Appreciating the Importance of Recovery

b2ap3_thumbnail_RM-2015-Logos-343x94September is National Recovery Month, a time to raise awareness of the positive impact support services and treatment can have on those suffering from addiction or mental health disorders. National Recovery Month began in 1989 as Treatment Works! Month, a way to honor the efforts of treatment professionals who support and guide those working through addiction on their journey to recovery. Today National Recovery Month has evolved to include mental illness and encourage us to raise awareness and educate ourselves on the need for strong programs and resources for those in need in our communities.

Here at The Women’s Home, Recovery Month reminds us of the importance of the work we do to ensure we’re always providing programs informed by best practices and the latest research on recovery and wellness. The foundation of all our services, the WholeLife® Program, was developed using the latest research on successful long term recovery and encompasses all aspects of a person’s wellbeing. This complete support of mind, body and spirit would not be possible without the support and collaborations with our friends and partners in the community. Ensuring that our residents are given the best tools to lead a whole life means providing shame resilience training through our Brené Brown certified clinical staff who lead clients through Brown’s The Daring Way™. It means offering residents seeking spiritual growth the support of dedicated trained volunteers in our The Courage to Search and The Search Continues. It means creating partnerships with organizations like The Women’s Fund and Dress for Success for financial and professional trainings.

 

Providing the best care possible also means studying the needs here in Houston, a path which led to the development of our current construction projects The WholeLife Service Center and a second housing complex for women and families. These new facilities will expand our services to not only providing support and treatment for those in recovery, but also providing resources that can prevent the crisis situations that leave people vulnerable to mental illness and addiction.

The Women’s Home Re:Entry Summit Seeks to Empower and Educate

Re-Entry Summit LogoTexas has the largest prison populations in the United States. In 2014, 12,214 of those incarcerated were women, and of those women, 8,550 served a previous sentence. Ex-offenders face a multitude of legal and social barriers that inhibit them from successfully re-entering society. A study by the Legal Action Center found that Texas has over 32 different laws restricting released prisoners, ranging from employment policies to limitations on public assistance. These barriers increase the likelihood of relapse and recidivism among individuals with criminal records. One in five women released in Harris County will receive insufficient support in overcoming these barriers.

While post-release reintegration is difficult for anyone, women face unique challenges that are often overlooked and lead to unmet needs. Female offenders are more prone to addiction, mental illness, low self-esteem, lack of job skills or experience and homelessness than their male counterparts. Women out of prison also face additional challenges in finding employment: many second-chance jobs are primarily manual labor and involve time commitments that conflict with childcare responsibilities.

The Women’s Home, with funding from the Texas Bar Foundation, will host a summit September 30 addressing the challenges women transitioning from prison to society face.

The summit will take place at United Way Houston and feature panel discussions and breakout sessions with national and local experts addressing the challenges women face before, during and after their experience with the prison system. Subjects covered will include behavioral health, law and policy making, as well as housing and employment barriers.

Keynote speakers include Dr. Mary D. Looman and Dr. John D. Carl, the authors of A Country Called Prison and Dr. Andrea M. Leverentz, author of The Ex-Prisoner’s Dilemma. Drs. Looman and Carl propose that prison is a culture that begins with disadvantaged, abusive and neglected childhoods setting up an entire segment of the population to become duel citizens who struggle between U.S. societal norms and a country called prison. A Country Called Prison offers pragmatic and economical suggestions to reform the prison system and address the incarceration epidemic in America.

Dr. Leverentz offers an in-depth, firsthand look at the former prisoner’s experience reentering American society in The Ex-Prisoner’s Dilemma. Through a series of interviews with forty-nine women, Dr. Andrea Leverentz reveals how the formerly incarcerated attempt to navigate and reconstruct their roles as mothers, daughters, sisters, romantic partners, friends, students and workers. The book depicts the precariousness of reentry for women in light of public policy, a primary focus on male prisoners, and the way society views the formerly incarcerated.

The Houston area has not seen an event of this nature since 2008, making this a great opportunity to bring our community together and advocate on behalf of female ex-offenders.  By educating our community, we hope to create better opportunities for women as they re-enter society, helping to keep them from experiencing homelessness or further incarceration.

