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Thanks to Lowell and Suzanne, MSH residents had delicious ham and turkey for Thanksgiving dinner! While some residents had to work on the holiday, others fixed a meal to share. To reflect on all of the things they are thankful for this holiday season, our residents created gratitude trees during our team building group.

Self-Care

It is time to start drafting those New Year’s Resolutions! Have you thought how you will address your self-care in the new year? One of the requirements of Magdalene House residents is they must include at least two hours of self-care in their week. Residents are responsible for documenting all of their hours on a weekly sheet that is due on Fridays. Since most of the residents are working full time, it is of utmost importance to develop a balanced lifestyle. Many of our residents are entering the workforce after having not worked for a period of time. In addition to developing new skills in the workplace they are also faced with the reality of having to budget, save, and plan for their futures. New coping skills for managing stress must be considered in order to maintain one’s equilibrium.

What is Self-Care?

Self-care is a deliberate act of doing something on a regular basis that will help you to maintain optimal mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health. Self-care is about enhancing your overall well-being. At Magdalene Serenity House we have some scheduled activities for residents that fulfill self-care requirements: yoga, meditation, poetry, morning circle, petting the cat, and random activities just for fun. Since everyone is different, not all residents engage in the same activities for self-care. Self-care should be scheduled or it will take a back seat to other commitments. The activities you chose should be something you enjoy and something that will help reduce stress in your life. For ideas on how to meet your self-care needs visit: https://www.buzzfeed.com/annaborges/self-care-tips-guide.

Fitness

In addition to requiring at least two hours of self-care a week, MSH residents must document two hours of fitness. Much like self-care, fitness activities are individualized for each resident. We are fortunate to live in a safe, walkable neighborhood near Wilson Park. A loop around the park is about 1 mile. Residents are also provided membership to Club Haus Fitness where they work with a personal trainer. Yoga and zumba classes are also provided by volunteers. Like self-care, many of us find excuses for not taking time for fitness. Staff at MSH hope to embed self-care and fitness in to life-long routines for residents.

A Week in the Life

Each week residents submit a weekly time sheet to account for their activities throughout the week. Each phase of the program outlines requirements of residents such as how many peer support groups one must attend, fitness and self-care hours and group hours. During the week, residents meet with a staff member or social work intern to review their time sheets and treatment plans to assure compliance with program guidelines. Residents who work full time are required to attend 3-5 peer support groups each week, two hours of fitness, two hours of self-care, and three hours of group. MSH staff try to arrange program activities throughout the week to meet the varying schedules of residents. Residents are also encouraged to attend groups off site. Meeting the program requirements can be challenging as residents’ work schedules often change and one resident works night shift. In addition to work and program hours, residents are responsible for household chores, shopping, meal preparation, and laundry. Welcome to the real world! While this schedule may not seem different than most people manage, it may be the first time some residents have experienced this type of regimented routine.

Recognition of Magdalene Serenity House

Magdalene is grateful to be the recipient of two awards this month. We were chosen to be one of Underwood’s Fine Jewelers 2018 Fab Fives. This honor comes with a $1,000 to support programming and to help us meet residents’ needs. We also have been approved for funding from the Junior Civic League to support our Matched Savings Program. Lastly, we received a $2,000 award from the Bikes, Blues, and BBQ fund. These funds will be used to finish out our visitation suite and to purchase items for residents’ children to use when they visit their mothers. We are grateful to be part of such a generous community!

Giving Season

Each woman at Magdalene has a story. They have a past, present, and are working towards a bright future. Your donations support this life-changing program and help our women achieve their goals as they work toward graduation and beyond. Our year-end goal is to raise $40,000 to finish this year strong and celebrate all of we have accomplished. Please consider Magdalene Serenity House during the giving season. A gift of any size makes a significant difference in the lives of our residents and their healing journey. You can mail a donation to P.O. Box 3394 Fayetteville, AR 72702 or donate directly on our website at www.lovehealsnwa.org. Interested in volunteering? Contact liz@lovehealsnwa.org

Sophia’s Story

Sophia, one of our residents, wants to share part of her story with you:

“I’ve had an addictive personality for as long as I can remember. I led a lifestyle of substance abuse, manipulation, and pain. After my fourth trip to prison, I knew that I had to try something different. Magdalene presented itself to me at my very lowest and most desperate point. I got much more than a home when I came to Magdalene, I learned a whole new way to live. Since being at Magdalene I have obtained a full-time job at Lifestyles Inc. where I teach art and life skills to adults with disabilities. I have rebuilt my relationship with my family and my 10-year old son. Our relationship is the best it has ever been. Through Magdalene I have learned the importance of saving money and recently purchased a new car. I volunteer at 7Hills, the Animal Shelter, Beautiful Lives Boutique, and with Compassion Fayetteville. I actually do service work for fun!”

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