By Sadie Hunter
Gina Bardach’s enthusiasm to help struggling heroin addicts and their families is more than just a calling to engage in community service.
For nearly three years, Bardach’s son, Brandon, 24, has been clean.
But after seeing 20 of Brandon’s friends, all from Hamilton County, die from overdose, she said she knew she had to do more.
So in October 2014, Bardach, 46, founded the nonprofit Hope and OVERcoming, Inc.
The organization serves as a support group for addicts and their families and friends, but also helps addicts find long-term treatment options by advocating for families to send their struggling loved ones to treatment and rehabilitation facilities in Arizona and Florida for up to six months.
Since its inception, Bardach says the organizations has grown to more than 1,300 members, approximately 70 percent of which she says are from Hamilton Co.
“It’s the fastest, largest-growing organization of its kind in Indiana – and most effective,” Bardach said. “We do advocacy work, so we helped with legislation at the statehouse to get Aaron’s Law (SB 406) implemented for Narcan … the antidote to overdoses.”
The bill, passed April 17, 2015, allows for overdose intervention drugs to be legally prescribed to addicts and friends and family members of addicts.
Continuing her community work, Bardach has organized Face the Music, a free music festival fundraiser for anyone who wants to come and those involved with the nonprofit.
“All the money is going to be used to open a sober living facility for women,” Bardach said. “Normally, tradition shows that the three less likely character types to get involved with addiction are women, people with higher income or people with private insurance. But now, all three of those (categories) are equal with men with lower incomes.”
To be called House of Hope, the facility will help supplement some of the need in Hamilton Co.
“There are three or four places around here that are sober living facilities for women, but they only have 11 to 15 beds. They’re filled now, so there’s always a three-month waiting list. This is only going to be one facility, and we might be able to put 12 to 14 people in it, but the thing is, we want to open one in Boone County for men, and then another one and another,” she said. “We’ve got to start somewhere, and I’m going to start here because Hamilton County is drowning in heroin addiction, and (awareness) is just not out there.”
The Face the Music festival will have, for sale, raffle tickets, merchandise and T-shirts and food from City Barbeque.
GO TO THE FESTIVAL
When: 3 to 9 p.m., Feb. 27
Where: The Loft in The Mill Top Banquet and Conference Center, 802 Mulberry St., Noblesville
Musicians: Bulletproof Soul Band, Bobby Hayden Jr., Lexi and Rick Bozzo, Harvesting Murphy, Molly June, DPZ, Kenyon, 10th of Never
MEET GINA BARDACH
Role: Founder and president of Hope and OVERcoming, Inc.
Family: Husband, Steve; Children: Jordan, 26, Brandon, 24, Sierra, 23, Maitland, 19, Nash and Bella, both 15, and Stella, 5.
ATTEND THE SUPPORT GROUP
The Hope and OVERcoming, Inc. support group meets on alternating Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at 7 p.m. The next scheduled meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 16. Meetings are at the Delaware Township Community Center, 9090 E. 131st St., Fishers.