All in the Family: daughter replaces mother as YPR Chapter Leader

By: 
Charlie Denison
Reporter

Taylre Sweeney, left, is taking on the position of Young People in Recovery Chapter Leader, taking the place of her mother, Laurie, right, who has accepted the position of YPR Regional Chapter Coordinator.
Photo by Charlie Denison

Earlier this month, Young People in Recovery Chapter Leader Laurie Sweeney announced she’d be taking on the role of Regional Chapter Coordinator for YPR. But, for Laurie, who helped the Lewistown chapter become the 2016 YPR Break-Out Chapter of the Year, it was hard to leave her seat vacant.

However, this was an opportunity she said she couldn’t pass up.

“It’s now my job to support chapter needs for all YPR chapters in our region, which stretches all the way to Ohio and Indiana,” she said. “It’s my goal to support the active chapters as much as possible.

This is a big jump for Laurie, who said she is going to training in Denver, Colorado for the position come July. In the meantime, a big part of her job will be connecting YPR chapters with people who can answer their questions to make sure they get the assistance they need.

This includes the Lewistown Chapter.

“I’ll have to be in constant contact with their Chapter Leader,” she said.

This shouldn’t be a problem, as the new Chapter Leader is her daughter, Taylre.

“I will be [Chapter Leader] if my mom can give up the position,” Taylre joked.

According to the organization’s website, youngpeopleinrecovery.org, YPR is an advocacy group, “supporting those in recovery by empowering them to obtain stable employment, secure suitable housing and explore continuing education.” Laurie said the organization also takes a different approach to recovery, trying to reverse the stigma and change the language surrounding addiction.

Sadly, Laurie and Taylre know addiction, or substance abuse disorder, all too well, as Laurie’s son, Kyle, struggled for years. He has now been in recovery for more than a year, living in town, working and regularly attending YPR meetings. Laurie and Taylre could not be happier with his progress.

“I have my brother back,” Taylre said.

Confident YPR has played a role in her brother’s recovery, Taylre is happy to take on the role of Chapter Leader and continue to make a difference, hoping that other families can overcome similar circumstances.

“I want to continue to make Lewistown a recover-ready community, raise awareness and reduce stigma,” Taylre said.

Taylre said she believes this is possible thanks to the team involved with YPR and Together Our Recovery Center Heals, a recovery-based organization partnered with YPR.

TORCH and YPR have worked together since the beginning, Taylre said, so she doesn’t imagine things being too much different as Chapter Leader.

“Everybody will still be working together,” she said. “Everyone here is considered family.”

Still, it’s not an easy job to change the conversation, but Taylre, YPR and TORCH are doing what they can to continue to spread the word and grow their organization. This year, YPR even extended its presence into Fergus High School, implementing a YPR Club, which meets every Wednesday during lunch.

“Having a presence in the school is big for us,” Taylre said. “Prevention is a priority.”

YPR, however, is for all ages, whether young in age or young at heart, Laurie said, and it’s beneficial to people in recovery as well as those with family or friends in recovery. Moving into a larger role with YPR, Laurie said she couldn’t be happier to see her daughter do the same.

“I’m happy she’s excited to step up,” Laurie said. “It’s a great way to learn leadership skills. That’s what YPR is all about, and the skills she takes from this will help her with everything she does.”

Taylre said she’s ready, but it will still be hard for her to think the position is hers now, since she will be communicating with her mom regularly on YPR-related business.

“She’s always the boss,” Taylre joked.

 

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