Category Archives: News

Greetings from the Board

20161107_110828-1The holiday season is always a time of grateful reflection for me.  As I reflect on the last 12 years at The Edna House, I think of its humble beginnings and marvel at its growth and success.   As one of the founders, I have had a “front row” view of the generosity of this community— the donors, volunteers, and organizations that have made 12 years of saving lives possible!  The Edna House community is truly something to behold. I am honored to write this letter, addressing all the generous supporters that make The Edna House mission possible. I thank you for being a part of it, and I ask you to continue.

The Edna House started in 2004 after Nancy O’Donnell and I met a woman struggling with alcoholism who wanted to be sober, but her living situation made it nearly impossible. We tried to find a treatment center for her, but without $1,500 cash, a referral from the justice system or private insurance, she had no options.  The inspiration for The Edna House was born out of this experience. The only requirement for admission to the Edna House is the desire to get sober – regardless of a woman’s ability to pay. We do not take private insurance or government funding. Your generosity makes this opportunity possible for those who would otherwise have little, if any, options.

Our mission is simple – to give a woman a chance at a new life by providing a safe, sober place to live. She does the work, we provide the chance. This simple approach has proven extremely effective - 85% of the women who complete our program get sober and stay sober. Completion of the program is essential for continued sobriety.

We are making an impact, you are making an impact. Let’s continue. You are a part of a mission that is working.

In times of confusion, death and an opiate epidemic, we know what to do.  We know how to help. We must continue to do so.  Women, families, children, our society need us to stay the course and be there for those most in need.

At the beginning of each board meeting, we pray.  We pray for the woman, the one woman most in need.  The woman who has the desire to change, but she does not have the means.  It is no exaggeration to say her life may hang in the balance. She may be dying to get in.  Her family waits in desperation and prays for help.  They constantly fear her death. We pray for that woman.  The Edna House started with a desire to help one woman.  Thanks to you, we have helped nearly 1,000 women.  Please continue to help us make this possible.

- Erin Becker, Co-Founder and Board Chair

 

Alumnae Spotlight – Sarah M.

Being newly sober, all of my emotions were raw and I was extremely uncomfortable.  About a month after I had arrived at the Edna House, I went to the chapel and just cried.  I cried like I had never been able to before, and I asked God to help me.  I told Him I’d do anything – just please help me.  I was surrendering my will and my life over to the care of God.

A few days later, I realized that I wasn’t obsessing over things that were once bothering me.  I finally believed I would be ok.  I listened in group to the wonderful sober women and absorbed their wisdom they shared based on their own experiences.  Because of God, the AA Program and the Edna House, I have learned not only to live a sober life, but a good life.

I have made great strides at repairing my relationships with my family.  At one point, my addiction forced my mother to tell me , “Don’t ever call me again.”  It was a devastating blow, but it forced me to take responsibility for myself and grow up.  Today I have so much gratitude for her and for the courage it took for her to do that.  My mom and I are closer today than we have ever been.  The major difference from the past versus the present is that I see how much I took her love, compassion and help for granted.  And today we talk three times a day!

Since completing the program last February, I have stayed connected to the Edna House – facilitating groups and now sponsoring three women.  In short – I am giving back what was freely given to me.

Thank you to everyone who supports this program that has changed my life and given me back to my family!

– Sarah M., President, Edna House Alumni Association

 

Edna Insider – June 2016

Info in this month’s newsletter about our upcoming Beach Bash – Appreciation day for volunteers on June 18 and Recovery Race on August 21

Read the online version here:

https://vr2.verticalresponse.com/#/emails/13194139584718/preview

or Download the pdf here:

Edna Insider June 2016

Good News Giving Award Recipient

Thank you to all Plain Dealer Subscribers who voted for the Edna House as your favorite charity in Cleveland.  The Edna House was named one of the top 10 charities in Northeast Ohio and will receive a cash award as well as free publicity throughout 2016 in the Plain Dealer, cleveland.com and the Sun Newspapers.

