Jeremy Hiltz, center, has opened the Recovery Employment Support Training (REST) Center at Main and Middle streets in Lewiston. “Recovery can be lonely. You have to find a whole new set of friends,” said Russell Kohrs, right. “The REST Center is where you can find those friends.” Kohrs is a volunteer coordinator at the center. Volunteer Travis Rainer is at left. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — As a counselor and owner of Recovery Connections of Maine, Jeremy Hiltz has seen what happens when people recovering from addiction have nothing to do and no place to spend their days.

Too often, it’s not good.

“There are bars all over town. There are places to buy drugs all over town. But where can we go to socialize?” Hiltz said.

The answer is, he’s created a place.

The center will have a public barbecue at 6 p.m. Friday and a grand opening celebration July 19.

Located on the first floor of 205 Main St. in Lewiston, the center had a soft opening last week and will fully open this week. It features a drop-in space where visitors can socialize, meeting areas for support groups and other gatherings and computers for education and job training. The center will also collaborate with the Lewiston CareerCenter for workshops to be held on site.

Similar centers have opened in the Portland, Lakes Region, Midcoast and Bangor areas, but Hiltz believes REST is the the first in Lewiston-Auburn.

“I’ve been thinking for a long time that we need one,” he said. “Somebody needs to step up and make it happen. In the building that I’m in, space became available that would work, so I jumped on it. We can’t wait around for this stuff to happen. We’ve just got to make it work.”

The center will start fundraising, but for now Hiltz’s treatment center, Recovery Connections of Maine, holds the lease and Hiltz is paying out of pocket to run the center.

“We’ve had so much community support,” he said. “People are so interested in it, that I feel strongly that we’re going to be all right.”

Volunteers help run the center and will be involved in a job fair expected to be held there this fall. The center is still accepting volunteers. It is free to use and is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, with added Friday night social events. Hiltz said he expects to expand those hours and open the center on weekends in the future.

“We want it open as long as we can,” he said.


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