LAPORTE — It took years of fundraising, not to mention recovery from a fire, but a home helping women fresh out of jail stay off drugs and lead productive lives is about to have its first graduation.
Three residents of Worthy Women Recovery Home at 1001 Maple Ave. are scheduled to graduate June 8 for completing a regimented faith-based program.
There are six residents at the home one year after it first opened, with room to add eight more occupants as more funding becomes available.
The public is invited to the graduation ceremony to support the graduates and learn how the home functions and its plans for expansion.
"We want the community to see that we're very strategic in what we want to do next. We want to grow this organization," founder and executive director D.E. Sonshine Troche said.
More than 500 volunteers were involved in the 2011 purchase of the 115-year-old structure and extensive remodeling of its 4,800 square feet. The effort was funded with $600,000 in donations and proceeds from various fundraisers.
Troche said there's a strong emphasis on residents furthering their education, learning the value of hard work, accepting responsibility and illustrating what their lives can become after letting go of past bad experiences.
Each resident pays $125 a week for their stay, which varies from six months to two years, depending on need. They must be employed.
Donations, fundraising and applying for grants happens constantly to cover the remainder of the operating costs at a facility that receives no tax money, Troche said.
One of the goals is to add more sponsors to offset the residents' expenses, which can be a lot to bear when saddled with other costs ranging from child support and court fees to even auto insurance.
Until now, Troche has been the only paid worker, but there's now enough funding to hire one of the volunteers to work full time.
"We want to have more women being able to come in. We want to be able to do bigger and greater things. We want to create some sustainability because the addiction problem and the overdose problem is not going away," Troche said.
In November 2015, just months away from opening, a fire caused substantial damage to the kitchen and other areas on the main level. Donations of money and labor, along with insurance compensation, made fixing the damage possible.
The home accepts women from LaPorte County Jail, the Indiana Women's Prison and other institutions when applicable.