06/02/05 — Wayside facility for recovering women addicts needs help

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Wayside facility for recovering women addicts needs help

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on June 2, 2005 1:45 PM

Wayne County's only residential facility for recovering women addicts doesn't have enough money to operate.

Wayside Fellowship Home has relocated its residents to other facilities until it can get some help, said Ada Melvin, director. She estimates it will take between $60,000 and $100,000 to operate the home each year.

Board member Mary Winn said the home at 1206 E. Walnut St. also needs some minor repairs and office equipment. "We're trying to be proactive and do some fund-raisers, such as a recent fish fry we held that was very successful," she said. "We want to do more of that kind of thing to help ourselves."

Ms. Winn said Wayside has had a lot of help from people in this community, and it has been very much appreciated.

"Mental Health gives us money for a specific population of women -- those who are pregnant and those who have children they are trying to get back from Social Services -- but it's still not enough to operate," Ms. Winn said. "We can't run a home on just $30,000 a year. We're also looking at serving any recovering woman addict, not just a certain population."

So now, they are looking for other ways to raise money.

"One way to get more funds is through grants," Ms. Melvin said. "But we need someone to help write the grants and to search for grant sources."

Ms. Winn said some of the board members recently took a grant-writing workshop, but writing a grant requires a lot of work and they have full-time jobs away from Wayside.

The facility can house up to five women at one time. It was started in 1979. The purpose was to get the women out of their old environment and into a structured one where there are no drugs or alcohol.

It was originally located at 309 S. William St., but moved to its current location in 2001 because the old building needed more repairs than it was worth, Ms. Melvin said.

In 2003, United Way of Wayne County stopped its funding to Wayside because the facility could no longer pay its bills and had a deficit with no concrete plans for meeting its obligations. Wayside received 53 percent of its budget from United Way.

"It's just a struggle right now, being a nonprofit organization," Ms. Winn said. "Right now we are trying to restructure ourselves.

"We want to do more. We don't do enough with prevention. This being an age of anxiety, we want to do relaxation and stress reduction programs. We'd like to have an in-home exercise program."

To do this, Wayside is looking for more funds plus donations of exercise equipment.

"We are established in the community, and now we want to do more than what we've been doing," Ms. Winn said. "It would be nice if we had a benefactor who would sponsor us because it is a needed cause. Drug addiction is on the rise. Pain killers are becoming a growing drug addiction, for example."

Ms. Melvin said Wayside is also looking for some agencies to partner with so when it has clients once again, they could do volunteer work and give back to their community.

Shirley Smith, 48, is a former Wayside client who went through the program in 1993.

She said it changed her life.

"When I was out there using drugs, I was searching for something," she said. "I had an emptiness inside. When I came to Wayside, I found what I was looking for. It was hope.

"There was a lot of love at the home. Using drugs for 25 years of my life, I forgot a lot of the simple things in life to do as far as how to take care of myself, how to be a lady. When I came to Wayside, those things were instilled in me again, as far as being responsible, getting up, cleaning up, seeking work and being a responsible member of society."

She said if she had not gone to Wayside, she doesn't know where she would be right now.

"Had I gone home, I would have used drugs. But there was another option and Wayside was there for me. I work for the state now and I never would have dreamed of holding a job like that. But I got my start from being at Wayside.

She said Wayside could change more lives. "I feel Wayside is very vital to this community because there are so many women out there in the wilderness and don't know which way to go."

Ms. Winn said Wayside serves women addicts who want to get and stay clean. "If they get off their addiction and become working women, then they are not on welfare, which saves everyone money in the long run," she said.