Lisa Kline was the first student to graduate from The Raymond J. Lesniak Experience Strength & Hope Recovery High School, and recently received a degree in Accounting from Rutgers University.
Toms River, NJ – June 18 marked the fifth graduation ceremony for The Raymond J. Lesniak Experience Strength & Hope Recovery High School. Looking back, Lisa Kline was the first student to graduate from the Recovery High School in 2015. This year, Kline graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in accounting. Pamela Capaci, original pioneer and co-founder of the Recovery High School and CEO of HOPE Sheds Light (HSL), recently returned to Union County to present Kline with the Pamela Capaci Recovery Hero Award. This award is presented annually to one person in the state who has made a significant impact for youth in recovery.
“It is incredibly wonderful to be back here among all the recovery heroes who have stepped up and stretched out beyond their boxes, outside their comfort zones and forged new relationships, putting the greater good above their individual need to bring an innovative program and educational opportunity to our young people,” Capaci said. “It was the courage and passion of a dedicated board of commissioners, invested and award-winning school district, a mighty and courageous board of directors and an incredibly passionate Senator. I thank you all for honoring me today as the pioneer, but please know that I was not alone in my efforts. We did this together.”
Kline was a member of the first full year at the Recovery High School. “When I first met Lisa, she couldn’t even make eye contact with me,” said Capaci. “She was uncertain about attending the Recovery High School and uncomfortable with what she was being asked to do. She was reluctant yet determined to succeed and was passionate about her recovery success.”
At age 16, Kline demonstrated great courage in stepping outside her comfort zone, building new relationships, and learning to trust new ideas. “She was the pioneer,” said Capaci. “Today, five short years later, she is a graduate of Rutgers University. At the young age of 21, she is a true recovery hero.”
The Raymond J. Lesniak, Experience Strength & Hope Recovery High School is a unique partnership with Prevention Links, one of New Jersey’s leading non-profits focused on substance abuse prevention. The Recovery High School opened in September 2014 and is the first public recovery high school in the state of New Jersey. Its mission is to provide high-quality educational, enrichment, and recovery support program that offers a safe, sober and supportive school environment where students and their recovery efforts are understood, valued and fostered.
Since 2017, Capaci has strategically shifted her focus from Union County to Ocean County through her efforts with HOPE Sheds Light. “Our mission is to raise awareness and educate individuals, families and the community about the impact of substance use disorder by having the courage to share personal experiences and offer strength, wisdom, hope and resources that lead to positive community change and long-term recovery,” she added.
Capaci is now spearheading an Ocean County Taskforce intent on bringing another Recovery High School to New Jersey that is earmarked for Ocean County. “This really is an exciting time in the life of HOPE Sheds Light as we move forward with the goal of bringing a second Recovery High School to New Jersey,” she added.
Earlier this year, to expand its services, capacity and reach even further in the state, HSL announced its partnership with RAFTS. Similar to HSL, RAFTS Inc. is a non-profit, non-clinical, peer-based recovery community organization providing support and resources to individuals and families impacted by substance use and related disorders. RAFTS is based in Monmouth County.
Looking to the future, HSL will host its 8th Annual Celebration of HOPE Walk on September 11, 2021 on the Hiering Avenue Beach in Seaside Heights. Please check HOPEShedsLight.org for updates.
About HOPE Sheds Light, Inc.
HOPE Sheds Light, Inc. is an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (Tax ID: 46-3910504) that is supported by friends and families directly affected by substance use disorder and found recovery through continuous love, support and understanding. The mission of HSL is to raise awareness and educate individuals, families and the community about the impact of substance use disorder by having the courage to share personal experiences and offer strength, wisdom, hope and resources that lead to positive community change and long-term recovery. To learn more or to donate, please visit HOPEShedsLight.org.
About Recovery Advocates for the Shore
Recovery Advocates for the Shore, Inc. (RAFTS) is a non-profit, non-clinical, peer-based recovery community organization providing support and resources to individuals and families impacted by substance use and related disorders. To learn more, visit raftsnj.org.