“We are in the business of second chances:” NSU’s partnership with House of Hope

NSU has paired up with a local non-profit, House of Hope, to provide services and support for women who are in the process of recovering from addiction. Through purposeful programs and projects, House of Hope’s mission is to help men and women in need of treatment for substance abuse get the assistance they require to be successful in the community. 

 

Graduate and undergraduate students from the Writing and Communication Center, who utilize their expertise in writing in order to benefit those at House of Hope, are working on a literary series with 40-50 women who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. The program, supported by the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Shanti Bruce, began in January with goals to create a sustained relationship with the organization.

 

“Our motivation is to use writing and literacy practices to help them create new narratives,” said Kelly Concannon, associate professor of writing and communication and faculty coordinator in the Writing and Communication Center.

 

“Many of our people come to us and they have lost most of everything in their lives, including relationships with their families and key people. [We’re] trying to help them figure out where we go from here to be successful when [they] leave and to get a job and develop a life, which would then allow them to try to go back and rebuild some of those relationships,” said Sue Glasscock, CEO at House of Hope.

 

Students have worked on program topics such as “finding your why,” mindfulness through journaling and uncovering problematic behaviors and habits. Future sessions will focus on self-love, empowerment and professional writing, such as creating resumes and cover letters. 

 

The partnership is volunteer-based, but students are still gaining meaningful and beneficial experiences through their involvement, said Concannon. Those involved are able to put the skills they learn in an academic setting into a real life context with real people.

 

“From an administrative perspective, we do a lot of professional development with literacy, etc., but it’s cool for the students to be able to take their knowledge and to use it with real people in the community. I know that’s really empowering for our students,” explained Concannon. Since the students are also female, the experience has also helped “to establish a sense of community of women supporting other women.”

 

Students participating in this program have the opportunity to change lives through building crucial skills and supporting those at House of Hope while they take time to focus on themselves, explained Glasscock.

 

“We are in the business of second chances,” said Glasscock. “People come to us, in large part broken, and have severed many of the relationships that they have in their lives and they’ve made decisions that have often lead to legal difficulties. What we give them is a second chance in life to sit down and figure out where they want to go from here. Our primary goal is to help them address their addiction and addictive behaviors so that they can make better and different choices when they leave.”

 

Currently, only students from the Writing and Communication Center are working on this program at House of Hope, but other students interested in getting involved with the organization are encouraged to reach out to development@houseofhope.org for volunteer opportunities. For more information about House of Hope, visit www.houseofhope.org/.

 

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