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Recovery Idol was founded in 2011 to showcase the talent of persons in recovery. A city agency – The Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability; a recovery community organization – Pennsylvania Recovery Organization-Achieving Community Together (PRO-ACT); and a citywide coalition – the Philadelphia Recovery Coalition (PRC); came together and partnered to host the first Recovery Idol. The partners planned the competition, including identifying several locations around the city to hold several rounds of auditions and competitions. The final competition took place at the Dell Music Center in August. The winner received a trophy, cash prize, and an opportunity to perform before thousands of people. A similar process has been carried on annually since that time. In 2019, The Pennsylvania Alliance of Recovery Residences (PARR) became the lead agency for the project, and assumed the administrative and managerial responsibilities.

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