BANGOR — There is a hidden gem in Bangor that is changing lives every day.
While serving his time in jail, Doug Dunbar heard a story on the news about a mural on a building in Bangor.
That mural covers the outside of a local nonprofit called the Together Place on Second Street.
Dunbar said having struggled with mental health and substance abuse issues, finding the Together Place was meant to be.
“If there is ever a place that I belong that maybe I can contribute to it’s the Together Place,” said Dunbar.
He said he spent more than 30 years in government, worked on Capitol Hill, and served under former Gov. John Baldacci.
“It wasn’t until my sixth arrest that it all came crumbling down and people found out,” said Dunbar.
He said he has been sober now for 3-1/2 years and he credits the Together Place for a significant role in his recovery.
Currently, he leads weekly financial literacy classes and serves on the board of directors.
Program Director Jacqui Wilks said she, too, was guided there under tragic circumstances.
“In 2014 my younger sister passed away from a heroin overdose,” said Wilks.
Wilks said she has always been passionate about helping others but since then has been with the Together Place and hasn’t looked back.
“It’s the everyday growth I see in people,” said Wilks. “Every day, I see someone else who is growing and moving forward in their recovery.”
A long-time member said it is the personal growth, relationships and activities that have kept him coming back.
He added cooking dinner has become therapeutic for him.
“When everybody said thank you so much that was great and stuff, it warmed me up,” he said.
But he said the reason why he has been there so long is simple.
“It feels like a giant family,” said 20-plus-year member, Erik Bryden.