Crystal: A Beacon of Hope

R.O.P.E.S. participant Crystal Stafford strives to be a beacon of hope for others that are trapped in the throes of addiction. She has had a lengthy substance misuse history that began in her early twenties and was incarcerated for a time due to her addiction issues. In November 2020, the Scott Works Community Work Program and Appalachian Sustainable Development’s GroundWork Program both referred Crystal to the R.O.P.E.S. Program in Scott County.

She is a dual enrollment in the R.O.P.E.S. and WIOA Adult programs. She completed incumbent worker training with Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) as well as the Peer Recovery training with Ballad Health. R.O.P.E.S. provided Crystal with the support she needed, like utility bill assistance, clothing, and hygiene items. She participated in R.O.P.E.S. recovery classes and activities and has maintained employment throughout her time in the program.

Crystal went from being one of ASD’s first GroundWork participants and is now the Food Access Coordinator for the agency, the Herb Hub Assistant, and the regional lead for the Southwest region. She works closely with local farmers’ markets and produce stands to encourage their participation in the Virginia Fresh Match program. Fresh Match allows folks who receive EBT to use them on fresh fruits, vegetables, and vegetable plants. Thanks to her efforts, Henry’s Produce of Duffield now allows EBT enrollees to spend up to $50 of food stamps at 50% off.

Crystal has shown incredible positive improvement since enrolling and is excited to be working and serving in her hometown community. In addition to her other duties, she doubles as the ASD resident Peer Recovery Specialist and is very passionate about helping others in their recovery journey. She says that R.O.P.E.S. kept her on track and helped her overcome obstacles that she would have otherwise struggled with. She says that the program also got her interested in the recovery lifestyle and made her want to learn more about addiction and the role it had played in her life.

We are so proud of Crystal and know she will continue to do amazing things!