In the early summer of 2020, a key “Live in” Recovery Coordinator, Marlin Meszaros informed me he was planning on marrying Erin Carrol (fiancé) in October and desired to maintain his status in the Individualized Program Area (IPA). After much prayer and reflection, I decided I would rather face the unknown by allowing Erin and Marlin to live onsite rather than lose Marlin as a “live in” IPA Coordinator.

Since welcoming our first female resident into the Recovery Community, we have received nothing but positive feedback.  Male participants have been very respectful and somewhat protective. They have been exposed to healthy interactions with not only Erin, but also her female guests as visitors and presence at our Thursday Night Connection.

Erin is also in personal recovery, a strong believer and currently a staff member of Healing House: a ministry focused on 1st step women who are healing from substance and domestic abuse. I soon realized that we had a huge asset with Erin living on campus, and this was our opportunity to get our feet wet in working with women.

I approached Erin and Marlin at the end of 2020 with the idea of Erin case managing women participants at FreedomWorks that graduated from the Healing House and are ready for the “2nd step”. She immediately agreed. Erin soon after informed us of a woman, (Kelly), from Metro Hopes Healing House that would be a great “next step” candidate.  She entered Metro Hopes Healing House under Erin’s leadership as a program participant two years ago and is now working alongside Erin.  She has been eligible to move to supportive housing with her daughter but has been turned down for housing due to her criminal record.

What confirmed to us that this is God’s story in the making is that one of our participants in independent housing, Dan O’Neil is the father of Kelly’s daughter. Since allowing these “fathers” to have overnights in their apartments, Dan has had his daughter on countless over nights, on weekends and some weekdays. Allowing Kelly to take live on site with her daughter not only provides her a safe sober community “next step” but also furthers our mission for “Reconciling Men to Family”.   So on April 1st we welcomed our first female program participant to FreedomWorks and are looking forward to seeing God’s plan unfold.    — George, Executive Director