WCC Offers Support for Students in Recovery

Wytheville Community College (WCC) is offering students in recovery a support system to provide resources to help them thrive in an academic setting. 

Wytheville Community College (WCC) is offering students in recovery a support system to provide resources to help them thrive in an academic setting. The new program, “HEALS” (Harm Reduction, Empathy, Advocacy, Listening, Safe Spaces), will provide a supportive community that encourages success while these students earn a college degree or a workplace certification. Michelle Bryant, Recovery Support Specialist, will lead the new program. Bryant says, “Students in recovery will have opportunities to meet with peers and be connected with much-needed resources to help them on their academic and recovery journey.”

Another way that HEALS supports students in recovery is to provide social engagement. HEALS partners with Virginia Tech, Radford University, and other colleges in Virginia and throughout the United States as part of the Association of Recovery in Higher Education. Bryant adds, “Students are encouraged to participate in fun and engaging social activities. There are chat groups, pot-luck dinners, game nights, and even overnight stays.  Peer connections help foster a sense of community which supports student success.”

According to the Association of Recovery in Higher Education, “More than 140 schools in the U.S. have “collegiate recovery programs” that provide supportive resources to help students maintain their sobriety while continuing their education.”

Bryant agrees with this support, “People who participate in peer support services have higher success rates with recovery than those who don’t.”

Another resource for students in recovery, is a fitness program founded by Walter Midkiff, a former physical education teacher, called “Recovery Fitness” which encourages sobriety with exercise and seeks to assist people in finding enjoyment and satisfaction without substances.

Midkiff is the nonprofit's founder and lead fitness instructor. He says, “Recovery Fitness is designed to address the physical, mental, and emotional needs of an individual who is in recovery by emphasizing physical fitness. Recovery of any type can only be successfully accomplished by a holistic approach that sparks and nurtures human strength. Our mission is to take an individual who is at any place in their recovery journey and foster and grow their resilience. This program is compatible with anyone's physical condition. We modify the workouts for the individual and tailor them as they progress. The fundamental aspect of Recovery Fitness is to create a safe and positive environment where the resilience of the human spirit is celebrated as the strength of the physical body returns.”

Recovery Fitness is open to all students and to the public and meets on Tuesday evenings, beginning at 6 p.m., in Smyth Hall, at WCC’s Wytheville campus. "We are excited to bring Recovery Fitness to WCC.  We are open to anyone at any fitness level.  I promise you will leave smiling and with a sense of accomplishment,” says Midkiff.

For more information about HEALS and Recovery Fitness, contact Michelle Bryant at (276) 223-4837 or at mbryant@wcc.vccs.edu.



Source: Johnson, Steven. “For College Students Battling Addiction, a Safe Space for Recovery,” US News & World Report, 03 August 2022, https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2022-08-03./

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