CLEVELAND, OH [DOM Communications] – On Thursday, July 2, Archpriest John Zdinak, Chancellor of the Midwest Diocese, presented a check in the amount of $18,000 from Mother Maria Ministry to FOCUS St. Herman in Cleveland. In addition to the gift from the Mother Maria Ministry, Archpriest Andrew Clements, Dean of the Cleveland Deanery, also presented a check for an additional $2,000 from the Deanery. These two gifts equaling $20,000 will be used to pay for a new greenhouse which will be a part of the Orthodox Christian Recovery Program.
The presentation took place on ‘Spruce Island Farm’ in Northeast, OH, near the diocesan St. Vladimir’s Camp. Upon receiving the generous donations, Mr. Paul Finley, Director of FOCUS St. Herman in Cleveland, stated, “the gift of a greenhouse from Archbishop Paul and the faithful of the Midwest Diocese of the Orthodox Church America via the Mother Mary of Paris Charitable Ministry is most meaningful. Once the agricultural phase is fully operational, we will commence a residential program for persons with addiction.”
Spruce Island Farm is a ministry of the St. Herman House – FOCUS Cleveland. Located in the midst of Northeast Ohio’s Amish Country, the scenic 75-acre property is currently under development. It will serve as a twofold outreach program for the St. Herman House. The first phase of programming will include workforce development and job training. Done in an agricultural setting centered on a year-round greenhouse operation, it will also feature beekeeping, outdoor vegetable gardens, berries, hayfields and livestock. The goal of the greenhouse operation itself is to have five operational units that will assist in keeping a sustainable year-round program.
“Our program will be long-term, 6 to 12 months, and provide a much stronger foundation for lifelong recovery and sobriety,” Mr. Finley explained. “Residents in recovery would receive intensive behavioral therapy and work in the agricultural program. Studies indicate that long-term recovery programs in a natural environment are much more effective than typical residential recovery programs which tend to span 1 to 3 months. By God’s grace and the generosity of the faithful, we will achieve these goals.”
The program focuses on developing a work ethic and job skills that can be transferred to employment in landscaping, horticulture, garden center or nursery work. Learning how to work with others, stay on task, and follow instructions in a positive environment is vital in workforce integration.
The St. Herman House and Spruce Island Farm are solely owned and operated by FOCUS North America, a 501c3 non-profit ministry of the Orthodox Church.