Behind the Scenes
The Rally4Recovery is Rhode Island’s largest celebration honoring National Recovery Month every September. It has grown each year since it was first held on a small patch of grass on the grounds of the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH) in 2003. Beginning in 2006, the event was held in more public forums in Providence, and for the first time, was co-hosted by the newly-formed Rhode Island Recovery Month Coalition, a group from the State’s recovery community. The Coalition includes treatment providers, partners in government, family members, friends and advocates for recovery. Holding the event gives a voice to people in recovery and tells the public that treatment does work and recovery is possible.
Rhode Island was one of the first states to expand the focus of National Recovery Month to include individuals with mental health issues and people with developmental disabilities and received the 2010 award for the “Best Rally in United States” by SAMHSA. In 2011, we were the first state in the country to hold “Recovery Rallies behind the Walls” at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.
In 2012, the Providence Rally4Recovery was selected by Faces & Voices of Recovery as the 2013 National Hub Event for Recovery celebrations taking place across the country. Organized activities from 25 communities were web-streamed live to locations around the world. Approximately 15,000 people attended the Providence Rally4Recovery Hub Event. Ninety organizations from across Rhode Island set up Informational tables to help educate the public, raise awareness and share the message of recovery.
Over the years, speakers have included members of Congress, State legislators, local and community leaders and individuals in recovery, such as Chris Herren, who share their personal recovery stories.
The free, family-friendly festival has free food, live music, activities for children and adults, crafts, face painting, a reptile show and more. The event ends each year with a brief, but powerful ceremony, commemorating those we have lost, and celebrating the reality that Recovery changes lives, it is possible, and it is happening!