Fundraising Firebird 5K returns Saturday

  • Two young runners pose for a photo during a previous year’s Firebird 5K. This year’s event will be held Saturday at Highland Park in Greenfield. Contributed photo

Staff Writer
Published: 6/6/2019 5:22:53 PM
Modified: 6/6/2019 5:22:42 PM

GREENFIELD — With the sober house she spearheaded plans for set to open any day last November, Devon DeKorver hung around the porch of the fixer-upper. She talked about the five-year journey of rallying the community around an annual road race to raise money for the building that was now poised to become reality.

DeKorver, always with a smile and a plan, wouldn’t let you forget that the Firebird 5K was going to carry on this summer.

Not only did this home that provides women in recovery with a place to stay as they get jobs and find stability in a future career need funding for upkeep, but DeKorver wanted to slightly shift her focus, too.

This year’s Firebird 5K on Saturday at Highland Park in Greenfield will raise money to help DeKorver and her nonprofit Sage Housing Inc. work toward opening a men’s sober house, as well.

The race, which starts at 9 a.m., with registration from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., will feature Greenfield’s Director of Community and Economic Development MJ Adams as its keynote speaker. Adams has been a longtime advocate of supporting recovery in the community.

The whole process of opening a sober house has not gone without its bumps in the road, DeKorver said. These past few months since the recovery home has been open has had “normal growing pains,” she said, primarily around setting up a referral system to ensure women in need and from the area have an opportunity to stay in the house that has six beds.

“Were now in a position where things are smoothing out,” DeKorver said.

She said an early finding around running the house is that “people are lacking employment.”

A person’s path of recovery to this house may look like: entering a treatment facility like the Northern Hope Recovery Center on Federal Street, then they may head to a local halfway house, which could then lead them to a more long-term recovery sober house like this one run by Sage Housing in partnership with the organization GAMHA.

The halfway house to sober house piece has led to some bumps, DeKorver said, with people not always having a job before they get to their house, which can lead to instability in the recovery process.

“Creating that whole circle of care is important and that requires meaningful work,” DeKorver said.

Still, DeKorver is doing something unique in Franklin County, where long-term sober housing is short. With the assistance of community partners, including the Opioid Task Force of Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and other recovery partners in the region, she’s found a way to translate her community runs into long-term recovery.

“We’re not there yet,” DeKorver said. “At the same time, I have to say, ‘Holy crap, it’s been six years and the place is open.”

Registration for the Firebird 5K costs $35 for individuals, $15 with a military discount and $20 as part of a team. Children under the age of 10 are welcome to participate for free. To register online before 5 p.m. today, visit runreg.com/8476, or find Firebird 5K on Facebook for more information.


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