Young Overcomers United
by Karen Fetter
Sooner or later, you will come into contact with someone who struggles with drug or alcohol addiction. The odds are, someone in your family, among your friends, or at work is already suffering.
Not everyone is ready for recovery, but when they are, where do they turn? Where can parents and families go for support?
While there are a variety of clinical and twelve step programs to choose from, one effort based in Westmoreland County is building its own unique reputation. For the faith-based Young Overcomers United, operating out of Export, PA, prayer and compassion are two of the key ingredients on the road to recovery.
Young Overcomers United (YOU) is a non-profit Christian group offering drug and alcohol addiction recovery support at meetings every Thursday night.
Focused on youth, the program is open to addicts between the ages of 15 – 30. Weekly sessions are free and are followed by a meal and fellowship.
For Joe and Christine Maxim, it’s Personal
For founders Joe and Christine Maxim, the effort to help addicted youth in Westmoreland County is personal.
Joe is the youngest of eight children and experienced addiction himself for nearly 10 years. Once he went through complete recovery he decided he wanted to be able to help others. At Young Overcomers United, he’s put together a program that focuses on helping strengthen the mind, body, and spirit of young addicts.
“The majority of the people we see have been in and out of rehab three or four times. While we ourselves are not licensed counselors or doctors, we seem to be able to offer the kind of support those who come to us really need, because we ourselves have been there and done that,” said Joe. “We often hear that when people find us, they feel like they found their home”
It all started 18 years ago for Joe and his wife Christine by inviting one young man with a full-fledge addiction over to their house for dinner and a talk. This continued every week for the next 18 months.
From a simple meal shared with one addict, the weekly dinners soon grew to feeding and counseling a group of 23.
As it soon became impossible for Joe and Christine to meet the increasing need out of their home, Joe moved the meetings to a location in Plum Township where they continued their counseling efforts for another seven years.
During this time, Joe was always looking for better facilities and a way to move his efforts back to Westmoreland County, where the drug problem especially has been growing. That is when he found Cornerstone Ministries in Export, PA. Thanks to the support of the church, he has been able to utilize a well-equipped “warehouse for youth” on the church campus. The space has a kitchen and a gym and is large enough to house 450 people.
Looking Forward to the Day Their Efforts are No Longer Needed
“Our goal is not to have anyone!” said Joe. “We want to plant seeds of hope and knowing that less people need us tells us that things are getting better.”
But the truth lies in the statistics. Westmoreland County has seen the number of deaths due to heroin overdose rise. Since Joe and Christine have started YOU they have seen about 1400 people with about 800 who have accepted Christ and put faith into recovery.
“Nothing good comes easy. Our fellowship builds friendships through time,” said Joe. “We are a huge support system filled with hope. If there wasn’t hope we wouldn’t be doing it.”
In addition to the weekly meetings, Joe and Christine offer one-on-one support as well as offering retreats and seminars. The yearly retreat to Erie for fishing is an experience that leaves a lasting impression on the young adults. They even help people with transportation whether it’s for groceries, to go on a job interview, or to attend a court hearing. The support does not just happen during the Thursday night meetings. It is ongoing and for as long as it is needed.
Support for Parents, Families, and Caregivers
The duo also supports parents, families and caregivers of addicts. They understand that parents need help to care for their children. Addiction doesn’t just affect those who are experiencing it; it affects everyone around them. Christine and Joe both offer in-home support and have established one night a month where they gather parents, families, and caregivers together to pray. Furthermore, Joe has been a guest speaker for other groups and organizations where he addresses the topic of addiction and how he and his wife support recovery.
“I can’t put a price on helping people. I get energy from doing it and being able to plant the seeds of hope,” said Joe.
After working their regular full-time jobs Joe and Chris make time to keep this non-profit support group going. Volunteers help set up the food while others speak on a variety of topics each week and encourage new members to talk. New people to the program relate to those involved because they feel like someone finally understands what they are going through.
Maintaining a non-profit organization is a struggle financially according to Joe and Christine. While today they work regular jobs and help youth in their spare time, they feel that they have been called to do the work of Young Overcomers United on a full-time basis. Their hope is to be able to focus all their energy on helping people, but affording the luxury to do so is something for the future.
Addiction Recovery Vitamins
In addition to his support and counseling efforts, Joe has been instrumental in working toward the development of a set of vitamin supplements for recovering addicts. Early in his work, he noted how damaging addiction was to the body as well as the mind, and began working with doctors and a nutraceutical company toward a safe, natural, and effective vitamin supplement to assist the recovery process.
The product is called Recovery24, and you can learn more about it at www.Recovery24.com.
This site provides a recovery nutritional system that aids the body in getting back to a healthier state after experiencing an addiction. The average addict can spend about $200 per day to support a habit, but the Recovery24 vitamins are only $2.70 a day. This nutrition helps the overall recovery for an addict because it helps with the mind, spirit, and body.
Joe is personally available to explain to anyone how this product was carefully developed over years of study and how it has been shown to be effective.
Donations are Accepted
In addition to Recovery24, Joe and Christine welcome and would greatly appreciate donations.
These donations help with supplies for the meetings and retreats as well as care for those who need help during an addiction.
Your donations can be mailed to: Young Overcomers United, P.O. Box 218, Murrysville, PA 15668-0218 or by visiting www.you10.org.
For more information or to ask questions, you can also call Joe and Christine directly at 724-989-0679.
If you or someone you know is a young adult struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, joining YOU is can be a step in the right direction. Joe and Christine provide a healthy, supportive environment that encourages recovery and offers hope.
Attend the next Thursday night meeting at Cornerstone Ministries in Export, PA or visit www.you10.org right now.