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Welcome to Holland

This poignant story was written by a mother of a child with autism. She describes how she was not prepared for the experience. She likened it to preparing for a trip to Italy and after landing finding out she was in Holland. She finds the new destination is not a horrible place, it is just different. The women coming to Magdalene Serenity House often experience similar feelings. “This is not how I saw my life turning out.” How many people ever plan on trauma, addiction, or incarceration in their futures?

Women at MSH did not plan on a life where they lost custody and contact with their children and their families. Nor did they plan on arriving with little more than the clothes on their backs. They have no identification and therefore no access to benefits such as insurance and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Without identification they can’t open a bank account or get a driver’s license. They may as well be in Italy! Like most women, our residents prepared for a career, marriage, and motherhood. Somewhere along the way their paths led to trauma and addiction. While most were not prepared for this destination, some did have a hint that they would end up in that life. They may have grown up in a family with substance use and trauma. They knew the life of addiction and trauma from an early age and while familiar with that destination, they would not have chosen it.

Emily Perl Kingsley explains how she addressed her change of destination:

“You go out and buy some new guidebooks, you learn
some new phrases, and you meet people you never
knew existed. The important thing is that you are not
in a bad place filled with despair. You’re simply in a different
place than you had planned.”

This is MSH for some residents. They have to learn a new language and meet new people. Many are hesitant at first. This is not what they planned. Nonetheless, they have very experienced guides in this new destination. The guides help them with the language of recovery, self-love, and gratitude. The guides make sure they have their basic needs met as well as the feeling of safety and healing. It is a “different” place than the residents had planned to be in their lives but it is not a place filled with despair but rather one filled with hope and support.

The author finishes her analogy by reminding people they can still think about what it would have been like to visit Italy but not to dwell on what could have been and miss the opportunity to enjoy Holland. MSH residents are thankful they came to Holland and have met some amazing people throughout the journey toward healing and recovery.

MSH Wish List

This year we will be welcoming new residents to Magdalene Serenity House. We anticipate having two new residents by the end of May. We are so excited to welcome them home to begin their healing journey. We have created a Wish List of common items for the household and for the welcome basket we provide to each new resident. Many of our residents come out of prison with nothing and a beautiful welcome basket gives them hope for the future. If you have any questions about our Wish List please contact april@lovehealsnwa.org.

Link to Wish List: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/3H5VE0EB9GCQX?ref_=wl_share

Thank You from Sophia

Our first graduate, Sophia, has successfully moved into her new apartment and wanted to extend a personal thank you to all who helped her make her apartment a home. Sophia’s son will be joining her in early June and cannot wait to live with his mom in Fayetteville.

“Let’s be honest… The prospect of moving into my new place and furnishing it was a little terrifying! Thank God I have a terrific team and community behind me. I’m feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude today. My home is really coming together and I have friends, family and even strangers to thank. Thanks you all. I appreciate you, your energy, support and efforts in this huge step forward”.

Resident Accomplishments

  • Sophia has graduated and successfully moved into her new apartment!
  • One of our new residents celebrated 4 months clean and sober!
  • One of our residents obtained a new job working at Phoenix Recovery Center in Springdale.
  • One of our residents started classes to obtain her GED!
  • All of our residents remain dedicated to their recovery and healing. We are so proud of each of them and all the hard work they do each day to achieve their goals.

Executive Director Profile

Did you know our Executive Director was featured in the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette? You can read the piece by clicking on this link: https://www.nwaonline.com/news/2019/may/19/april-bachrodt-20190519/

Smart Recovery

Staff have completed training for facilitating SMART Recovery meetings at MSH and in the community. SMART stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training and offers an additional approach to substance use recovery. We understand that there is not one program that meets the needs of all residents. Providing SMART Recovery curriculum will give residents an additional tool to maintain a sober lifestyle. Our staff are always pursuing additional professional development opportunities to strengthen our knowledge of the recovery and healing process.

Volunteer Spotlight

Brooke Smith is a criminal defense attorney in Fayetteville. She has lived in Northwest Arkansas since 2013 and has been practicing law for three years. She chose to volunteer at Magdalene Serenity House because she believes the organization brings a unique resource to women in the community. Brooke is passionate about helping women recover from trauma, addiction, and incarceration in both her professional and personal lives. Brooke often drives our ladies to evening AA meetings, work, and appointments. Her legal background has also been a big help for some of our residents and her overall compassion is immeasurable.

Are you interested in volunteering with Magdalene? We are currently in need of drivers to assist our residents to work, appointments, and meetings. Please e-mail Liz@lovehealsnwa.org for more information.

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