Meet Our Rage Team – October 2020


Meet Our Rage Team

The Rage Against Addiction (RAA) organization has a dedicated and compassionate team working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that we “provide awareness and support to anyone affected by drug and alcohol abuse.” Founded by Wendy Messner (Executive Director) in 2014, RAA has helped numerous men and women in and around Harford County, MD find substance abuse treatment and resources either through our own two sober living houses or through our community networks. RAA has supported many families with the struggles of addiction by the creation of our online grief support group (HALO – How to Live Without Your Addicted Loved One) and by the formation of Rage Club, a program that provides positive coping skills, counseled discussions, and fun activities designed for children ages eight to fifteen who have been impacted

by addiction. RAA has also hosted several area outreach events, including our own 5K fundraising Memory Walks / Recovery Runs, speaking engagements at local colleges, and community Paint Nights and restaurant benefits. We couldn’t do this without the help of the following people:

Rachel Bongiorno:

How and why did you become involved with Rage Against Addiction?
“I became involved with RAA because I wanted to help people just like me.” 

Has addiction impacted your life?
“Yes. I am an addict in recovery. I struggled for 18 years with addiction.” 

What are some of the things you do for RAA?
“I am the Program Director for Daughter’s House and Sister House (our two sober living houses in Harford County, MD).  I assist with fundraising and sober living funding. I help people find the treatment or sober living housing and I share my experiences, strength, and hope with individuals that need help or who are struggling.” 

  What do you want to say to those still struggling with addiction? To those in recovery? To those family members who feel lost?

“There is hope. Don’t give up on us. There is a better way to live. If I can do it, so can you. Don’t leave five minutes before the miracle happens!”  

What has been your favorite thing you’ve done with RAA so far?
“I have turned my pain into purpose to help individuals just like me. I love helping people and giving back what was so freely given to me. There is something powerful about the RAA Memory Walk / Recovery Run. We show up and give our support for those in recovery and those who have lost the battle. It’s surreal how many people come to the event and there is something so powerful about that day!” 

What are some of your favorite things to do?
“I love nature, the beach, and the mountains. I connect with something bigger than me and I get a spiritual sense of peace while in these settings.  Beauty is all around us.”

Mia Ellis:

How and why did you become involved with Rage Against Addiction?
“I wanted to be a part of all of the hard work Rage does in the community. I’ve seen it first-hand, even prior to me becoming involved. The women of Rage helped our family in many ways when my sister was in active addiction. They offered her transportation to and from rehabilitation centers and provided her with encouragement, patience, and resources. After her passing in March 2018, the team continued to support our family. I came on board in November 2019 after realizing I needed to do something positive with my profound sadness and grief.” 

Has addiction impacted your life?
“My sister battled addiction for almost half her life, and it really devastated my family.”

What are some of the things you do for RAA?
“I began as the Newsletter Writer and branched off into assisting with administrative duties, fundraising opportunities, and event planning. Stay tuned to see what’s coming!” 

What do you want to say to those still struggling in addiction? To those in recovery? To those family members who feel lost?
“No matter where you are, whether you’re struggling with addiction or grief, don’t let it control you. Find a positive outlet. Pray. Ask for help. Remember that life is tough but so are you.” 

What has been your favorite thing you’ve done with RAA so far?
“I really like writing and being creative so I enjoy researching for and writing the newsletter as well as coming up with advertisements, events, and fundraising ideas. I love to talk to people and I’ve met some really amazing individuals in recovery, and at our events and in our sober living houses.” 

What are some of your favorite things to do?
“I enjoy my morning cup of coffee, reading non-fiction books to try to figure out why people do what they do, and sitting at the beach or a campsite by myself. I love watching movies and walking on trails with my husband. My six-a-half-year-old and my almost-nine-year-old keep me busy but they also give me so much love, laughter, and fun. I love hanging outside with them.”

Tara Kuzma:

How and why did you become involved with Rage Against Addiction?
“I met Wendy through a mutual friend after my cousin Johnny passed away from an overdose. I wanted to find a way to help those who suffer from addiction. I was deeply impacted by my Johnny’s death; it was very unexpected and I did not want anyone else to feel that pain of losing a family member the way my family did.”

Has addiction impacted your life?
“I personally have never struggled with addiction. I have many friends who have and a few family members too.”

What are some things you do to help RAA?
“I help with fundraisers and community events. I am on the Board of Directors.”

What do you want to say to those still struggling with addiction? To those in recovery? To those family members who feel lost?
“You can beat addiction! Don’t give up! I’ve seen the ugly side and I’ve seen the most beautiful recoveries! I have a cousin who I was able to help get into recovery. Watching his new life sober and clean is nothing short of amazing! 

What has been your favorite thing to do for RAA?
“The events! RAA is an amazing support. I love meeting and talking to everyone who comes out to our events. I enjoy hearing their stories and listening to why they come out to be a part of our RAA family.”

What are some of your favorite things to do?
“In my spare time, I enjoy running, hiking, and spending time with my family, and when possible, reading a good book.”

Other team participants include Board Member Amanda Buddenbohn who assists with our fundraising efforts and events, the Rage After Baby Care (ABC) program which provides post-partum care packages for mothers and babies, and Project Family Christmas Kids which provides a few gifts to kids affected by addiction.

