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A Month for Mother’s Day
For this month’s newsletter, we wanted to focus on Mother’s Day! This is a special time of the year for paying recognition to the mothers in our lives, and spending just a day in celebration just wouldn’t do. MSH stands by the belief that: recovery from addiction, trauma, or incarceration does not stop someone from being an amazing mother. Women deserve an opportunity to rebuild their lives and connect with their families after facing unimaginable hardship. We are deeply thankful to be able to do our part in supporting this effort. As we celebrate this month devoted to the mothers in our lives, we wanted to spread awareness in an effort to shed light on the harsh difficulties that formerly incarcerated mothers face.
Incarceration is only the beginning to a barrage of setbacks. What follows is labeling, recovery from time lost with loved ones, and maddening efforts to reacquire independence. After being separated from the family, stability is of extreme importance in order to allow attention to be placed upon impacted children. Formerly incarcerated women are often unable to depend upon this stability, having a 7 times higher chance of facing homelessness after incarceration. This higher probability could be attributed to extensive criminal-record related barriers to housing and difficulties finding employment post-incarceration.
Waylaying women from the process of creating a home environment and barricading them from pursuing a positive future is not in accordance with the reformative objective of our justice system. The process of rebuilding cannot happen too soon. We believe in working towards a society where punishments are confined to the prison walls, where mothers seeking a future with their families are not continuing to face setbacks as they work to rebuild.
Fuel for Change
This Mother’s Day, nearly 150,000 incarcerated mothers were unable to spend time with their children or loved ones. 58% of all women in U.S prisons are mothers. The startling nature of these issues cannot go unwitnessed. Although we pride ourselves on our commitment to aiding women in recovery, it is vital that awareness continues to be spread.
We can all do our part in practicing mindfulness and in considering ways that we can promote a more inclusive community. Some of the dearest memories are attached to family and childhood. Each of these moments should be preserved, and as long as these issues continue, these moments will continue to fade away—unrealized.
Despite the jarring nature of these findings, this knowledge is fuel for change. As we continue to invest ourselves in this positive change, more mothers will be able to reunite with their families and enjoy a sense of security and peace.
-Val Brown, English Graduate Intern
- We have a full house of residents making significant progress in their healing and recovery. The need for our program remains great. Since the start of the new year we have received 122 referrals, with 88 of these referrals meeting our admission criteria.
- We had another resident GRADUATE and obtain safe housing.
- A resident celebrated ONE YEAR at MSH! Congratulations!
- Our staff and residents participated in the Stripes, Blue, and You Community Kickball Event and we even got a picture with the Benton County Sherriff’s Office kickball team!
Sophia, our Peer Recovery Specialist, and one of our residents volunteered to help folks at a recent Warrant Clinic at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
- Our Book Club finished “Where the Crawdad’s Sing” and look forward to seeing the movie together when it is released this summer.
Groupwork at MSH
This year Grace Rymel-Bloodworth, an Advanced MSW Student from the School of Social Work at the University of Arkansas, has been an integral member of our Program Team! She has led group, worked individually with residents, provided transportation, and helped tremendously with fundraising, development, and marketing. We are excited for her future as a social worker in the community and will miss her dearly. Check out this piece she wrote in the importance of group at Magdalene Serenity House!
Women who choose Magdalene Serenity House to recover from addiction and heal from trauma, complete their two-year program in three phases by participating in 15 hours of programming each week. These program requirements include three hours of a recovery group in the community, three hours of fitness/wellness, three hours of intentional self-care, four hours of groups offered at MSH, and two hours of recovery-related work (i.e. meeting with a sponsor or step work).
The groups offered at Magdalene vary from therapeutic, psychoeducational, and recovery-related type-groups. These groups give the residents the opportunity to learn new skills & tools for when dealing with difficult emotions, as many have avoided confronting their feelings in the past. Each group offers something new and expands their current ways of thinking. The subjects discussed can always connect back to how it relates to recovery and feelings of being triggered and overwhelmed.
In psychoeducational groups, the focus is on educating the group on a particular subject, as it relates to the women, and provides activities to practice implementing the new skills learned. Psychoeducation is an evidence-based treatment intervention that is utilized to help with mental illness while providing education on topics that can help reduce symptoms experienced (MJH Life Sciences, 2012). Just to name a few offered at Magdalene Serenity House, some of the psychoeducational groups have been over stress management, acceptance and commitment therapy, and understanding anxiety. When asked how effective the groups have been, one resident said, “They have been so helpful and have taught me so much about myself. When I first got to Magdalene, I hardly knew anything, and now I am constantly learning new tools to help me when I’m feeling stressed.”
