By Dillon Thomas
WELLINGTON, Colo. (CBS4)– More than 70 recovering drug and alcohol addicts are on the road to sobriety, thanks to a harvest festival hosted by The Denver Rescue Mission.
For the 16th year in a row, the Denver Rescue Mission hosted a harvest festival on their Northern Colorado Harvest Farm.
The festival features pig races, a pumpkin patch, corn maze, petting zoo, corn cannons, food and more.
Every dollar raised at the Harvest Farm goes towards funding the “New Life” program, a life-changing course which helps recovering addicts change their course of life.
The program is funded by the Denver Rescue Mission, and provides the participants with food, clothing, shelter, and counseling.
The festival is run mostly by participants in the New Life program, who are on the path to sobriety.
“(Customers) see what we do, and I think they really enjoy it,” said Steve Pietrafeso, the Program Coordinator for the Denver Rescue Mission.
Throughout the month of October, the participants in the program have spent their weekends tending to the festival, and sharing their positivity with those who choose to spend their family time on the farm.
Participant Taylor Reed entered the program in early 2018, after running in to the law several times.
“I was addicted to meth, and heroin,” Reed told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas. “I tried killing myself back in February, (and) I went on a high speed chase.”
After a judge agreed to send him to the faith-based program, Reed said his life has already started to change for the better.
“It is my longest stunt of sobriety since I was 12,” Reed said.
Participants serve as cooks, petting zoo workers, and corn maze guides. Reed found his passion in giving tractor tours to visitors. While showing the groups around the farm, he always takes the opportunity to teach them about the program, and his past mistakes as well.
“If I aggravate my case, then I got to prison for six years. So, that it pretty good motivation,” Reed told parents, and their children.
Reed said he hoped to graduate the 13-month program without relapsing.
“I want this more than breath,” Reed said.
Reed said he found encouragement and mentor-ship in those who went through the program, including now-staff leader Pietrafeso.
“I came here in 2010 as a participant,” Pietrafeso said. “The farm turned my life around, and changed my life.”
Pietrafeso told CBS4 he was addicted to cocaine. After graduating the program, he felt called to encourage other men to pursue faith and sobriety as well.
“I’m living, breathing, proof of what this program can do. And, what God can do in somebody’s life,” Pietrafeso said.
Participants said their path to sobriety wouldn’t be possible without the donations received through the Harvest Farm festival, which helps fund their recovery program.
“It means a lot to us here at the farm, and the participants as well,” Pietrafeso said. “The entire Denver Rescue Mission appreciates it.”
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.