Click here to register online for the summit

For more information about the summit, contact Marcia Tapp at 713.328.1975 or at mtapp@thewomenshome.org.

Faith Open House at Jane Cizik Garden Place

Open House 15

On Wednesday September 17, from 3 to 5 pm The Women’s Home is hosting an open house for congregations and faith communities at our supportive housing community, Jane Cizik Garden Place. The open house will educate congregations and faith communities about the programs and services The Home provides women in the Houston area, as well as introducing our new projects that will enable us to serve women and their families in the Spring Branch community.  The support of faith communities in the Houston area has been an integral part of The Women Home’s success since our founding in 1957, and we want to continue growing our relationships with Houston’s places of worship. Our Volunteer Service Manager Chris Hammond will give a presentation on the volunteer needs of The Home and opportunities for collaborative projects to fill these areas.

If your congregation or faith community is interested in learning more about The Women’s Home and ways to help us empower women to change their lives, please contact us at volunteer@thewomenshome.org.

 

Help us Help Houston Women and Families

feat-serviccenter

As friends and supporters of The Women’s Home, you already know of our successes in changing the lives of Houston women. Many of you have heard about our newest project, an 84 unit apartment complex for families as well as a WholeLife® Service Center in Spring Branch down the street from our first housing complex, Jane Cizik Garden Place, this exciting development will enable us to transform the lives of hundreds of families in the Spring Branch community. We’ve raised over $21 million for these two projects’ capital campaign, but we still have $5 million to raise to meet our goal.

This will be a dynamic year of growth for The Women’s Home as we break ground on these two new projects and expand our operations. We need your support now more than ever. In addition to preparing for the operational needs of our new facilities, we will be adding a couple of key positions to ensure the continued quality of our programs. The new positions include a dedicated volunteer manager and a part time professional committed to continuous quality improvement of all programs. In addition, our administrative staff is hard at work developing programs, procedures and strategic focus for the future. Throughout planning for these new developments, we continue to focus on smooth operations for both our treatment and transitional program and our permanent supportive housing community.
Most importantly, we are changing the future for the women we serve!
We could not achieve this exciting new growth or the lifelong changes it enables for our clients without your help. Every gift supports our work providing our residents with the assistance and training they need to live independent fulfilling lives. With each gift, you make a meaningful contribution essential to rebuilding the lives of desperate Houston women.
Every donation, big and small, helps change the lives of the women we serve, please click the donate button at the top right of our website to make your contribution today.

Girls on the Run Support our Residents

Girls on the Run Group

Some of the Women’s Home’s pint sized friends recently paid a warm and friendly visit to our residents at Jane Cizik Garden Place, our spring branch supportive housing community.

Dozens of girls ranging from the third to fifth grades from the nearby Treasure Forest Elementary School, delivered hygiene care packages after school one sunny afternoon day. It was a happy visit, and one that came after weeks of hard work and fundraising. The students are part of the Girls on the Run program, an after school program for girls ages 8 to 13. Their goal is to complete a 5k at the end of their school year. But part of the fun for these girls involves giving back. So the girls chose Jane Cizik Garden Place as their community outreach project.

Their effort began in early Spring, when the girls sold lemonade at the school. Their hard work paid off, earning more than 200 dollars. Then came deciding how to use the funds. After meeting with our staff, the group collectively decided to make dental hygiene kits, including toothbrushes, floss and toothpastes for the residents of all 84 of our units.

The girls were received by hugs and gratitude, with a handful of our residents in attendance for these donations. Our staff later distributed the rest of the kits to Jane Cizik residents. The girls shared the valuable lessons they learned like teamwork, charity and how they too can shape the communities around them.

We thank you Girls on the Run, and we look forward to many more neighborly visits ahead!

