakes. I come to a four-way stop and I look eight ways. Life is very hard, by taking substances and getting intoxicated, how can you make good decisions? I didn’t know that at the time, but now I know better, so I do better. I am not embarrassed of my history and that we do recovery and that change is possible.”
In response to those who are struggling, HOPE Sheds Light says to be successful in recovery, you have to want change and believe that change is possible. “It’s hope that gives us the energy to move forward,” said Willis. “HOPE Sheds Light exists as families in recovery to share our joys and our fears and what works and what doesn’t. By doing so we get to share about our great many blessings with you. If your struggling or worried about a family member or you’ve lost a child or friend, you get to decide how each day looks like. Will you decide to live with sadness and resentment or with hope? The latter is a great way to live. It’s what HOPE is. We have all learned to love again and we want you to be part of it. Together we will make this community stronger, healthier, more vibrant and energized. The amazing people of HOPE celebrate the recovery of the whole family each and every day and we want to celebrate your family as our own.”
About HOPE Sheds Light
HOPE Sheds Light, Inc. is an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (Tax ID: 46-3910504) that is supported by friends and families directly affected by addiction and found recovery through continuous love, support and understanding. The mission of HOPE Sheds Light is to raise awareness and educate individuals, families and the community about the impact of addiction by having the courage to share personal experiences and offer strength, wisdom, hope and resources that lead to positive community change and long-term recovery. To learn more, please visit https://www.HOPEShedsLight.org.