Kathy Welsh

Kathy Welsh

SAUGERTIES – Hope Rocks, a first-of-its-kind free festival at Cantine Veterans Memorial Complex in Saugerties, Aug. 19, 2017, 12 p.m.-9 p.m., and Aug. 20, 2017, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., aims to provide hope to those suffering with addiction, depression and suicide by offering advocacy, education, counseling and support.

Festival Aims to Help Those Suffering with Addiction, Depression, SuicidePrimarily sponsored by the Sawyer Automotive Foundation and the Saugerties Lions Club Foundation and produced by Morse Rocks Presents, the Hope Rocks festival includes a wide range of activities and is open to all.

“Hope Rocks brings light to the epidemic of despair brought on by addiction and severe depression,” said festival organizer Joseph Defino, a Saugerties resident and elementary school teacher. “Hope Rocks offers presentations, speakers, onsite counseling and support services, as well as activities including pickle ball, softball, basketball, volleyball, human foosball, a motorcycle ramble and a 5- and 10-K run. Plus, the festival features live music, food, vendors and an art exhibition. The festival’s centerpiece is the Walk of Hope, which provides an opportunity to remember loved ones who have lost their battle with addiction, depression and suicide.”

Defino started Hope Rocks after witnessing in less than four years 11 former student suicide deaths stemming from addiction and despair. “As a teacher, I could not enjoy the successes of my students without taking some of the blame for losing so many young people in so short a time,” said Defino. “We are in an epidemic of despair. Hope Rocks aims to change that by offering an environment of acceptance and understanding while providing access to support and services.”

More than 100 volunteers, many who are affected by addiction and suicide, are working on and at the two-day festival.

For more information, go to hoperocksny.com or email rocksmorse@gmail.com.


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