Serenity Shop @ Edna Boutique

The Edna Boutique carries a full line of spiritual and recovery-themed items including:

  • anniversary coins
  • jewelry
  • clothing
  • greeting cards
  • books

Customized and special orders available.  Choose from our current inventory or order from our catalog for delivery within 2 weeks. One more way to save some money while helping save lives at the Edna Boutique! Store Hours:  Monday – Thursday noon-6pm | Friday – Saturday 10am-6pm | Sunday 11am-3pm

Alumnae Spotlight

WDominicae are pleased to announce that we have our first college intern working at The Edna House for Women:  our very own alumna, Dominica Galati!  

Dominica is currently enrolled in Cleveland State University’s School of Social Work. She hopes to have a career in chemical dependency and/or the criminal justice system helping others to overcome their past and begin a brighter future.

Dominica has remained connected to The Edna House as a volunteer group facilitator and giving residents rides to meetings since she completed our program.  “That’s how I stay sober…it really is!” she says.  She also volunteers at the Rape Crisis Center and is an active member of her community in Lakewood

Alumnae Spotlight

On March 30-31, 2015, Ohio’s 2015 Conference on Opiates and Other Drugs was hosted by the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. This conference brought together a variety of professionals from across Ohio to learn about opiates and other drugs in Ohio and continue developing solutions in practices and communities.

Founder and Board Chair, Erin Becker joins Nicky Kelly  at the Conference on Opiates and Other Drugs

Founder and Board Chair, Erin Becker joins Nicky Kelly at the Conference on Opiates and Other Drugs

Our very own Nicky Kelly was a keynote speaker at the event.  She shared her experience, strength and with nearly 1,000 people!

If you would like to read more information about the conference, including downloadable presentation materials, check out their web page:

http://www.oacbha.org/ohios_2015_conference_on_opia.php

Alumnae Expressions

By now you have no doubt read or heard the news:  There’s an epidemic of addiction to drugs and alcohol that is rampant in our community.   Unintentional drug overdose deaths have increased exponentially in the last decade, both nationally and statewide. In Ohio, there has been a 366% increase in drug overdose deaths from 2000 to 2012. 
Unintentional drug overdoses caused 1,914 deaths in 2012 in Ohio. From the start of 2014 through October, heroin alone killed 160 people in Cuyahoga County. The county’s heroin death total from October 2013 to October 2014 was 212.  These are our Sons, our Daughters, our Sisters and Brothers, our Mothers and Fathers, our Friends.

The Edna House for Women is busy fighting the battle, giving women a chance to recover, but we need YOUR HELP.  We provide food, shelter, and sobriety services to women in need regardless of their ability to pay. We are a grass-roots organization with our basic guiding principle of one woman helping another…helping another…helping another. Over 85% of the women who have completed our program are sober today.

Program fees are kept to a bare minimum to make them extremely affordable while allowing the women the dignity and value added by empowering them to contribute to their own care.  We charge only $100/month for the first 90 days; then $375/month once they are gainfully employed.  Women unable to pay for Phase I can pay it back once they start working.  To give you a frame of reference:  Glenbeigh and Hazelden charge over $1000/DAY!

Our costs per woman is roughly 500/month, so what we ask the residents to pay only offsets this amount.  The balance of our operating costs are funded entirely by private donations and grants.  No tax dollars are spent here.  Our annual budget is roughly $250,000.

We first opened in 2004 with a tiny house serving 3 women, and how have 4 facilities which are home to roughly 50 women at any given time.  Our goal is to double in size within the next year. Our generous donors such as your self are vital to our ability to help as many women possible, toward keeping our doors open, and to our continued growth.   

Please consider giving, every little bit helps.  If we save one life, it’s enough.

