Athleticism runs in the Spurrier family.
But love and appreciation for children were what made Gaudenzia alumnus Bobby Spurrier grow even more connected to sports. An avid softball fan and player, Bobby coached a youth church softball team in Levittown after he left treatment.
“He just loved kids,” said Bobby’s father, Robert Spurrier, as he prepared for the dedication of The Bobby Spurrier Center, the first halfway house and treatment center for women and children in Philadelphia.
The center is owned and operated by Gaudenzia Inc., one of the largest non-profit providers of evidence-based treatment for substance use and co-occurring disorders in the region and a pioneer in treating women with children.
Bobby came to Gaudenzia after years of drug abuse that included prescription drugs and heroin. But his life wasn’t always like that.
As a promising athlete, he was set to follow the track of his cousin, Steve Spurrier, a College Football Hall of Famer who led the University of Florida football team to a national championship and four Southeastern Conference championships in the 1990s. Bobby Spurrier’s life, though, detoured into addiction, as it does for so many young people.
After an overdose nearly proved fatal, he entered treatment at a Gaudenzia facility. He emerged from the program, found steady work, and began to play and coach softball.
Unfortunately, Bobby had health complications and he died in 2013 at the age of 27.
Eight years later, his father donates faithfully to Gaudenzia with gratitude for the care that the provider gave to Bobby during his stay. After learning that Gaudenzia would open a new treatment center in Kensington, Philadelphia, for women and children affected by substance use disorder, the elder Spurrier agreed to donate needed funds that resulted in the building being named after his son.
“Bobby was a very generous and caring kid, and he really liked children,” said Robert Spurrier. “And I knew that this new center was going to be catered towards women with children who are struggling with addiction. I thought, ‘This would be something that I know Bobby would have been a part of.’
“He would have liked to be a part of this. It’s a fitting way for me to thank Gaudenzia for what they have done for our family, and to also honor Bobby in a way that I know he would appreciate.”
The Bobby Spurrier Center, opening on Oct.29, will house up to 16 women, who will each be allowed to have up to two children admitted. Community Behavioral Health in Philadelphia contributed $630,000 through reinvestment funds provided to the city from the state, to help with start-up costs for the facility.
As a halfway house, The Bobby Spurrier Center will serve as a transitional place for women who have completed treatment to gain some independence while receiving some professional assistance to slowly reintegrate back into their communities. Many times, a deciding factor for women entering treatment is the ability to stay connected with their children, which is what Gaudenzia offers in all of its programs for women with children. The Bobby Spurrier Center, like Gaudenzia’s other similar facilities, will provide women shelter, treatment support and a clean, safe place for their children to live, play and attend school.
As women receive treatment at the new center, Robert Spurrier hopes they will remember all of those who need help – and not to wait until it’s too late.
“Don’t wait until there’s a bad overdose that may complicate your light down the road,” he said. “Don’t wait to have a compromised immune system. Get the treatment that you need because you don’t know the damage that you’re doing to yourself for the future,” said Robert.
To learn more about Gaudenzia’s programs for women with children, visit www.gaudenzia.org. If you or someone close to you are in need of treatment, call Gaudenzia’s 24/7 Treatment and Recovery Helpline at 833-976-HELP (4357) or email [email protected].