IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIDK/KXPI) - Sandy Baiocco is the director of the newly-opened Center for Hope in Idaho Falls.
"There's a lot of people hurting in Idaho Falls and we needed to help them," said Baiocco.
The center held its grand opening July 21. The facility is one of only eight like it in Idaho. Eyewitness News anchor Todd Kunz asked Baiocco how the eastern side of the state was able to bring something like this here.
"You had a lot of people who were in recovery or work in the field. We had a lot of law enforcement involvement and we just saw the need for something different in Idaho Falls, something that wasn't being provided, that one-stop recovery shop," said Baiocco.
The facility's two target groups are those recovering from substance use or mental illness.
"Preventing people from feeling like they have no other options and they want to commit suicide or they need to end up in jail just to get treatment or they need to go to the hospital because there's no where else to go. That's going to have a huge impact on our community," said Baiocco.
They have two staff members right now. The rest of the help comes from volunteers who offer peer-to-peer coaching in a group or personal setting. Other resources are available.
"We have computers over here for clients use. So three computers that have Office and Word so they can job search, house search. They can write a paper. They can do a resume there," said Baiocco.
Time to 'Pay it Forward.'
"Uh, it's been overwhelming. It's been, you know, the clients that walk through the door are very appreciative. They are very thankful. They get help and they come back," said Baiocco.
"Sandy, how are you?" asked Kory Carling with Mountain American Credit Union, walking into the room and interrupting Baiocco's interview.
"I'm fine, how are you?" asked Baiocco.
"Good. My name is Kory. I'm with Mountain America Credit Union," said Carling.
"Hi Kory," said Baiocco.
"We've been impressed with what your organization has been able to do for our community and all the lives you've been able to touch. So I'm here today to 'Pay it Forward,'" said Carling.
"Oh my heck," said Baiocco.
"So I've brought with me today," said Carling.
"Oh my heck," Baiocco interrupted.
"Five-hundred dollars in cash," said Carling.
"I'm gonna cry," said Baiocco.
"That I know you'll put toward good use," said Carling.
"Oh my heck! Yes," said Baiocco.
"And continue to help the families in our community," said Carling.
"Yes we will. Thank you," said Baiocco.
"You're welcome," said Carling.
"I really want to hug you. Can I hug you? Oh my heck," said Baiocco.
"Thank you for all that you do," said Carling.
"Oh, this is, Oh, I can think of so things to do with this right now to help our clients. I'm so touched. It's been a really fun week this week. We've had a lot of clients that really need help on a very tight budget and so this is going to make a world of difference. I'm so thankful. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you Kory," said Baiocco.
"You're welcome," said Carling.
"Really, I want a hug. Really," said Baiocco.
The Center for Hope is open five days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. They can schedule a meeting for Saturday if needed. They will also accept volunteers. You can contact the center at 208-497-2397 or more information can be found on its website here.
September is also National Recovery month.
"Pay It Forward" airs the second Wednesday and Thursday of every month. If you know of a nonprofit organization or someone who deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the area, click on "Pay It Forward" on the right side of our website and fill out the form, or send an email to Eyewitness News anchor Todd Kunz at firstname.lastname@example.org.