You can read the full version of our February newsletter here.
“I Am Not My Past”
I am not my past
I wonder how long these memories will last
I hear my future calling me
I see the person I can be
I want you all to know
I am more than what I’ve shown
I pretend no more, I simply grow
I feel God’s Love, He is no foe
I touch on my past, to see the improvement
I worry no longer; God brings me the solution
I cry out HIS name, whenever He’s needed
I am one with HIM so I’ve succeeded
I understand the name I was given
I say it aloud for I was forgiven
I dream of a me, happy and clean
I try it alone, but now we’re a team
I hope, no I know, that this will last
I am not my past
-Anna, MSH Resident
Family reunification is a core part of our program at MSH. “Research has found that prisoners who maintain close contact with their family members while incarcerated have lower recidivism rates. But for formerly incarcerated mothers, rebuilding relationships with their children can be incredibly challenging after they serve time behind bars.” We encourage each of our supports to watch this short PBS News Hour video and learn more about the unique challenges incarcerated women face once they are released from prison.
When you are finished with the video, check out the stories below to see how two of our residents have navigated motherhood and recovery while at MSH!
Being a mother has given me a good reason to become a better person and recover from substance abuse. Now I can be a good example of overcoming obstacles and getting through hard times. Being at MSH has helped me sort out and deal with every aspect of my life including my physical health, job, budgeting, hobbies, mental health, coping skills, support, legal issues, and self-esteem to pave the way to become a mother again. My favorite part about being a mom is becoming a better person, leading by example, and being there for my kids when they need me. My future as a mom looks like a challenge, but also doable, and full of love.
-Shannon, Senior Resident
Being a mom is what makes every hard thing I have been through worth it. Without MSH I would not have been able to reconnect with my children like I did. This is where I struggled the most with trying to get sober before was not having the support I needed to reconnect with my children. Without MSH I would not be where I am today. My favorite part about being a mom is EVERYTHING. To see my kids face light up and see how happy they are with the smallest things…to the major things in life. I am able to have my youngest daughter live with me now. To see how much that excites her makes my heart so happy! My future as a mother looks like being a mom to my kids and to doing things with them that I didn’t do before, like taking them on vacations and the things they enjoy doing. I will always be there for them no matter what and will always be the best mom I can be!
Raegin, MSH Senior Resident
- Our residents and staff remain safe and healthy. We are thankful to be able to continue serving women who have experienced trauma, addiction, and incarceration during this difficult time.
- One of our new residents completed her first 90 days and passed her Phase Two Portfolio. Congratulations!
- One of our residents is starting CNA training this week, while another resident is finishing up her certification for pilates coaching!
- One of our residents has been awarded full-custody of her 11-year old daughter. They will be moving into our Aftercare House until they can find a safe, affordable apartment.
- Our residents volunteer at St. James Church on Tuesdays filling food boxes for our neighbors in need. One of our residents stated “I get more joy and happiness out of giving to others”. We are grateful to serve a community that has given so generously to MSH!
- Did you know that interested folks can download our application online? Folks can also apply for admission over the phone by calling 479-301-2326.
- Want to support our residents? We keep an up-to-date list of current needs on our Amazon Wish List. Check it out today!
Board Member Spotlight
Brooke Smith joined the Board of Magdalene Serenity House in August 2020. She is the public defender for the Washington/Madison County Drug Court Program. She has been practicing law since 2016.
Brooke started volunteering in 2018 for Magdalene Serenity House because she believes the organization brings an important resource to women in the community. Brooke joined the Board because she wanted to use the knowledge she has gained throughout her career to bring a new perspective to the Board. Brooke wants to be a part of the entire integration of services that Magdalene has to offer and further empower the women Magdalene serves. Brooke has worked with hundreds of women in the community on issues concerning criminal charges, domestic violence, housing insecurity, and securing substance use treatment. She is well versed in the barriers to successful recovery and enjoys using that knowledge to be supportive of the success of the women at Magdalene. Brooke brings a unique understanding of the trauma and legal challenges that the women face as a member of our Board.
Brooke is passionate about helping women recover from trauma, substance use, and incarceration in both her professional and personal lives. She also serves on the Board of Northwest Arkansas Continuum of Care, whose mission is to coordinate a community response to end homelessness in NWA.
Thank you Brooke for your dedicated service to our MSH Community!
New Intern Spotlight
Hello! My name is Angelena Pierce, and I am currently working on my master’s degree in English with a specialization in Medieval Literature (at the University of Arkansas, of course). I have joined the Magdalene House team as a communications intern this semester, and, despite my educational background, it’s difficult to put into words just how excited I am to be involved in this positive and life-changing program. As soon as I heard about this organization and how they were helping women in the NWA community, I knew I had to come on board. I’ve always been very passionate about activism and a staunch believer in the importance of neighbors helping neighbors.
Originally, I am from Southern Indiana and am, to this day, a proud Hoosier. Before coming to Arkansas last year, I completed my bachelor’s degree in English literature at Hanover College. It was there that I became very involved in local activism and politics and in community organizing. I am so grateful to have this new and lovely community to be a part of. It is my hope that, through engagement and the power of words, perspectives can always be changed for the better. I hope to help encourage people to recognize the goodness and potential inherent in everyone, regardless of where they’ve come from or what hardships they’ve endured.
This month we received a lot of items off our Amazon Wish List! Alpha Chi Omega hosted a donation drive for MSH and many other generous supporters sent much needed household items tool! We are most grateful for the support of our MSH community. We could not do this life changing work without you!
How to Help
Here are several warm and contactless ways to give back to MSH!
- Become a monthly donor. Every dollar helps us continue to rebuild lives and reunify families. Sign up for a monthly gift today!
- Purchase an item off our Amazon Wish List. We keep our list up-to-date with current resident needs. Every item goes directly to supporting our residents on their healing journey.
- Follow us on social media. Sharing and liking our posts helps us gain more visibility in the larger community. Please spread the word so folks can learn more about our free, long-term, comprehensive program. You can now find us on Twitter with the handle @maghousenwa!