Virginia Tech's Recovery Program earns grants to expand

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) - One local group is challenging what you think you know about substance abuse. Now, even college campuses are stepping up their efforts to help students in need.

It's on the Virginia Tech campus, that Environmental Horticulture Major Kelly Scaramozzi has seen the greatest growth.

"I'm sitting here today, December 8 will be two and a half years of sobriety for me," she said with a smile. "So that's pretty exciting."

Scarmozzi struggled with abuse of alcohol and marijuana.

She joined AA, a decision that ultimately brought her to Hokie Wellness, where seeds of growth are being planted all the time.

"Having a recovery campus here means, hey, we see you and you're welcome here," said Joshua Redding, "and that's really important."

Redding helped create the Recovery Community at Tech four years ago.
It's a branch of Hokie Wellness that's established a student-centered approach to recovery.

"They've been able to identify their disease and treat it at an earlier stage, while it impacts the rest of their life," said the counselor. "And so college recovery isn't just about students and their recovery, it's about saving their lives."

"It's really provided that comfort and closeness with other people that I wasn't getting when I was by myself and using," Scaramozzi said.

Recovery Community has created a place to focus, socialize safely, make friends and finds paths for overall wellness.
While they're still working to expand, recent grants of more than $70, 000 are hiring staff, providing personal training and creating a place where students feel like they belong.

And because of it, Scarmozzi has bloomed where she's planted herself.

"I'm so happy, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. It feels great."

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