A local community advocate is calling all grassroots organizations in Akron to assemble at 7 p.m. April 24 at 15 Broad St. to form a network that can share resources and ideas on fighting youth violence, drug addiction, gun violence and hopelessness.

Brenda Ryan formed Keys to Serenity to help other parents cope with loss after her own daughter died of an overdose in the summer of 2016, at the height of the local opioid crisis. She envisions the community group as an unofficial version of the Summit County Opiate Task Force, which is a coalition of county mental health and addiction leaders, youth advocates, law enforcement, judges and more.

The meeting on April 24 will be held in the community room at the Homeless Charity, the former site of a tent city for homeless people in Akron. To register or learn more, visit https://bit.ly/2GfpgP2 or contact Ryan at 330-730-0864 or keystoserenityohio@gmail.com.

All are welcome to attend, from top public officials to individuals wanting to get involved or network with others who are.

Ryan, who lives in Cuyahoga Falls, keeps a base of operations at the red brick building owned by homeless advocate Sage Lewis. As an original board member for Akron Say No to Dope, Ryan has helped Tugg Massa, another advocate fighting addiction, place more than 700 Summit County residents in treatment in the past three years.

She’s also made so many trips to Akron to attend support meetings for the grief of losing her daughter and, now raising her grandson, that she’s launched a kinship program for other grandparents suddenly raising their grandchildren. To learn how to navigate school, child trauma and other issues, Ryan is booking judges, youth advocates and others to speak at the “Keys to Parenting Again” meetings 6-7 p.m. the second Tuesday of every month at the Red Cross building at 501 W. Market St. Attendees are free to bring the kids.

 

Reach Doug Livingston at dlivingston@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3792.