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Meet Nadine Blase Psareas of Hopedealers Worldwide, Inc. in Woodstock/Canton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nadine Blase Psareas.

Born into an Italian family in Utica, NY in 1971, has now been a resident of Georgia since 1985 and a graduate of Lassiter High School in Marietta, Georgia. Nadine is a wife and mother of 6.

Having experienced at age 19 a mission trip to Haiti that redirected her path in life, Nadine studied to become a teacher and inner healing counselor. She received her BSED degree at the University of Georgia and served as a state certified teacher for 10 years in Georgia before early retirement. She is also a Certified Anger Management Specialist, Domestic Violence Specialist, an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and also a Certified Brain Health Coach through the Amen Clinics. She is currently working on her CADC (Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor).

Nadine currently serves as a Global Organization Leader for a pace-setting travel and lifestyle company. Early on in her travel career, she was plunged into an unexpected journey she could have never imagined as her son struggled with the disease of addiction. Nadine identified a unique opportunity to combine an out -of- the- box therapeutic travel recovery project with a concept her company created called “Voluntourism”-using travel to underserved communities to build eco-friendly schools. This later evolved into establishing a 501c3 nonprofit, Hopedealers Worldwide, serving those whose lives have been touched by the disease of addiction. We currently offer classes for members in the community to obtain state certification for the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor Certification. We offer scholarships to those who have previously struggled with addiction.

Last year, she welcomed into her home and became the guardian of a special needs young man in the community whose parents are both deceased.

In 2018, Nadine became the first recipient of the prestigious Rudy Ruettiger Award nominated by her peers and community for exemplifying the 4 “C”‘s (character, commitment, contribution, and courage).

Later in 2019, she was selected as a Legacy Award nominee at Aurea McGarry’s Live your Legacy Summit for her dedication to helping people suffering from addiction and supporting their families in the process.

Has it been a smooth road?
Struggles involving a loved one struggling with heroin addiction, entrepreneurship and building a global organization, personal health struggles with traumatic brain injury and ADD, health struggles of my husband suffering from a heart attack, loss and grief struggles, dealing with children with disabilities (autism, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities)

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Hopedealers Worldwide, Inc. story. Tell us more about it.
Co-founders of Hopedealers Worldwide, Pete and Nadine Psareas, are no strangers to the heartache of heroin addiction. Their 26-year old son is a recovering addict and they understand the probability of relapse all too well. Their son has struggled with substance abuse since he was 15. It led him to jail, to job loss, to alienation with his family. Over the years, he has lost several close friends who have overdosed on heroin. Today he has been clean and sober for several years but is conscious to the fact, he is still at risk for relapse.

What started as a family’s desperate search for ways to support their son and the thousands of young people struggling with addiction-well beyond medications and traditional counseling, proved to be the springboard to a new and innovative approach to reducing the risk of relapse. The goal is to create that high, the euphoria addicts seek through heroin and other substances, through life-changing experiences, reconnection of relationships, a sense of belonging, travel, and volunteerism. With the help of a network of caring adults willing to do whatever it takes to help others stay off drugs and on the road to successful recovery, substance abusers can find a new joy in life, purpose, a feeling of self-worth and the empowering optimism to know they can beat addiction, feel like they belong, are part of something impactful, and can function successfully once again.

Life leads us all on many different paths and when Nadine and Pete were searching for alternative therapy, they found it in the most unlikely place: dirty used soft drink bottles cast away on the side of the road in Guatemala. And so began the first of what would be many creative endeavors of Hopedealers Worldwide, leading their first venture into mobilizing young people to volunteer through building a school for the most impoverished children in the world through “The Guatemala Bottle School Project”. The innovative schools are built with “eco-bricks” created through recycled plastic bottles. “Hope is the New Dope”, a program of The Power of Peace Project, combined with Hopedealers Worldwide, offered the opportunity for recovering addicts and their loved ones to give back to children also in crisis, just of a different nature. In putting others first and changing the world for the positive, they can experience the “natural high” of selfless volunteerism. Each school they participate in is dedicated in memory of those who have lost their lives because of a heroin overdose and other diseases of addiction.

Today people in recovery, past participants and new friends in the program, travel to Guatemala and continue to build more schools through this Voluntourism Program. They are responsible not only for the passion and elbow grease required to help the children’s and their own future, but they are also required to actively help raise the needed money through donations and community to cover the costs of the trip.

The Bottle School Project in Guatemala was created, founded, and operated by Hug It Forward and is facilitated by the WorldVentures Foundation.

The mission of Hopedealers Worldwide is to foster a purpose in life, confidence, self-worth, and joy; to offer assistance to support consistent recovery success for individuals facing addiction along with those family and friends touched by the disease of addiction; to facilitate repair, rehabilitation, and rejuvenation of relationships affected by addiction.

Today, we provide support services including community resource referrals, coaching, counseling, health insurance guidance, and navigation, and educational scholarships for recovering addicts to obtain their Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor certification; this is accomplished through life-enhancing experiences, events, state certified training workshops, regular innovative support group meetings, and international volunteerism made available to those committed to recovery as well as their friends and families.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Worldwide Expansion. Training leaders to expand the CADC classes and the unique Hopedealers Training Classes nationwide, then worldwide.

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