Sarah Hoover manages our Rage Club program and also volunteers at events and fundraisers, and her son Michael dresses up as a lion and proudly serves as the official Rage Against Addiction mascot.

Many other people have been involved along the way as Rage Against Addiction has grown over the years. We could not do this without the incredible following and generosity of those who truly care about the negative ripple effects addiction has in our society and who want to help us make a difference in our communities.



We Do Recover
Darren C. W.

I’m about 37 days into sobriety as I write this and I pray to be farther into it by the time this is published. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with alcohol. It’s “helped” me through my teenage trauma but has also left me almost dead. It’s ruined friendships and family relationships. I’ve tried rehabs and NA meetings, but I walked out of both. My father was an alcoholic and I’ve seen the damage it’s caused him and our family. It’s aged him about 20 years. He is currently not involved with my life and I’m fine with that.

What is different about this time, you ask? I’ve asked myself the same thing every morning since my last car accident which was the last day I drank. I totalled my car, broke my arm, and lost my job. I decided that day that I had enough. Enough lying and sneaking out, and ruining my life and the lives of my mom and brother. I recently finished rehab but this time I stayed the whole time. I didn’t leave. I’m hooked up with a sponsor and have attended a few NA meetings with my mom. I went to church for the first time in 2 years. And I was welcomed there with open arms and a lot of prayers. 

I know this new road won’t be easy. My sponsor has told me this many times. I’ve researched what this road will be like but by the grace of God and the unconditional love of my family, I plan to move forward. I want to look healthy (I look a mess which is why I’m not sharing a photograph of myself!) and I want to feel healthy. I want to gain control of my life again. I am only 20 years old. I can’t continue to drink away my pain.

If you’re reading this, please say a prayer for me. Ask God for patience and strength. Please pray for my mom. I have put her through a lot and she didn’t deserve any of it but she has stuck by me. Please pray for my dad, wherever he is. He’s been a heavy drinker since before I was born. I know change is hard for him (or anyone) and even though I have not seen him in a long time, I love him and want the best for him. 

Sincerely, Darren W. from York, PA


Community Resources

​*Please be aware that some policies, locations, programs, and contact information have changed due to COVID-19 protocols.*

Ashley Addiction Treatment: An inpatient treatment center that personalizes clinical programs based on individual need. Located in Havre De Grace, MD. Please visit here or call 800-799-4673 for information about online and in-person meeting services.

Celebrate Recovery: A local support group for those with addictive behaviors. Located in Bel Air, MD and Joppa, MD. *Online meetings are still available.*

  • Mt. Zion Church in Bel Air, MD: Contact for more information about online meetings.
  • Mountain Christian Church in Joppa, MD: Please register here to join. *Please check out the updated information regarding meeting details.*

Daniel Carl Torsch Foundation: A non-profit organization that provides drug overdose awareness and prevention, and offers Naxolone training. Located in Timonium, MD. Please visit here or call 443-554-6150 for more information.

GRASP (Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing): A local support group for those who have lost someone to addiction. 

  • 7:00pm on the 2nd Wednesday of each month. *Please wear a mask and practice social distancing.*
  • Located in the Education Building at Mt. Zion Church – 1643 Churchville Road, Bel Air, MD 21015
  • Contact for more information.
  • The private national Facebook group is available. Please visit here to ask to join.

The Klein Family Harford Crisis Center: A clinic that provides immediate care for mental health and addiction. Located in Bel Air, MD. Please visit here or call 410-874-0711 for information about online and in-person meeting services.

Loving An Addict: A local support group for family and friends of those in active addiction.  

  • 7:00pm every Saturday. *Please wear a mask and practice social distancing.*
  • Located in the Education Building at Mt. Zion Church – 1643 Churchville Road, Bel Air, MD 21015
  • Contact for more information.

​​​​​We serve locally but think globally. For counseling, or for addiction, substance abuse disorder, or mental illness treatment, please contact your area’s health department, county government, hospital, or law enforcement agency.



Get Involved

Rage Against Addiction is happy to present our first ever Virtual Auction. Please check out what we have in store for you here:

Christmas is approaching and many of these items would make thoughtful gifts, or perhaps you’ll consider keeping them for yourself instead? Whatever you decide, please know we appreciate your support and generosity.

Rage Against Addiction Programs

Daughter’s House: A program that includes two sober living houses (Daughter’s House and Sister House) located in the suburbs of Harford County, MD that is designed to assist women who are transitioning from substance abuse treatment. Click here to visit the Facebook page.

HALO (How to Live Without Our Addicted Loved One): An online grief support group. Click here to ask to join the private Facebook page.

RAA ABC (After Baby Care): A program that provides newborn-care items to mothers in recovery. Please send monetary donations to:

Rage Against Addiction (Rage ABC)
P.O. Box 1
Forest Hill, MD 21050

Rage Club: A program offered for children who are touched by substance abuse disorder. Click here for more information.

Rage Against Addiction

Board Members
Wendy Beck Messner
Founder and Executive Director

Amanda Buddenbohn
Board Member and Rage After Baby Care services

Tara Kuzma
Chairman of the Board of Directors

Rachel Bongiorno
Recovery Coach and Daughter’s House Program Director

Rage Against Addiction Team Members
Sarah Hoover:
Rage Club event coordinator and volunteer​

Michael Nesline:
Rage Club mascot

Mia Ellis:
Newsletter Writer, and Events and Fundraiser Administrator