2015 WholeLife Luncheon

wholelife luncheon

2015 Laura Sampson Community Award Honorees from Left to Right:

Dr. Sippi Khurana, Elaine Turner, Alden Clark and the Reverend Michael Gott, Jindi Vincent (former President ofThe Women’s Energy Network)

Late on the sunny morning of Friday June 5, 280 guests gathered at the Houstonian Hotel for our 2015 WholeLife Luncheon featuring author Carine McCandless. Emceed by The Women’s Home Advisory Board Member and Great Day Houston Host Deborah Duncan, the luncheon began with thanks to sponsors before recognizing our 2015 Laura Sampson Community Award Honorees.  Recognized for their philanthropic dedication to their communities, our 2015 honorees were Dr. Sippi KhuranaElaine TurnerAlden Clark and the Reverend Michael Gott and The Women’s Energy Network. The Women’s Home Executive Director Paula Paust then announced our 2015 WholeLife® Award Winner, Bryson Blair. The WholeLife Award goes to a graduate of The Women’s Home Treatment and Transitional Housing program who has flourished in her life and recovery. Bryson’s perseverance, bravery and honesty embody what it means to live a whole life.

Carine McCandless took the podium for the final portion of the luncheon, where she told the story of her brother, Chris McCandless also known as Alexander Supertramp, who was first made famous by Jon Krakauer’s book Into the Wild. Carine explained how the longer she spoke about her brother’s story at engagements and schools, where her candid honesty with students regularly led one in the crowd to come privately to her for help, the more she felt compelled to come forth with the whole story. This led to the writing of her memoir, The Wild Truth, which details how a childhood marked by domestic violence both emotional and physical, deeply shaped both her and Chris’s lives.

Carine explained that while her brother was drawn more and more to the wilderness for refuge from their family struggles, she found herself driven to the city and involved in relationships that mirrored the violence of her family home. When faced with these difficult situations, Carine invoked the image of two roads, one clear, straight and smooth, but somehow unsettling, the other winding and potholed, but with signs of promise for the journey ahead. Carine committed to the harder more rewarding path at each turn in her life and found success.

Carine’s story shows the same determination and indomitable spirit she recognizes in her brother. Time and again she found the strength to leave toxic relationships and the commitment to go through school, to run her own business, and begin a family she never expected to have.

Guests of the luncheon each received a signed copy of Carine’s memoir, The Wild Truth and had the opportunity to speak with Carine and have their book personalized after the program. Guests also bid on silent auction items provided by presenting sponsor Morton Auctioneers & Appraisers, 2015 honoree and bronze sponsor Elaine Turner, and fashion boutique Lucho. Attendees raised over $85,000 that will go towards helping women like Bryson build whole lives.

Donate to The Women’s Home and reNew Your Wardrobe!

reNew Collage

Tickets for our 6th annual reNew & reDo Fashion Show and Shopping Event are now on sale! With our biggest shopping event of the year on the horizon we are calling all Houston’s most fashionable men and women to clean out their couture closets for the cause.

Months before the show, we begin gathering the high fashion and designer clothing, shoes, handbags, and accessories for men and women from brands including Gucci, Prada, Dior, Chanel, and Michael Kors that will grace the racks and the runway in August. Couture comes from personal closets as well as boutique donations gathered from our friends and neighbors in the community.

If you have gently used designer styles in your closet that are looking for a new life, please contribute to making this year’s reNew & reDo bigger and better than ever by donating them to The Cottage Shop. Have an organization you’re a part of that’s interested in holding a clothing drive? Contact Chau Nguyen atcnguyen@thewomenshome.org or 713-328-1950.

Building Healthy Outcomes

WholeLife 3-24-14

Our quarterly outcome reports are an integral part to maintaining the quality of our programs and ensuring that we make the best impact possible on the lives of our residents in both our treatment and transitional program in Montrose and our supportive housing complex, Jane Cizik Garden Place (JCGP) in Spring Branch. Our outcome reports breakdown the demographics of our current clients, recent graduates and residents and serve as important tools to maintain diversity in those we serve and track what services are most needed by our residents at Jane Cizik Garden Place.