Kristi Fretter, Edna Alumni, 2009

From the Director

Dear Friends of the Edna House,

 It has been another amazing year of growth here at the Edna House! We are excited to share with you how your donations are making a direct impact on the women in our community, and how your donation today will help us meet their needs in the coming year.. “It’s a Wonderful Life” that you’ve helped create for the women of the Edna House and their families.

What would life be like for these women if there were no Edna House?  The life of a practicing alcoholic/addict is one of despair, hopelessness, shame and untimely death.  Last year 194 people died as a direct result of an overdose in the Cleveland area (See the October issue of Cleveland Magazine at clevelandmagazine.com). How many more mothers, fathers and children would have cried at their loved-one’s graves had the Edna House not been there to give these women a chance to not only recover, but to thrive?

You are the hero in this story!

 The mission of the Edna House is to provide a safe, sober environment to help women pave a path for a brighter, stronger future by helping women become a productive member of society – just like you! To make that possible, we must raise $400 per month for each woman who comes to us for help. A portion of those funds come from program fees, fundraisers and now grants but, without your contribution The Edna House would fall far short of helping as many women as we have over the last 10 years.

Each year, the Edna House is able to positively impact the lives of about 200 women and their families. Of those who have completed the program, 85% are still sober today – some with 10 years or more of continuous sobriety! In 2014 we also began our Job Skills Development Program and our Trauma Recovery groups, which have enriched our exceptionally successful curriculum and have helped to increase our completion rate by 5%.

For the past several years we have maintained full capacity, with a waiting list sometimes reaching twenty women who are forced to wait from six to eight weeks.  We are currently seeking out additional properties to enable us to boost our capacity to help address this life-threatening issue.

Please, close your eyes for a minute, and imagine the transformation you can make possible in the life of a woman simply by giving again during this Holiday Season. I am certain the joy you will bring to her and her family will be returned to you ten-fold. Can we count on you to help us give the gift of A Wonderful Life in the coming year?

In the pages of this booklet you will read about some real-life miracles.  You can clearly see lives full of possibility where was once only despair. I would love to meet each of you and personally thank you for all the good things you have made possible for the women of the Edna House and their families.

Wishing you a Wonderful Life in 2015,

Andrea DeBiasio, Executive Director

Job Skills Development Program

Emily Berry officially joined our team in April of 2014 to head up our Job Skills Development Program.  Prior to her hire, she spent a full year in volunteer service at the Edna House and has endeared herself to all of us.  She was officially inducted into our Alumni Association in September 2014 as an Honorary Alumni.

As a volunteer, her business degree from Cleveland State was put to good use as Emily helped to get The Edna Boutique off the ground and to create the Job Skills Development Program.  Her passion and dedication were so strong that it was a unanimous decision to bring her on board in an official capacity, and she has truly blossomed since.

The Job Skills Development Program has become in integral part of our curriculum, helping to prepare our women for the working world.  Many of our residents have spotty job histories, have little experience in the working world, and/or lack the confidence to secure employment.  The Job Skills Development Program attends to all of these needs, as well as ensuring that each resident without a high school diploma has the opportunity to attain her GED.

The Job Skills Development Program curriculum includes training in typing, email, internet research, Microsoft Office applications, resume building and interviewing skills.  The six week curriculum incorporates classes of 6 – 10 women at a time who have been in our program for at least 30 days and are beginning to prepare to move to Phase II where they seek outside employment.  Community volunteers have emerged as guest speakers, resume writers, and mock-interview “employers.”  It has provided yet another way for women in the community to be involved with The Edna House.

We have collaborated with St. Colman’s Parish to utilize their existing computer lab which has served to strengthen our ties in the parish community as well as keep our costs to a minimum.  Emily has done a fantastic job in networking and making the most of our resources.

The difference it has made in the ladies’ self-esteem is a tangible thing.   They are required to dress professionally while attending classes, and the difference it makes in their confidence level as they begin job searching is amazing.  The quality of employment has increased while the time it takes to land a job has decreased.

Hats off to Emily for all of your hard work and dedication, and welcome officially to the Edna House Family!