Motivated by a belief in dignity and worth of each person as a child of God, Good Shepherd Gracenter is committed to helping women who seek recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Through a program based on a 12 Step Spirituality and a holistic approach, we help each woman transform and grow toward independence by nurturing an appreciation of her true self and strengthening bonds with her God and community.
Executive Director's Report
By Sr. Marguerite Bartling, RGS, MSW
It is always a wonder at the start of spring to see the tiny new buds begin to form on the trees and the colorful tulips pop out of the ground. An even more awesome experience is to see the women at Good Shepherd Gracenter begin to grow in confidence and succeed. One woman is about to “walk the stage” and obtain the high school diploma she thought she never would achieve. Another woman has just begun working with troubled millennial youth, helping them navigate the difficulties in their lives. Typical to recovery, but still amazing, is watching a woman in our house new to her recovery take on the responsibility of her first sponsee, strengthening her own recovery while she mentors the recovery of others.
These are miracles of new life! You are a part of this new life for women and their families as our Partners in Mission. Thank you for all your support of Gracenter. May this Springtime of New Life fill you and your loved ones with God’s hope and joy!
Sr. Marguerite Bartling RGS, MSW
Executive Director, Gracenter
How Does Gracenter Measure Success?
The Mission of Gracenter is helping women who seek recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. As a Licensed Recovery Residence for Women, Good Shepherd Gracenter is committed to effectively support its residents in remaining free of alcohol and drug use and to live overall healthy lives.
It is an inspiration to be a part of their courageous journey of recovery. Women at Gracenter begin this journey despite great personal obstacles and lack of resources. They find themselves without sufficient education, and lacking in social skills mixed with an involvement with the criminal justice system due to addiction. Added to that situation, women are without a job or safe housing. It is vitally essential to address all these barriers in order to effectively support women in long-term recovery.
But why should we care about helping women who seek recovery from drug and alcohol addiction? Believing in the individual worth of each person is one of our core values. We care about helping women who seek recovery because according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, substance abuse has a “major impact on individuals, families and communities.” The effects of substance abuse significantly contribute to costly social, physical, mental and public health problems, including HIV/AIDS/domestic violence, child abuse and crime.
Six outcomes measure progress toward individual behavior maintaining sobriety as well as improving overall healthy living:
- Maintain sobriety from drugs and/or alcohol.
- Complete personal recovery plans and move into stable housing.
- Access health care and mental health services.
- Achieve employment/or have a stable income/ or work in the larger community as a volunteer.
- Lead a crime-free lifestyle.
- Enroll in GED class, if lacking a high school education/others are encouraged to take certification training/or pursue higher education in college.
Gracenter’s six measurable outcomes match the range of personal, social, economic and physical factors that determine overall health according to the Department of Health and Human Services. (www.healthypeople. gov/2020). These factors impact health, functioning and quality of life.
Besides the numerical quantifying of progress in the six outcomes, Gracenter also “measures” the personal successes the women accomplish through their hard work at Gracenter. Some women pay off all their past debits, some complete the requirements of their probation or parole and become contributing members of society. Others who had lost custody of their children through their addiction, go through the process of reunification and once again assume the responsibility and joys of being a mother. Still others proudly state, “I am saving enough money and I am starting to stand up for myself…I am being a good daughter, sister, friend, employee and a productive woman in my own life and in the life of others.”
Successfully supporting women who seek recovery from drug and alcohol addiction provides a way for women to help their own children and families, and make their communities safe and peaceful places. Together we protect the health, safety and quality of life for all.
Coming Full Circle: Giving Back and Focusing on the Present
By: Adam Eisendrath, MNA,
Former Gracenter resident Samantha Rogers has lived a tough life. With a criminal history going back to the 1980’s, Samantha’s journey to sobriety and success was neither easy nor pleasant, but when I sat with her to talk about her transition from addict to recovery advocate, I was impressed and inspired by her perseverance and gratitude for those who helped her come to where she is today.
Samantha was 7 months pregnant with her youngest of her 4 children when she went to prison in 1993, and had her child there. She was in and out of prison for 17 more years. In 2011 she met Deirdre Wilson and Mary Campbell from the California Coalition for Women Prisoners. She discovered that they too had been in prison and were now back on the other side, helping and advocating on her behalf…and she saw a new life was possible. She met Sandra Munoz, Gracenter’s Assistant Program Director that same year during a class at the prison, and soon began her journey towards the life she once thought was unreachable. Samantha started volunteering for the Coalition and secured a full time job with them soon after she was released from prison. And in July 2012 she moved from the first round treatment facility to Gracenter. She was 44 years old.
Her experience at Gracenter was what some people might call a rebirth. When I asked her about her experience she said in a matter of fact tone, “I grew up at Gracenter.”
Samantha was 44 years old with 4 kids and multiple grandchildren and Gracenter is where she said she grew up, not her hometown of Stockton, or Oklahoma where she was born. She described Gracenter as a place where she could stop living as if her “past was her present”. She doesn’t think much about the past or even the future these days, even with her grandkids. Rather she focuses on the present, and is proud of her biggest accomplishment to date, being alive and able to pick up her grandkids at school.
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