In the past year Magdalene Serenity House adopted a new logo. The logo depicts two mountains with a valley in between. At the bottom of the second mountain is a star. For many of the residents entering our program, the mountains are at first quite overwhelming. Before they can reach the summit, women have to complete several hurdles: obtaining benefits and identification, accessing physical and mental health resources, learning about sober living, and how to maintain sobriety. Remember when your grandmother/grandfather told you they had to walk to school in the bitter cold and it was uphill both ways? That is how the residents feel sometimes.
We have to be cognizant of making sure that success is measured incrementally. The star at the bottom of the second mountain may represent completion of the two year program. When you are starting at the foot of the first mountain, that seems unfathomable, unachievable. It is helpful when you have met someone (a sister for life) who has successfully completed the journey and now stands in the glow of the star. We have a new graduate of the program this month. She has completed her goals and has moved into her home. She plans to regain custody of her 7 year-old children. Very generous volunteers have helped her restore her home after it had been vandalized. This graduate has worked two jobs and is a model for new residents.
While enjoying the success of our graduates,it is also helpful if residents can see success along the way, although it can be difficult to focus on the present when you are eager to start a new life. Each morning at MSH staff and residents meet in Circle where we light a candle. The candle is a light beckoning those still in addiction to seek recovery. We also recognize the residents, staff, and volunteers who are working together on the road to recovery. The opening may vary depending on the circumstances of the day but the ending is always the same, “all though we are on different paths, we are on this journey together.”
The new logo certainly depicts this journey with It’s peaks and valleys. There are days that it appears a resident doesn’t have a strong foothold and may be sliding backwards. Since we are on this journey together, there will be someone to give her a hand as she continues to climb. Knowing that everyone is on the same journey (in the same boat) is very reassuring to residents.
This month we celebrated our second graduate, Heather, from Magdalene Serenity House! During her time in our program Heather became a natural leader and mentor to new women in our program. She was able to reunite with all four of her children and became a grandma while at MSH. She is currently working full-time at the Double Tree Hotel in Bentonville and also works part-time at Phoenix Recovery in Springdale with men in recovery. Several volunteers worked tirelessly to help Heather get her house ready and other generous folks, including Generations Bank, helped her obtain many of the items she needed to prepare her house for herself and her children. We are grateful that Heather will be a Sister For Life at MSH and are incredibly proud of all she has accomplished in the last two years!
This month we welcomed Sophia, our first graduate, to the MSH Team as a Resident Support Specialist. She will be providing one-on-one support to residents in their recovery and facilitating programming. We are thrilled to have her on our team!
“I am excited to start this new journey with Magdalene House! After years of substance abuse and numerous trips to prison, I found a home here in 2018. With support from staff and my new Fayetteville community, I was able to turn my life around. I put in the work; participating in groups, engaging in my 12 step program, developing a new attitude, and by changing unhealthy behaviors. Shortly after entering phase 2, I found meaningful employment with local non-profit, Lifestyles inc. Working as a teacher with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, I continued to grow and progress in my recovery. I absolutely loved my job. After two years of teaching, I decided that I needed to pursue other opportunities so that I could better take care of my family. I had graduated from the MSH program and moved into my own apartment with my 11 year old son, Skyler. Looking for work was difficult with my delinquent history. Being presented with a position at MSH is an absolute dream come true. In this setting, I will be able to share my experiences in a way that will benefit others. I have a passion for recovery and aim to devote my time and energy to supporting people who are trying to better themselves. This is an opportunity to serve ladies who are coming from that dark place that I know so well. In all actuality, they will really be helping me, just as much as I am helping them, and for that, I am grateful.”
Resident Success Story
“My biggest success is the simple fact that I have now been sober for 19 months and one of those has been clean time on the outside now that I’ve spent time here at Magdalene. The last couple times that I’ve gotten out of prison which is been three times prior to this… I never made it even 24 hours. So being here and in a place where I’m truly loved by staff and volunteers where I am not an inconvenience and where I’ve found a way to implement my daily inventory that I have to do to maintain sobriety, time for my spirituality, and just enjoying life this new path in life and the fact I am committed to it is my current success.”
- We remain at full-capacity and are receiving referrals daily.
- We had one resident move into Phase Two of our program. She is currently looking for employment. Have any leads? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We have three residents working on their Phase Two portfolios.
- We have new programming at the house. We started a Theater/Arts Group and have a Music Therapist providing a weekly group.
- Our residents have been participating in a weekly quilting group with one of our volunteers.
- Our next resident will be released from prison on January 31. You can help us welcome her home by purchasing an item off our wish list. We are in high need of the laundry basket and soft blanket.
“Volunteering with MSH has been very impactful to me. Working with these wonderful girls to help them reach their goals and achieve their dreams has been inspiring to me to chase after my own dreams. I love everything MSH stands for , and I’m thankful to be a part of their volunteer team.” – Hayley Fill
Want to get involved with MSH? We are always in need of folks to help drive our residents to appointments and work. Get involved today!
A Big Thank You!
2019 came to a close with so much to be grateful for here at MSH! Throughout most of December, local business owners, Hannah Withers and James Gitchel, hosted the pop-up bar Holidaze, located on Center Street in Fayetteville. Holidaze donated 25% of its proceeds to MSH during December and in total, MSH received $10,785! Thank you Hannah and James, your generosity will make a huge difference in 2020 for MSH!
Another huge thank you to Generations Bank for gathering household items for our most recent graduate. Nothing says ‘Happy Holidays’ like having everything you need to move into your own house after successfully completing a rigorous two-year program at MSH.
Last but not least, thank you to all of our incredibly generous year-end supporters. With your help, we raised almost $30,000. We are so grateful for a community of supporters and thankful to be able to continue to provide services for women in NWA through 2020.