The center in Canandaigua promises peer, community support

CANANDAIGUA — Finger Lakes Area Counseling & Recovery Agency's newest center opened to much fanfare Tuesday morning, with law enforcement, public health officials and government representatives all coming out to attend.

Called Connections: Rounded Recovery, the center — open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday — features a variety of nonclinical services for those in addiction recovery. Services can include health and wellness classes including yoga or reiki, support groups and classes designed to teach life skills, according to the center’s website.

The grand-opening ceremony began with remarks from Jennifer Carlson, deputy executive director of FLACRA.

Carlson thanked a number of individuals, stating how “it really takes every single person here” to make the Connections a reality.

“Let this center shine as a beacon of life,” Carlson added.

After a few remarks from Diane Johnston, director of mental health for Ontario County, state Sen. Pam Helming took the microphone after Carlson, briefly touching upon her opposition to controversial bail-reform legislation before praising FLACRA for its work within Ontario County.

“FLACRA has been committed to helping communities fight this disease for over 40 years,” Helming said.

Helming also presented Carlson with a certificate of congratulations to FLACRA following her remarks.

Canandaigua Police Chief Stephen Hedworth spoke briefly and enthusiastically about the center, stating how “from a law enforcement perspective, we’re with this 100 percent.”

Hedworth alluded to the recent incident of multiple overdoses in Ontario County, which occurred two weeks ago in late November. He said this center is important, as addiction “touches everyone, regardless of race, color, creed, socioeconomic status.”

Canandaigua Mayor Ellen Polimeni praised the center as well as the county as a whole for its response to those suffering from addiction.

“This county is a benchmark for success,” Polimeni said.

Following remarks from local author and recovering addict Chris Pridmore, along with statements from staff members affiliated with Connections, an honorary ribbon-cutting was held and guests were invited to enjoy refreshments afterwards. Visitors could also tour the facility, which featured a more secluded room for meetings and offices, along with a FLACRA Center for Innovation Treatment van used for mobile responses to addiction treatment.

According to Katherine Gates, program director for Connections, the benefit of having a “peer-led, peer-driven” support center is the ability to provide those in recovery with multiple resources and services.

“Recovery is an ongoing process. You have to work for it every single day,” she said. “The different services we have here really help promote that success.”

Correction: This article originally misstated the operating hours for the center. It has since been corrected and modified.