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Pahrump nonprofit gets upgraded through grant from Home Depot

A nonprofit organization in Pahrump is planning the next stages of its growth after a grant helped with upgrading its existing space on the north end of town.

Living Free Health and Fitness, a nonprofit in Pahrump, had more than three dozen volunteers from the community and Home Depot donate their time to upgrading the organization, focused on addiction rehabilitation services, in early August.

The organization was granted $7,500 in materials by the Home Depot Foundation to build the group rooms at the organization’s office space at 2050 N. Highway 160, Suites 600-700, at Mesquite Avenue and Highway 160, behind the Horizon Market.

“They’re basically group rooms, so we’ll have clinical groups in here,” said Shelley Poerio, CEO and founder of Living Free Health and Fitness. “We’ll have education groups. We’ll host sober social support—like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings.”

With the upgraded space, Poerio will also be able to offer more support for adolescents.

Several businesses in the Pahrump area have made the project possible, too: Ken Murphy of Shadow Mountain Construction; Royce Avena of Avena and Sons Electric; and Lou Banuelos of P-Town Air Conditioning, according to information from Poerio.

Home Depot Foundation

Several volunteers from the local Home Depot store came out to help with the upgrade project in Pahrump, including Teresa Aukeman, store manager at the Pahrump location.

Aukeman estimated that there were about 37 volunteers on-site during the project on Aug. 7.

The Home Depot Foundation services “35,000 veterans, and we’ve got $85 million set aside for grants,” Aukeman said. This is the annual budget on the national side, she said.

Living Free isn’t the only project Home Depot has done locally.

The foundation’s grant money has gone to projects at the VFW in Pahrump and the Freedom Reins Ranch, also in Pahrump, among other projects.

“If they come in and let us know that they’re a nonprofit 501 (c)(3), we will work with them any way we can,” Aukeman said.

Volunteers

Among the crowd of volunteers for the project was a trio of women staying at Living Free’s sober living house in Pahrump. The sober living house is for individuals with drug or alcohol abuse.

One woman, Kimberlee Koehler, talked about the program offered by Living Free positively. Koehler said she’s stayed in other facilities over the years in her battle with heroin addiction and other drug abuse.

“This one (sober home) is actually one of the better ones that I’ve been to,” Koehler said. “I’ve been to a couple of rehabs, a couple of sober living houses in Las Vegas, and their really nowhere near this type. It was really bad.”

Koehler said she experienced homes that were overcrowded and encountered individuals that didn’t seem to want to get better in some of these previous environments.

“A lot of the girls here (Pahrump), they actually want to change,” she said. “They want to stay sober and be good, productive people.”

The nonprofit also offers a sober living home in Pahrump for men.

“You are seeking a safe environment with programming, structure and supervision as a way to get your life back on track … and keep it that way!” the organization’s website stated.

According to Living Free’s website, the sober living houses offer a “comprehensive enrichment program delivering proprietary, evidence-based education, lifestyle and life skills curriculum supervised and managed by a licensed clinician.”

A closer look

Poerio founded Living Free in 2013 “after researching — and observing — the benefits nutrition and exercise can have on helping people stay stopped,” according to Living Free’s website.

According to the website, the program has worked for many people, including Poerio, who has been sober since Sept. 5, 2001.

Poerio has been a clinician since 2009 and has experience as a securities brokerage principal and worked as a principal of several small businesses in the District of Columbia.

Poerio wrote a book, “Rebalancing the Addictive Mind: Beating Addiction with Exercise and Nutrition.”

For general information about Living Free, head to livingfreehealth.org or call 775-505-1625.

For information on the sober living houses, call 702-600-2527 or write an email to shelley@livingfreehealth.org

Living Free does an abundance of community service work, according to Poerio.

Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at jmeehan@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @MeehanLv

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