On Saturday night, Worthy Women Recovery Home of La Porte held its 6th annual Worthy Women Dinner. Held at Silver Palace, guests enjoyed a packed evening of talks from various guest speakers, a silent auction, a dinner, and generally wonderful conversation and company. Thanks to the event sponsors NECA, IBEW 531 Local Union, New Age Telecom, Qubit Networks, Jonas Construction, NIPSCO, Goodman Plumbing, and Stephani Electric, as well as table sponsors Meridian Title Corporation, Captain Ed's, La Porte Assembly of God, Trudy Menke, B&B Manufacturing, La Porte High School Girl's Reserves, and Trout Glass, all money raised from the silent and auction and ticket sales was able to go directly to Worthy Women programs.
Since last year, $94,000 in labor and materials was donated thanks to the generosity of local contractors with the addition of $17,000 of contributions from Captain Ed's. Ed and Tina Beutner donated over 1,000 pounds of candy that Worthy Women then sold for $5 per bag. He also helped create and sponsor various events for Worthy Women Recovery Home.
Tonn and Blank Construction and Bailey's Cabinets could not attend this year's dinner, however along with South Bend Local Roofers Union #23 they donated almost $37,000 worth of labor and material to the cause.
The WWRH's mission statement is: "a Christian home that provides recently incarcerated women with re-entry programs and the tools necessary to reduce recidivism [re-arrest] rates, substance abuse and addictions, and to empower them to live as positive role models for their children and in their own community."
With a board of amazing women led by the incredible Sonshine Troche and community volunteer groups such as the La Porte High School Girls Reserve (pictured right), the program has been thriving since it was started by Sonshine in 2008. They have helped over 300 women with Worthy Recovery Inc. and the Moral Reconation Therapy Program within the La Porte County Jail. They purchased the building on September 7, 2011 and are in the last phase of renovation in order to open in spring of 2015. Once open, the home will house 14 women.
WWRH's Pat Graham, the Building Committee Chair, her passion and belief in the program was evident, "Our recovery home isn't a shelter or a center. Rather, it's a home for women who will be released from the La Porte County Jail or the Indiana Women's Prison, or as an alternative sentencing structure for the court system. They need a safe home where they can finish their high school education, get a college education, build confidence in themselves, and be able to go out into the world and be a better, sober person while learning about the Lord and themselves."
Being present at the event, it was amazing to see the sense of community WWRH has been able to build over the years. Mothers brought their daughters, wives brought their husbands, and friends gathered around the tables to dine and sit back enjoying the phenomenal speakers that were brought in. Andrew Pazera, Assistant Superintendent of Re-entry programs at Westville Correctional Facility, spoke about his friendship with Sonshine at the prison and he also touched on the fact that she did not trust God enough to leave the prison and build up Worthy Recovery any sooner. Pazera attended the event last year as well.
"We come to support Worthy Recovery and Sonshine and her crew, as well as for the fellowship and just to enjoy the evening. The biggest thing though is to support the great cause that is Worthy Recovery, and to enjoy a nice dinner together," he said.
Other speakers included Amy Wilson, founder of Forged Redemption. Amy is an accountant and motivational speaker who also happens to be a former convict. Katie King, former Worthy Recovery intern also spoke. Megan McCulloch, who shared Spoken Word, her story of a mother struggling with a son addicted to heroin. Sonshine introduced several of her ladies as guests speakers and gave an update on the final phase of construction before opening the home.
Sonshine also highlighted Jim Antrim for his consistently positive attitude at the local Walmart in La Porte where he works as a greeter. Sonshine went to Walmart last May and spoke to Jim and took a photo with him and put it up on Facebook. That photo got 288 Likes and 68 comments within a week. Jim was in an unfortunate accident where no substance abuse was involved, but he has an incredible attitude. Sonshine uses his story as a motivator in her program at the La Porte County Jail.
With the various drug and alcohol abuse issues that Northwest Indiana faces, it is programs like WWRH that are making improvement in our area possible. They are not only helping women put their lives back together, but are also aiding in keeping these women's families on the right track and maintaining positive relationships. For more information, to contact Sonshine, or to donate, please visit www.worthyrecovery.org.
Top photo courtesy of Richard Warner of Visual impressions Photography and other photos from Sonshine Troche.