Our outcome reports for Jane Cizik Garden Place track the case management services used by residents, with the goal that each household at JCGP has at least one interaction with our case managers. Our case managers at JCGP provide residents connections with a variety of services including transportation, rent processing assistance and connection to community events. Monitoring these services ensures our residents get the support they need and seek from JCGP. (See chart below.)

building healthy outcomes

At the end of the first quarter of 2015, our treatment and transitional housing program had an occupancy of 92% with 59 clients, up from last year’s 86% occupancy and on track for our goal of consistently having a 95% occupancy level. Our admissions Coordinator Michelle Carey-Redic received 208 phone intake calls in the first quarter, referring 159 of those callers to programs that better fit their needs and meeting in person with 34 women for intake appointments. Our treatment program focuses specifically on aiding women who are homeless and facing mental illness, addiction or both, but we receive many calls from potential clients who do not match our services. Callers such as women seeking immediate shelter for themselves and their children, women without history of mental illness or addiction, or women who are still in the first 90 days of their sobriety are referred to organizations that can help. This screening process ensures potential residents are given the best chance of success from the beginning by placing them with programs best equipped to assist them.

In the first quarter, eight of our treatment and transitional housing clients graduated our treatment and transitional housing program after staying at least 6 months. All eight graduates left with income as well as permanent housing 100% of our treatment and transitional housing program’s graduates left with income as well as permanent housing. Having all of our graduating residents leave with housing and income is one of our main goals for ensuring our graduates leave the program with stable lives and the best chance for long-term success.

Help us Help Houston Women and Families

As friends and supporters of The Women’s Home, you already know of our successes in changing the lives of Houston women. Many of you have heard about our newest project, an 84 unit apartment complex for families as well as a WholeLife® Service Center in Spring Branch down the street from our first housing complex, Jane Cizik Garden Place, this exciting development will enable us to transform the lives of hundreds of families in the Spring Branch community. We’ve raised over $21 million for these two projects’ capital campaign, but we still have $5 million to raise to meet our goal.

This will be a dynamic year of growth for The Women’s Home as we break ground on these two new projects and expand our operations. We need your support now more than ever. In addition to preparing for the operational needs of our new facilities, we will be adding a couple of key positions to ensure the continued quality of our programs. The new positions include a dedicated volunteer manager and a part time professional committed to continuous quality improvement of all programs. In addition, our administrative staff is hard at work developing programs, procedures and strategic focus for the future. Throughout planning for these new developments, we continue to focus on smooth operations for both our treatment and transitional program and our permanent supportive housing community.

Most importantly, we are changing the future for the women we serve!

We could not achieve this exciting new growth or the lifelong changes it enables for our clients without your help. Every gift supports our work providing our residents with the assistance and training they need to live independent fulfilling lives. With each gift, you make a meaningful contribution essential to rebuilding the lives of desperate Houston women.

Every donation, big and small, helps change the lives of the women we serve, please click the donate button at the top right of our website to make your contribution today.

3,000 Square Feet of Fashion

3000 ft fashion

Thursday April 16, 2015, a group of fashionistas got an exclusive glimpse at reNew & reDo 2015 Fashion Icon Theresa Roemer’s closet. A towering three stories and 3,000 square feet of clothing, shoes and accessories encased in spotless glass on gleaming white shelves served as the backdrop for the evening as the party carried on unhindered by the evening’s storm. Designer and high fashion donations from guests were piled high in the entryway, the donated clothing, shoes, and accessories will be sorted and stored to go on the runway and on sale at reNew.

Guests were there not only to see Theresa’s expansive couture collection but also to get involved and get excited about our upcoming reNew & reDo style show in August. reNew & reDo is The Women’s Home annual fashion show and high fashion clothing sale at the Wortham Theater Center, the proceeds from which go to support our programs and residents. In 2014, reNew & reDo raised over $130,000 with 21 volunteer models strutting the runway in ensembles composed by design team Lenny Matuszewski and Tamara Bonar for a sold out audience of 600 guests. After the show, the featured fashions were rolled out to join the rest of the boutique merchandise in the pop up Cottage Shop where guests wasted no time in finding and purchasing their favorites.

After our 2014 show’s fantastic reception and performance, we’re determined to outdo ourselves in 2015 and we hope you’ll join us!