Anna Souannavong working at reference desk at Gates Public Library. Souannavong spearheaded forum that sparked the Gates to Recovery drop in center.

By Kelsie Smith

Wednesday, June 27th 2018

Gates, N.Y. – For almost a year, the group Recovery Now has opened drop-in centers across Monroe County. The first one in Gates, known as Gates to Recovery, has become the model for the other three locations, including the most recent one that opened Wednesday in Irondequoit at Glad Tidings Church on Culver Road.

Working with a number of community organizations, including Churches Combatting Addiction, the Irondequoit Police chief and Dave Attridge of Recovery Now found this location.

“We're under the conviction the building should be used for the community as well,” said Pastor Jeff Quigley.

On the fourth Thursday of every month, the community space will become a drop-in center known as Iron-Gates, paying homage to its predecessor.

“It happens to be worship site, but it's also in a location that allows us to serve a number of municipalities because we know this issue has no boundaries,” Irondequoit Police Chief Richard Tantillo said.

According to Attridge, since last August, they have been able to get 150 people into treatment with this model and have helped around 200 families get the support they need.

“We were just looking at the calendar. It was the very end of July. There was a crisis forum in Gates, and we saw how many people were there,” said Attridge. “I wasn't even part of it, I was just standing next to Chief VanBrederode and Mark Assini and we said we have to do something, and three days later we opened up the first one."

That opioid crisis forum was the brain child of Assistant Director of the Gates Library Anna Souannavong.

“I’m incredibly thankful the right people were in the room that day," she said.

A year ago, Souannavong saw a need in her community: People coming in, asking questions about the opioid crisis and looking for resources.

“I don't know everything, but it's my job to find out the information, to get the information,” said Souannavong. “I felt like it was my responsibility, the library's responsibility to really provide what they needed.”

Souannavong gives credit to her colleagues for helping put together the forum that was held on three separate dates. The one in Gates last July was standing room only.

“I'm glad Dave Attridge was there and able to make the right connections to get Gates to Recovery going,” said Souannavong. “It's really cool to see that come together it's kind of like a masterpiece, because like I said, I don't know everything, I don't have all the answers, but there are people out there that do, and I feel like that's part of my job is bringing the right people together and getting them to do bigger and better things that I’m not capable of doing."

And it’s a masterpiece that continues to grow. A fifth location is set to open in Brockport next week.