When: 9 a.m. Saturday
Where: Hall County Courthouse, 225 Green St. SE, Gainesville
Entry fee: $20
When Ana Martinez needed help getting her wheels back, she turned to some friends.
Friends of Recovery, a local group that supports participants in Hall and Dawson County treatment courts, was about the only place Martinez, a recovering drug addict, had to turn.
“When you first get into recovery, you’ve burned a lot of bridges, and not a lot of people will take that chance to loan you the money,” said Martinez, 28, who in July 2008 tested positive for cocaine after giving birth to her daughter. She later entered family treatment court.
Friends of Recovery loaned Martinez $500 to pay fines and insurance so she could get her driver’s license back, and later made another interest-free loan of $110 for an insurance payment.
“I wouldn’t have been able to get to group (counseling), my drug screens and all the things that are required in family treatment court without my driver’s license,” she said.
Martinez is one of dozens of treatment court participants who have borrowed and paid back money to the Friends of Recovery fund, which distributes about $35,000 annually in loans and program benefits. They range from paying power bills or car payments to grants for medical procedures.
“It just helps them over that bridge until they’ve been sober long enough to get employed, sober long enough to prove themselves to their families,” said Stephanie Woodard, a board member and co-founder of Friends of Recovery.
On Saturday, Friends of Recovery will hold its third annual Run for Recovery 5K fundraiser, which starts on the Gainesville square, loops around Gainesville High School and Wilshire Trails and ends back at the Hall County Courthouse.
It’s part of the celebration of National Drug Court Month, which locally will include graduation ceremonies for Hall County DUI Court, Dawson County Treatment Court, Hall County Family Treatment Court and Hall County Drug Court. In Hall County, there are some 400 people participating in treatment courts.
Many of them will take part Saturday in health and wellness seminars at Lakewood Baptist Church, where they will get refreshers on life skills like parenting, budgeting, job hunting and living healthy lifestyles.
At least a few treatment court participants will join in the run, which typically draws a good contingent of local attorneys and other professionals. Last year saw the first drug court participant run in the event, wearing steel-toed boots.
Later this month, Ana Martinez will graduate from Family Treatment Court after 18 months in the program. She is clean, sober and reunited with her daughter, Aiyanna, who turns 2 in July.
Martinez said Friends of Recovery helped make it possible.
“They really go out on a limb for you,” she said. “It’s a really nice thing they do for the court programs.”