Attending the various groups offered by the staff and community are an essential part of maintaining recovery. They help the women to build confidence and develop tools to implement in times of need. Sharing a space with individuals on the same journey can be a validating experience when talking about difficult things. That’s why it is more important than ever for groups such as psychoeducation to be implemented when journeying through the path of recovery.
-Grace Rymel-Bloodworth, MSH Intern
Happy Five Years to our Executive Director!
This month our Executive Director, April Bachrodt, celebrated FIVE years with Magdalene Serenity House. April was on the founding Board of MSH and fulfilled the Program Director role until January 2019 when she was promoted to Executive Director. Our residents shared a video and written messages to let April know the positive impact she has made in their lives. We are pleased to share a few.
“I could never repay for the life you’ve helped me build.”
“You are the best thing to ever happen to me and I would still be lost without you.”
“You are the glue that holds us all together.”
“Thank you for giving my life back to me.”
Congratulations, April, for ALL the HEALING you’ve made possible!
Open House for Community Partners
We enjoyed welcoming a few of our community partners for a presentation of our programs and tour of our beautiful property on May 26th. Visitors gained a better understanding of the significant barriers post-incarcerated women face with reentry into society and the ways our program sets them up for life-long healing, recovery, and financial self-sufficiency.
Thank you to our guests for attending and exploring ways we can build lasting partnerships to HEAL A COMMUNITY!
If you would like to schedule a private tour, please contact joy Morris at email@example.com.
This month we are featuring one of our incredible volunteers, Megan Strawn.
Megan recently moved from Austin, TX to Fayetteville to find a quieter pace of life and to reconnect with nature. She is a certified Pilates, Yoga and Gyrokinesis instructor as well as Trauma-informed Reiki Master. She has been in this line of work for 5 years and loves helping people reconnect with themselves and find safety in their body. In her free time, she enjoys meditation, walks, going to to the lake and loving on any dog she crosses paths with.
“I felt a connection with MSH because I am on my own recovery journey and I appreciate all the support that has been offered to me over the years and wanted to give back to the community. I have been leading a weekly yoga/movement class at MSH since January of this year. My favorite thing about volunteering is being able to hold space for others as well as offering insight the mind/body connections.”
Thank you being part of our healing community!
Interested in volunteering? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
NWA Playwright’s Festival Benefit
Join us as The Smokehouse Players and Arkansas Playwrights Workshop proudly present The NWA PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL!
The NWA Playwrights Festival, coming up June 14-19 at Ozark Mountain Smokehouse, will spotlight a series of staged readings featuring 21 actors and directors working on 14 different scripts by some of our finest local playwrights. There will be live pre-show music by local musicians before each performance!
Donations from this FREE event will benefit Magdalene Serenity House and will be matched! Thank you to Susie and Nathan McKinney for being Matching Donors. Your support will encourage the generosity of others! If you would like to join Susie and Nathan in offering a match challenge, please contact Joy Morris, Development Director, at email@example.com.
Save the Date for Rebuilding H.E.R.
Rebuilding H.E.R. will be Magdalene Serenity House’s first-annual signature event. Highlights will include celebrating the 5-year Birthday of Magdalene Serenity House, honoring our Founders, and recognizing the accomplishment of our Graduates in their healing and recovery journeys.
We are seeking Corporate Sponsors to help underwrite this event. YOUR Business can be included in the promotions as a partner. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Other Ways YOU can support the women of Magdalene Serenity House
1. Visit www.lovehealsnwa.org to make your one-time contribution or set up your monthly recurring contributions.
2. Start your shopping from the Amazon Smile and designate a percentage of your dollars spent to MSH.
3. Purchase items from our Amazon Wish List that our residents and graduates currently need and have them shipped directly to us.
4. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
5. Help us spread the word about how we are Healing a Community! Host us to be a presenter at your company or community group.
Fayetteville Junior Civic League – for selecting us as a 2022 grant recipient
The Chase Family Foundation for bras and undergarments for our residents and graduates.
KNWA for covering our Open House and providing a feature story.
The Staff Council at the U of A Walton Business College who built a new landscaping bed and planted flowers to help beautify our property for Spring.
The Perennial Garden Club for a generous donation to purchase supplies and plants for improving our grounds. We are enjoying our beautiful new scenery!
Northside Rotary Club for sponsoring us to participate in the Stripes, Blue and You community kick-ball tournament.
KUAF and Ozarks at Large for promoting the upcoming Playwrights Festival.
Tyson Foods for selecting us to participate in Give Fest 2022.
Mark Baber and Kevin Boote for completing several much needed handyman projects at MSH.
JP Shawndra Washington for purchasing several items from our Amazon Wish List to support our residents.