By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
A fun game of kickball will be played at the Unity Field on Friday, April 13, but that simple game will mean much, much more than simply kicking a ball and running. The game, being dubbed Kick for Recovery, is a collaboration between the Cherokee Children’s Home and the RezHOPE Recovery and Consulting group founded by Kallup McCoy.
“With this collaboration, I hope that our kids, and Kallup, and other folks in sobriety can come together and continue the revitalization that’s happening in Cherokee,” said Monica Wildcatt, Cherokee Children’s Home manager. “And, hopefully some intervention can happen.”
When asked what message she hopes to give the children, she simply answered, “Hope.”
She added, “This is the only life they’ve known pretty much so hopefully somewhere down the road their parents will want that for themselves and their kids too.”
The event will feature a kickball game, a cookout, and various people currently in recovery will speak to the youth about making positive life choices.
“Ninety-percent of the kids are there from circumstances relating to substance use,” said McCoy. “So, I think not only will it give them hope about their own parents, but hopefully we can shed some light on the kind of choices to stay away from. One thing that I’m really going to stress that day is not to scare them straight but relay that you’re going to held accountable for your choices in life and this is what can happen. So, hopefully they’ll make the right choices moving forward. We also want to be that light for their parents or whoever is struggling within their family.”
He added, “We just want them to know that they’re valuable and we see them…we always say that they have a voice and they’re our future, but we need to have them at the table right now and understand what’s going on with them.”
McCoy said he’s happy that Wildcatt is open to the idea. “I’m glad that she’s wanting to help our kids heal. I think that by talking about these kinds of things and just letting them know that they’re valuable will help.”
Katelynn Ledford, a member of the RezHOPE team and a part of the Mother Town Healing Project, commented, “I’ve never been in that situation, but I’ve felt feelings of hopelessness. I’ve had feelings of being unworthy. So, there is a connection there, and we just want to help lift them up.”
Wildcatt noted that she is appreciative of these collaborations and wishes for more. “The Children’s Home is always open to resources – any program; what can we do to work for the betterment of our kids?”
McCoy said he’s hoping this program will have a ripple effect in the community. “It’s going to make more people want to get involved. I think it’s going to be huge.”
Members of the Steve Youngdeer American Legion Post 143 have been invited to the event, and following the game and cookout, the youth and veterans will walk to the Cherokee Veterans Park where some of the veterans will share their experiences and wisdom.