Seen on:WRBG Channel 6
Thursday, December 16, 2021
Woman in recovery makes it her mission to give back
CAPITAL REGION, NY (WRGB) — “Right now, I’m currently in the Saratoga County Correctional Facility.”
Heather Crola’s visit to the jail today was for work, but that hasn’t always been the case.
“I’ve been in jail. I’ve been homeless. I’ve been in treatment. I’ve been at the very bottom. I’ve been all of those things, so because of those things is the only reason that I feel like I have anything to speak on.”
Now 11 years into her recovery, the Galway native is working with a familiar face – Ben Deeb, who specializes in peer services for the incarcerated. She remembers meeting him while volunteering at a halfway house.
“I would see the peers come back to the halfway house after their time spent with Ben and Martina, his wife Martina and some of the other staff there and they would just be, it was the only time I would see them with smiles on their face.”
In addition to working with Ben, she’s also the street outreach specialist, for Healing Springs Recovery Center in Saratoga – connecting the homeless with services.
“What people don’t realize is that by the time somebody is on the street the mental health and the addiction pieces are so severe. These individuals have been neglected by a system that is set up for failure for so long that if they could get a job and just get themselves housed they would.”
It’s no easy task, but one made slightly easier, because Heather is living proof of success.
“One really powerful piece for me has been in being able to work at a professional level with some of the people who were my treatment providers so there’s this really powerful, like ‘hey look I listened to you!’”