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Reflecting on Four Decades of Gratitude




As we stand at the crossroads of four decades, looking back at the winding road that brought us here, the story of PAACA (Positive Action Against Chemical Addiction) is one of resilience, adaptation, and unwavering dedication to the cause of recovery. Founded in 1983 with humble beginnings in a church basement in the South End of New Bedford, PAACA emerged from the collective vision of a small group of individuals who sought to create a supportive space for those navigating the path of recovery.

The genesis of PAACA sprouted from the desire to establish a haven where 12-step meetings could take place and individuals in early recovery could find solace and support. Initially operating out of a storefront on Acushnet Avenue, the organization later relocated downtown before settling in its current home at the North End Community Center in 1987. Carl Alves, CEO of PAACA, vividly recalls stepping into the organization seeking help for a friend, only to become captivated by its mission. Serving on the board of directors, his early days were filled with camaraderie and shared determination among those striving for healing and growth.

Throughout its evolution, our mission remained steadfast: to guide individuals toward recovery. However, the organization's services expanded organically in response to the evolving needs of the community. Recognizing a growing population of young people in need, we established youth services in the 1990s, a program that continues to flourish today. As the years unfolded, housing initiatives, employment programs, and community outreach became integral components of our holistic approach to recovery.

Reflecting on the milestones of the past four decades, we celebrate our growth from a small team of part-time staff to a multifaceted organization serving hundreds. From the development of youth services and housing programs to pivotal partnerships with other community organizations, our impact extends beyond recovery, encompassing job creation, community engagement, and wellness initiatives.

Navigating the ever-shifting landscape of social, economic, and political dynamics, our resilience shines through. From adjusting to different administrative priorities to meeting the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with innovative solutions like the development of the food enterprise "Commonground Cafe". The ability to adapt while staying true to our core values underscores our enduring relevance.

Our enduring relationships with partner organizations have been instrumental in expanding its reach and impact. Through collaborations with entities like Seven Hills and ICC (Inter-Church Council), and HPTC (Hight-Point Treatment Center), we extend our services beyond recovery, engaging in health outreach, harm reduction efforts, and community development initiatives.

The journey hasn't been without its challenges. The inherent complexities of grassroots organizations have tested our resolve. Yet, through it all, a sense of gratitude and a commitment to redemption has been guiding beacons. PAACA’s imperfections are woven into our fabric, making it uniquely equipped to empathize with and uplift those who seek solace within its walls.

Looking ahead, our focus remains on enhancing access to housing, combating food insecurity, and empowering individuals to reclaim their lives through employment and training opportunities. As the organization strides forward, it calls upon the community to join hands in the collective pursuit of healing, resilience, and shared prosperity.

PAACA's journey over the past four decades serves as a testament to the transformative power of community, compassion, and collective action. As we embark on the next chapter of our story, We invite all who share our vision to stand together in solidarity, embodying the spirit of hope, resilience, and gratitude that has illuminated our path thus far.


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