El Camino Seguro: Recovery Café Medford Paves the Way

[Editor’s note: Ricky Klausmeyer-Garcia served on the Recovery Café Network team from 2021 to 2023. Following Ricky’s passing in May of 2023, the Recovery Café Network created the Ricky Klausmeyer-Garcia Radical Hospitality and Inclusivity Award to honor Ricky and annually recognize a Café embodying the inclusivity and hospitality we all saw in Ricky. This piece starts with a brief introduction to Ricky and then celebrates Recovery Café Medford, which was honored at our recent Rendezvous 2024 conference as the inaugural winner of “Ricky’s award.”]

Ricky Klausmeyer-Garcia was born in Mexico and raised in Washington state with his immigrant parents and eight siblings. He was a first-generation graduate of Western Washington University and the University of Washington.

Ricky began struggling with substance use disorder as a young adult. Using his experience to guide him, he was a true advocate and helped pass “Ricky’s Law” in Washington in 2016 alongside his best friend, Representative Lauren Davis. The law allows for people with substance use disorders to be involuntarily committed to treatment if they are found to be gravely disabled or a danger to themselves or others. Because of “Ricky’s Law”, 961 people were treated for substance use disorder between October 2020 and September 2021, according to the Washington State Health Care Authority. 

Ricky, third from the right, with Rep. Lauren Davis to his left, along with members of the Recovery Café Network team on the steps of Washington’s capitol

In October 2021, Ricky began working at the Recovery Café Network and helped pioneer radical hospitality in our all Network spaces. His kindness and intentionality curated Tuesday morning’s Boost calls with Cafés across the Network into the meaningful space it is today. His passion for equity and inclusion was at the top of mind, leading to the start of our Commitment Coffee Hours—which serve as a Network-wide space to consider our Core Commitments through a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens. Ricky challenged us all to be better advocates and create more loving spaces.

Recovery Café Medford and the Ricky Klausmeyer-Garcia Award

Recovery Café Medford is emblematic of what it means to welcome everyone with radical hospitality. Medford takes a proactive approach to inclusivity by always pausing to ask: “What barriers are keeping people away?” and, “How can we address them?” This process is built into their operations and prioritized by their board, staff, and community members.

Stephanie Mendenhall (center right), Medford’s Executive Director, speaking during Rendezvous, flanked by members of the Recovery Café Medford team and Ricky’s family

In that spirit, the Medford team invested in their Spanish-speaking community by starting El Camino Seguro, a night of Spanish-only peer support that centers Latinx cultures at the Café. Their leaders—Rico Gutierrez, Stephanie Castañeda, and Jennifer Maudlin—understand that greeting newcomers with strong eye contact, a firm handshake, and a warm welcome in their native language is crucial for building trust, respect, and connection. 

Some of those involved in El Camino Seguro at Recovery Café Medford

Recovery Café Medford welcomes 255 individuals and holds 24 Recovery Circles per week; three of those Circles are El Camino Seguro. They host the only LGBTQIA+ recovery group in Medford, and are championing radical hospitality and inclusivity across Southwest Oregon’s recovery landscape. 

Medford’s Members share that they feel unconditionally loved, and that the unwavering support they receive from their peer mentors and Circles has been life-changing in their recovery journeys.

Congratulations to Recovery Café Medford!

Translated into English, “El Camino Seguro” means “the safe path.”

Read the inspiring story of how Recovery Café Medford began.