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For Some, New Year Means New Chance

January 3, 2000

CLEVELAND (AP) _ Ken Grimes’ resolutions for 2000 are a little more serious than most: stay off drugs, get some job training and become completely self-sufficient.

``2000 for me is a wake up call,″ he said. ``It’s a chance to become a member of society and help another individual.″

On Sunday, Grimes, 38, was in the right place to make pronouncements: a fair dedicated to turning around the lives of those recovering from drug habits and other serious problems.

The so-called ``Recovery Rally″ featured entertainment from singers and dance troupes throughout the afternoon at a downtown mall.

But the main attraction was a group of booths offering advice to people for a long list of serious problems, including poor diet, debt and mental illness.

Organizer Pat Egan said the event was held on the first weekend of the year partly to give people a chance to make a psychological break with past troubles.

A ``resolution wall,″ where visitors could write out their commitments to a healthier lifestyle, stood at one end of the booths. ``To be drug free,″ read one resolution. Others, in children’s handwriting, had a lighter tone. ``To smile more,″ said one. ``No cursing,″ read another.

Grimes, 38, said he was addicted to drugs _ mostly crack and marijuana _ and alcohol for 17 years.

He was living on the street in July when he read about Y-Haven, a comprehensive rehabilitation program for homeless men. He was accepted into the program, and now, a few months later, he says his craving for drugs is gone.

Next week, he said, he’s heading to trade school _ his first formal education in 20 years _ to train for a new job as a carpenter.

``I’ve been really looking forward to it,″ he said, smiling.

LeBaron McDonald, also formerly homeless, has been with the Y-Haven program for a month. His goal for 2000 is to get a commercial driver’s license through the program.

``The year 2000 is very meaningful to me,″ he said. ``It’s a time when I have to do what I’ve got to do to finish the program and then deal with life on life’s terms.″

Don Korth, 64, who consulted with a nutritionist on Sunday, was also looking for a change in lifestyle. Korth underwent angioplasty two months ago to clear a couple of blocked arteries, but knows he still needs to change his diet.

``I would just eat anything,″ he said. ``I could go on this year like I did before, but I’ll just end up in the hospital again.″

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