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The Story of John Rocco


“I think it’s important that anyone that’s gone through anything in their life – talk to people, tell them what you’ve been through, because it’s only through education that we can get rid of stigma.” — John Rocco

OC87 Recovery Diaries and Philadelphia public television station WHYY teamed up with groups from four area mental health providers to create original short films that detail journeys of recovery and transformation. The first time filmmakers were in charge of shooting, editing and structuring the video.

We are thrilled to present the third of the four projects, The Story of John Rocco, directed and edited by Angelo Colon and John Rocco. Angelo and John are coworkers at NorthEast Treatment Centers (NET), a behavioral health and social service agency that offers a range of mental health, addiction, foster care, community-based, residential, and in-home social services to adults, adolescents, children and families.

The Story of John Rocco is John’s personal and emotional story of recovery in action. In the film, he describes his life-challenging battles with low self-esteem, mental health issues, and drug addiction.

Next up is the OC87 Recovery Diaries behind the scenes interview with OC87 Recovery Diaries Interview with John Rocco & Angelo Colon, the creators of the above video.

“I’m recovering from 28 years of addiction, I also suffer from major depression and ADHD. I’ve been in recovery for five years. I’m also a 29-year survivor of HIV. If I can come out of 28 years of addiction and prison, you can do it too.– John Rocco

Readying for a critique – the whole

Readying for a critique – the whole “I AM A VOICE HERE” group screens a rough cut of Angelo and Rocco’s video.

Despite his many stumbles and challenges, including incarceration and an HIV diagnosis, The Story of John Rocco is a hopeful tale. What emerges is a portrait of a feisty and inspiring man who finds strength helping others, and dedicates his life to tackling stigma.

John Rocco and Angelo Colon

John Rocco and Angelo Colon

“Angelo and I have worked together for five years, and we’re probably closer now than we’ve ever been. He knows more about me than anyone else, and I guess once people see my portion of this documentary, they’ll know more about me.” — John Rocco

The team tries a tripod, John Rocco and Angelo Colon edit their video

The team tries a tripod, John Rocco and Angelo Colon edit their video

“There are a lot of people out there that need to share their story. There are a lot of people who have gone through things that maybe I haven’t and I could learn from them still. I still learn everyday when I talk to people about something new.” — John Rocco

John Rocco gives the camera a try, John Rocco at home on the video monitor

John Rocco gives the camera a try, John Rocco at home on the video monitor

“I’m just here for the information to get as much of the information as I can, and maybe possibly, we can open something at our own facility to teach kids, cause the kids are very interested, especially in technology.” — Angelo Colon

Angelo Colon tries out camera on his subject, colleague and friend John Rocco

Angelo Colon tries out camera on his subject, colleague and friend John Rocco

Be sure to watch the other I AM A VOICE HERE videos!

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WHYY & OC87 Recovery Diaries

OC87 Recovery Diaries and public television station WHYY have collaborated to team up with first-time filmmakers to create a new series of videos that tell inspiring journeys of recovery. A special thanks to WHYY’s Craig Santoro, Director of Media Instruction, Lisa Wilk (2015), Sarah Milinski, and Steve Dixon, Media Instructors at the Dorrance H. Hamilton Public Media Commons at WHYY for their technical and storytelling support; and to WHYY behavioral health reporter Maiken Scott for giving her support and a workshop on interviewing techniques. OC87 co-director and documentary filmmaker Glenn Holsten is the project facilitator. Bud Clayman is executive producer of the project. Follow this link to watch all of the videos in this series >

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  1. B

    One day at a time..You have travelled for and still have a wayyyyyyy to go, you have done an amazing job, and you will continue to do so God speed..
    Stay well, and know you loved and prayed for.
    Life is a mission, your mission, and we just got to keep forward. Don’t look back, only for notes..and teach whatever you know. As a person in recovery, and once a law enforcement officer, Trust me, life is going just as God has planned, keep up the good work._/_

    Dump the excess..

    • OC87 Recovery Diaries

      Thanks for the inspiring words, B!

  2. Arah cooper

    The stories being told is outstanding and the music is excellent.

    • Arah cooper

      I looked at all the stories they are very touching. I think they will reach a lot of people and give them understanding. And let them know we are important people too.

  3. Robinell Allen


    • OC87 Recovery Diaries

      Thank You Robinell Allen!

  4. Robinell Allen


  5. Richard Dickison

    You look good mom! You still have the biggest shoulders I have ever leaned on. You are also the best cook I ever met! You were there for me no matter what shit you were dealing with personally and I will always remember that you truly cared about other people no matter what.
    Love Dickie

  6. Santiago

    Is there anything like restitution or apology for past grievances that goes along with recovery ?