BUCYRUS — Healea Walters has lived in the Jericho House for three months, working hard to stay in recovery from her addiction to drugs.
Walters, who is from Galion, is the first woman in the residence founded by John and Margie Maddox over a year ago to help women recover from drug and alcohol addiction, to utilize the new transitional area to help the women prepare for life after they graduate from the Jericho House. One of those preparations is to bond with their children to create a loving, healthy relationship.
One of those preparations is to bond with their children to create a loving, healthy relationship.
“Right now, I get five-hour visits with my kids. We draw, color, talk, laugh, read books, cook and eat together. It is our time and it is so special,” said Walters, the mother of a one-year-old and three-year-old.
Walters said the addition to the house at 816 N. Sandusky Ave., does not have a televisions or radio.
“It is time for me to spend with my children, focused on them,” said Healea Walters, who also prepares meals and snacks for them in the fully stocked kitchen area. The addition also has a living room, dining room, two bedrooms and a bathroom/utility room.
Margie said the addition will be used by all of the women, even if they do not have children.
“They can invite their families in and prepare a meal for them. As the women prepare to leave the house, it is good for them to begin re-bonding with their children and families,” Margie said.
The addition was created with children in mind.
“This is my favorite thing,” said Bill Denton who was one of the contractors who worked on the addition as he raised a small toilet seat up that is inside the larger one. “It is for the children and the toilet was installed low to the ground so it is easier for the kids.”
Denton also heads up an annual event at Woodlawn United Methodist Church to help fund the Jericho House and the Alpha 12-Step Recovery Program that John and Margie implemented several years ago to help local addicts from addiction to recovery.
Margie said she realized after the first women graduated from the house that being thrown back into life with their families without the proper training and time to bond with their children.
“I realized the mothers needed to learn how to parent their children without the effects of drugs or alcohol. They needed to bond with them and prepare for life outside of the Jericho House,” Margie said.
Crawford County Municipal Court Judge Shane Leuthold said that lack of bonding can be a barrier for women to regain custody of their children.
“If kids are in the children services system, the mothers have limited visitation in a sterile setting. Many times, mothers lose custody of their children because there is a lack of bonding yet there was nothing put in place to help facilitate it,” Leuthold said. “This addition to the Jericho House is very much needed to help mothers stay off drugs and start a new life with their children.”
Margie said the addition to the Jericho House was made possible by the help of many people and organizations throughout the community.
“We received a grant through the Community Foundation for Crawford County, Pat and Janelle Hord of Hord Livestock donated money to finish up the project and countless volunteers helped work on the project, including juveniles through the Juvenile Court who needed to work off their fines. A few of them even asked if there are other things they can do to help out,” Margie said. “God provided to make this happen.”
John said Ken Allen of Lowe’s in Mansfield also helped make the transitional area of the Jericho House a reality.
“We donated some items and gave discounts on others,” said Allen who was on hand for a ribbon cutting at the house on Tuesday.
Brittany Wilcox has only been at the Jericho House for a little over a week but is already starting to feel that her life is getting back on track.
“I am learning just how much drugs affected me and how to live without them,” Wilcox said.
Brittany Ross has been in the house for three months.
“I thought the group meetings would be the most helpful when I first started in the program but it is actually the morning lessons that are really helping me the most. I am learning how to respect and care about myself again,” Ross said as she gave her mother, Carla, a hug.
Carla said she is extremely happy that her daughter is learning to live drug-free at the Jericho House.
“I am getting my daughter back,” said Carla with tears in her eyes.
For more information, visit http://www.alpha12step.com/jericho-house.html.