Editor's Note: This is the next in a series of stories about the member agencies of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley.
PARKERSBURG - For more than 40 years, the Mid-Ohio Valley Fellowship Home has been a refuge and source of hope for those fighting addiction in the area.
"The Fellowship Home is a residential recovery program for people who suffer from chemical dependency," said Patrice Pooler, executive director of the facility. "We give those who come here a safe place with support."
Through its five homes, the Fellowship Home offers transitional living communities for men and women, both by themselves and for those with children.
This serenity prayer wall painting that now hangs in the Mid-Ohio Valley Fellowship Home’s community room was created by a Marietta College student artist.
The facility serves people from both sides of the Ohio River, no matter if they are residents of Ohio or West Virginia.
The Fellowship Home has been an agency of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley since it opened its doors in 1971 and received $12,500 this year to help provide residential shelter and programming that focuses on daily living, literacy, parenting skills and wellness for men and women recovering from drugs and/or alcohol addiction.
Pooler said the fellowship home serves about 75 residents, including more than 300 assessments last year. Assessments are people who were referred to other agencies through the Fellowship Home.
Through the facility's five safe, sober, supportive homes for both men and women residents receive 24-hour staff support, on-site recovery programming and community support services for themselves and their children.
The goal of the Fellowship Home is to help people develop work and health habits to encourage them to live and work together. The average length of stay is six months.
"The Mid-Ohio Valley Fellowship Home provides residents with an environment that inspires change," Pooler said. "The facility is a place where people learn to trust themselves again where long-term recovery is not just a goal, it's a way of life."
One of those who has received help from the Fellowship Home is Laura, who lived at the facility when she was 12 years old, with her mother and three younger siblings.
At the age of 15, Laura said: "my mother recently completed three years of recovery."
"Our family has come such a long way from where we were three years ago and we wouldn't have been able to do it without the Fellowship Home," Laura said. "I am so proud of my mom and her three-year path of recovery. Thank you!"
Pooler said the program and facility is a place to begin a new life.
"Ours is a story of everyday miracles: A sober day reflected in phone calls, commitments, promises made and kept," Pooler said.
Daily meetings and use of a 12-step program help residents overcome the obstacles of addiction as well as a large spiritual component to the recovery process, Pooler said.
"Clients are encouraged to integrate their recovery with family, community and career on a practical, day-to-day basis," she said. "In our program, people learn to trust themselves again, growing in understanding that long-term recovery is not just a goal, it's a way of life."
Though it receives support from other community and government organizations as well as private donors, the Fellowship Home's primary funding comes from the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley.
"The United Way is incredible," said Pooler. "Without the funds we receive from the United Way, we wouldn't have doors to open.
"Because of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley, we are here and have helped thousands of people break their cycle of addiction since we opened in 1971," she said.
For more information on Fellowship Home and the services offered, visit movfh.org.