RISING WITH THE FALLEN: Will’s Place finds its dream home

It has been more than 11 years since Allison Hudson Mingle’s brother Will died of a fentanyl overdose. Six weeks after that, Mingle found herself in recovery for alcohol addiction.

“In the midst of my pain and healing, I recognized a profound need within our community — a need for resources, understanding and a guiding light for individuals and families struggling with addiction,” she said.

Mingle has made it a priority since then to honor her brother and help others.

“Fueled by my personal experience and the memory of my brother, I envisioned a place where individuals and families grappling with addiction could find solace, support and the resources needed to embark on the path to recovery,” she said. “I channeled her grief into action, laying the foundation for what would become Will’s Place in 2013.”

Will’s Place Recovery Resource Center opened on South Second Street in downtown Albemarle in November 2016. Mingle said increased rent led the organization to relocate to Sun Plaza Shopping Center in 2021.

That same year, Will’s Place was awarded a state infrastructure grant for $1.5 million to build a permanent home.

Now her dream of having a permanent home has come true.

Will’s Place is now at 540A N. First St., where Mingle wanted it to be from the beginning.

The building has 6,500 square feet, more than six times that of the center’s previous space.

Allison Hudson Mingle is ready for the grand opening of Will’s Place on Tuesday. (Contributed)

“Having more space opens up various opportunities to expand and improve the services and support we already offer to the community,” Mingle said. “With more space, we can accommodate more people seeking recovery services for counseling and support groups. It will allow us to diversify our services by adding educational workshops, health and wellness classes and art and recreational therapy. We will be able to offer therapeutic activities like yoga, meditation and mindfulness sessions. We have space dedicated for a resource library and have space to collaborate with community organizations to host events.”

With the recent news of day cares in New York having fentanyl near children, with one child dying, and the arrest last month of two parents in Stanly County after their child overdosed on a substance thought to be fentanyl, Mingle said “it serves as a distressing reflection of the pervasive issue of drug use in our country. It underscores the tragic reality that drugs have infiltrated even the most innocent and vulnerable spaces, putting our children at risk.”

She said that news “highlights the urgent need for a comprehensive, community-driven approach to combating drug use in our country.”

Stanly County commissioners must have saw the need as well, since the board recently approved $40,000 in funding for Will’s Place.

Rise Yoga is open in the same facility as Will’s Place. (Contributed)

Besides Will’s Place, Mingle has opened Rise Yoga at 540B N. First St.

Rise pays rent to Will’s Place. It offers many types of yoga and has monthly workshops.

“We opened Rise Yoga with the motivation of fostering a sense of community and shared purpose within the same building of Will’s Place,” she said. “Like Will’s Place, Rise Yoga is a space that is free from judgment, where everyone is welcome and where you will be treated with kindness and love. We think yoga should be accessible to everyone so we offer ‘Mindful Giving’ classes where individuals can contribute an amount that suits their budget, to ensure that financial constraints never hinder their practice.”

Mingle believes her brother would be proud that his death was used to help a community.

“I think he would be humbled by all the support Will’s Place has received. Will would never want it to be about him. That’s not who Will was,” she said. “I think he’d feel a real sense of purpose and gratitude knowing that, even in death, he is part of something much greater than himself. I think he would be at peace knowing that there’s a place for people who are struggling with addiction to go for help. I think he’s probably very pleased with all of it.”

A grand opening for Will’s Place is planned for 5-7 p.m. Tuesday.

“The building is being dedicated to David and Joanne Gettleman in grateful recognition of their extraordinary generosity and support to Will’s Place,” Mingle said.

Will’s Place’s office is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Thursday. AA meetings, family support group and recovery support meetings are conducted on various days, such as Men’s AA at 8 p.m. Wednesday and PAL (Parents of Addicted Loved Ones) at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Visit www.willsplacenc.org or www.riseyoga-alb.com for more information.