Soul’s Har­bor helps men right the boat af­ter ad­dic­tion

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - PROFILES - LARA JO HIGHTOWER

A mea­sure of suc­cess for Soul’s Har­bor, a tran­si­tional com­mu­nity for men in drug and al­co­hol abuse re­cov­ery, is how much in de­mand its ser­vices have been since mov­ing to a long-term hous­ing model in 2015.

“We can serve at a ca­pac­ity of 20 men, and we are cur­rently at ca­pac­ity,” says Erin Newell, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion. “We have a wait­ing list that av­er­ages five men at a time.”

Newell says the pro­gram of­fers men who have com­pleted sub­stance abuse treat­ment a place to stay for any­where from six months to a year.

“We pro­vide them with shel­ter, food, cloth­ing, ed­u­ca­tion, em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties and case man­age­ment. The end goal is grad­u­a­tion, which means they com­plete all of our re­quire­ments and have re­mained in good stand­ing for six months up to one year. That in­cludes liv­ing a sober life, in­de­pen­dently, and hav­ing gain­ful em­ploy­ment.”

Newell says the pro­gram holds the men to a strict stan­dard in an at­tempt to fur­ther their re­cov­ery and re­turn to liv­ing on their own.

“They are ran­domly drug tested and breath­a­lyzed and must re­main clean and sober,” she says. “They have to at­tend Mon­day and Thurs­day com­mu­nity meet­ings and ed­u­ca­tion classes that range in top­ics from fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy, life skills, par­ent­ing skills, health care and nutri­tion. They must ob­tain gain­ful em­ploy­ment dur­ing the first week they’re here or en­roll in school. They do eight hours of sweat eq­uity a week — jobs or tasks around the fa­cil­ity that help keep it run­ning. They have to abide by cur­few.”

If a res­i­dent would like to pur­sue ed­u­ca­tion, Newell says, case man­agers work closely with North­west Arkansas Com­mu­nity Col­lege to get them en­rolled. Area busi­nesses like House of Webster, TRG, Staffmark and Creek Kooler sup­port the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s

mis­sion by work­ing with case man­agers to pro­vide em­ploy­ment for res­i­dents.

Soul’s Har­bor re­ceives no state or fed­eral fund­ing, so grants and lo­cal con­tri­bu­tions are crit­i­cal to their sur­vival — as are their fundrais­ers. Their three­mile re­lay, Soul Run, is com­ing up on Aug. 19. Newell says the type of event has a spe­cial mean­ing to the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“We wanted to cre­ate an event that mir­rored the team as­pect that we have at Soul’s Har­bor,” she says. “Our men work to­gether, and our staff work with our men. Each mem­ber of the team will run one mile and pass the ba­ton on to the next per­son. This run can­not be com­pleted by one sin­gle per­son — it can only be com­pleted by a team. We’re look­ing for­ward to giv­ing this op­por­tu­nity of team build­ing to fam­ily,

friends and youth groups. And cor­po­ra­tions! There are so many in North­west Arkansas, and this is a great team-build­ing event for co-work­ers.”

Newell says that the race will also fea­ture a one-mile fun run for chil­dren 12 and younger. Par­tic­i­pants in the race will re­ceive a navy blue Soul’s Run hat spon­sored by New Life Graph­ics.

In Oc­to­ber, the or­ga­ni­za­tion will host its big­gest event of the year — the fourth an­nual Boots, Burlap and Lace: Din­ner with Soul at Horton Farms in Cen­ter­ton.

“This is prob­a­bly one of the most beau­ti­ful places in North­west Arkansas,” says Newell. “You can go and just ex­pe­ri­ence na­ture and kind of be in the mid­dle of it. It’s a sparkling lo­ca­tion that presents a won­der­ful back­drop for a night of fun.”

Guests to this gala event are en­cour­aged to dress in denim and boots and dine on home-cooked bar­be­cue.

“A lot of the galas around this area are fancy, and we love those,” says Newell. “But this one is a more re­laxed at­mos­phere.”

An out­door photo booth, silent and live auc­tions

and a wine pull add to the fun (and fundrais­ing). The key­note speaker for the event is An­drew Cough­lan, a U.S. Army veteran who was awarded the Com­bat In­fantry Badge and Army Com­men­da­tion Medal with Valor for his tour in Iraq.

“I’m so ex­cited about our speaker,” says Newell. “I can’t wait to hear him share his ex­pe­ri­ence about what we as hu­mans have to give and sup­port each other.”

Newell says that if com­mu­nity mem­bers wish to sup­port the mis­sion of the or­ga­ni­za­tion but are un­able to par­tic­i­pate in the fundrais­ers, there are many other ways to lend a hand. Do­na­tions of twin bed sheets, twin com­forters, toi­letries and food — milk, cof­fee, bread and lunch meat es­pe­cially — are al­ways wel­come. The or­ga­ni­za­tion’s 7,500-square-foot gar­den can al­ways use vol­un­teers to tend and har­vest it. And meal prepa­ra­tion — on site, in the shel­ter’s kitchen, or pre­pared at home — is a won­der­ful way for groups

to get in­volved in the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Newell says the im­por­tance of Soul’s Har­bor can­not be stressed enough. The or­ga­ni­za­tion cites a Com­mu­nity and Fam­ily In­sti­tute Home­less Re­port on its web­site that es­ti­mated that there are 2,462 home­less in­di­vid­u­als in the North­west Arkansas area. The study found that 72 per­cent of the men they in­ter­viewed for the study re­ported us­ing drugs other than al­co­hol in the month prior to their in­ter­view.

“We’re the only tran­si­tional com­mu­nity ex­clu­sively for men in the state,” she says. “There’s nowhere else for them to go. Many peo­ple say, ‘Well, they can get a job and work, and they should be fine.’ But money doesn’t equal re­cov­ery. Soul’s Har­bor is the only place they can go to get the help they need to get back on their feet.”

Cour­tesy photo

Soul’s Har­bor res­i­dents sell the har­vest from the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s gar­den at the Rogers Farm­ers Mar­ket. “From our very own gar­den, we har­vest to­ma­toes, beets, car­rots, squash, kale, col­lards, herbs, pep­pers, and we just planted water­melon,” says Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Erin Newell. “In ad­di­tion to the pro­duce, we also make and sell fresh juice.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.