I knew Project Hope for Women & Children was a special place from the moment I first walked through the door one year ago. It is about more than addiction treatment and recovery; it is about hope.
Last winter, we celebrated the opening of Project Hope in a very public way. Several hundred of our closest friends, including community leaders, generous donors and recovery champions, stood behind Marshall Health and Huntington City Mission as we embarked on the first residential treatment facility of its kind in West Virginia. Amid new walls, paint and finishes, Project Hope for Women & Children welcomed its first family on Dec. 26, 2018.
We soon welcomed more mothers and their children into our care, and our intensive, person-centered programming, including individualized treatment, counseling, parenting, education and work plans, began to transform and build a very unique recovery community. Each family works toward what they specifically need to be successful. For some, that might mean getting back into a gym or finding a new church. Clients not only reside at Project Hope; they engage in a range of activities, including meal preparation and cooking classes, budgeting, family arts and crafts with community volunteers and self-care activities to celebrate new births and birthdays. They have also participated in recovery and suicide prevention events throughout the community.
I have worked in substance use and recovery for 13 years and won’t sugarcoat the journey toward long-term recovery. It is hard. It is even harder when you have children who depend and rely on you for their well-being, but that is one of the reasons it is so incredibly rewarding when our clients succeed. During our first year, seven women avoided incarceration, 12 families avoided displacement and three reunifications occurred for mothers who had previously lost custody of their children.
One year later, 25 families have found hope again. Eight women have graduated the program and maintain consistent follow-ups with our counseling team. Two of those women are enrolled in college courses. Twelve clients have secured employment and housing.
For me, our organization’s commitment to family and community is refreshing. I believe that this mindset has helped us build a team of social workers, recovery coaches, residential specialists and therapists at Project Hope who have embraced our clients as family. We have cried with them and celebrated with them. We have shown tough love and compassion. More than anything, though, our staff is empowering women to reach their full potential as mothers and teaching them how to integrate back into the community while maintaining long-term recovery.
The generosity of Huntington and our larger West Virginia community has been overwhelming. Thank you to all of our donors who have sponsored apartments and to The Health Plan, which sponsored the renovation of our playground and courtyard. Thank you to those who have hosted diaper drives, brought in meals, led craft nights and embraced this program as a vital part of our community.
Regardless of what addiction may have taken from you, it is my wish that hope drives you to keep going, keep striving, keep fighting and keep working toward recovery from addiction.
We look forward to helping more families find hope and healing at Project Hope for Women & Children in the year ahead.
For more information about Project Hope for Women & Children, please visit marshallhealth.org/projecthope or call 304-696-HOPE. For additional help getting started on the road to recovery, call PROACT at 304-696-8700 or HELP4WV at 1-844-HELP-4WV.