By WAYNE ALLEN
PDT Staff Writer
SOLACE (Surviving Our Loss And Continuing Everyday) founder Jo Anna Krohn has decided to leave her job, at the end of the year and dedicate herself to being the executive director of SOLACE and a statewide chairwoman for the expanding organization.
Krohn founded SOLACE in April 2010 in Portsmouth.
Krohn said she is amazed at the growth of the organization and calls her move to become the group’s director a leap of faith.
“We have 14 counties that have made some kind of verbal commitment to starting a SOLACE chapter. Two of the groups (in Ashtabula and Pickaway counties) are already up and running. The expansion is working,” Krohn said. “We’ve been a lot of places, we’ve seen a lot of people and things are really starting to take off.”
In 2010, the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS) made a commitment to fund the expansion of SOLACE throughout Ohio.
“We have communities throughout the state that are interested in developing SOLACE chapters. There are members of SOLACE that are traveling all over Ohio, telling the Scioto County story. They are helping these communities establish support groups,” ODADAS Director Orman Hall said. “Families with addicted loved ones need to hear the stories that SOLACE has to tell.”
Krohn said she started SOLACE with the notion that if “I could help a few families in this area that’s going through the same thing I’m going through, the loss of a child because of drugs, if I could speak to a few students and I could get them to make better decisions, encourage them to get help if they are doing things they are not supposed to, if I could just reach or save one person through those efforts, then I’ve done my job,” Krohn said.
She said as the director of SOLACE she hopes to speak at every school in Scioto County.
“When I do a presentation to a group of doctors or mental health and recovery professionals it’s different than when I speak to a group of high school students. My son (Wes Workman) was a high school student when he died. I’m more open and honest with high school students. I want them to know everything that happened and what could happen to them,” Krohn said.
Krohn said she finds inspiration in speaking to students and when the students are able to share their success stories.
“It helps me to heal. If I did not do what I do, if I did not speak out and talk to him the way I do, I could imagine I would be in a corner somewhere crying and still trying to deal with the loss. Even though the pain will never go away from losing my son, I truly believe my heart is healing and I am going to be able to manage the rest of my life without him, by sharing his story and spreading his message,” Krohn said.
SOLACE recently established an office in Portsmouth that Krohn will use once she becomes the group’s director.
Krohn said she will then work on the expansion of SOLACE throughout the state in cooperation with ODADAS and the Drug Free Action Alliance.
Mailika Stubbs-Willison has been named the state SOLACE coordinator employed by the Drug Free Action Alliance.
“We (SOLACE) have a girl who works for SOLACE in Columbus. She’s with the Drug Free Action Alliance and does some of our promotions and she identifies areas for possible expansion. That’s a good thing because it will allow me to focus on our community,” Krohn said.
For more information about SOLACE, visit them on Facebook or visit the Drug Free Action Alliance at www.drugfreeactionalliance.org.