A Note From Bev O’Donnell
When I first approached Nanci with my idea for Stepping Stones, a new service that could be offered under the umbrella of WakeUp Carolina, she was very curious and receptive. I told her that my vision was that Stepping Stones would be the first next step for women being released from the Addiction Treatment Unit, which is part of the South Carolina Department of Corrections. I was surprised to learn that women are incarcerated at a higher percentage than men for drug-related crimes, but there are far fewer re-entry programs available to them. These women come from all socioeconomic backgrounds and races. Sadly, substance use disorder does not discriminate.
Stepping Stones would be that next step for the women once they have graduated from a six-month intensive recovery program within the prison. The women that would qualify for the program would be those with no resources and no family support. Many folks dealing with substance use disorder do a really good job of burning bridges with family members and friends. Our goal is to provide these women with sober living options and other necessities to help them continue on the road to long-term recovery and hopefully one day repair those relationships.
Fast forward one month and we have already assisted two women on their path to the next right thing. Because of generous community support we have been able to provide them with phones and phone cards. This is so important for them as we all deal with Covid-19. Most recovery meetings are held through online venues and the phones also give them access to a peer support specialist team member from WakeUp Carolina who will continue to guide them in the recovery process. We have also partnered with a church in Columbia that provides women with much-needed clothing. These women are coming out with not even the bare necessities. They are given one outfit and nothing else. We also provide toiletries and food for the first couple of weeks until they can secure work. Just getting these women in a position to exist is daunting at times, but I can tell you it means the world to these women. They really want to succeed and with the small things that we are doing they have the confidence to press forward. I am in contact with both women and they are both thriving. Both have said there is no way this would have been possible without the help we have been able to give to them through WakeUp and Stepping Stones.
If anyone wants to know more about the Steppingstones program or how you can help you can call or e-mail me or Nanci at (843) 972-8154. We are happy to go into more detail. It is hard to describe the emotion that goes along with helping these women but trust me it is profound. Doing so little can be so much!
My name is Kristin Deaton I was released from prison on the 1st of September of 2020. Stepping Stones made a tremendous difference and impact on my life from greeting me upon being released to driving me to Asheville NC where I now live. Also, making sure I had bed linen for the Oxford House I live in as well as making sure I had clothes and food to start my new life. Stepping Stones was truly a Godsend. I encourage each woman trying to live a life of recovery that needs help with absolutely anything to contact Stepping Stones. It was able to put me on the path to start a new life in recovery. Thank you.
Stepping Stones is a great organization. They have helped me with a peer support specialist who has given me encouragement in my recovery. They have helped me so much by helping me put the pieces of my life back together. I feel safe for the first time in a long time and hopeful for my future. Lindsey