First year at Project Hope has been rewarding

First year at Project Hope has been rewarding

I knew Project Hope for Women & Children was a special place from the moment I first walked through the door one year ago. It is about more than addiction treatment and recovery; it is about hope.

Last winter, we celebrated the opening of Project Hope in a very public way. Several hundred of our closest friends, including community leaders, generous donors and recovery champions, stood behind Marshall Health and Huntington City Mission as we embarked on the first residential treatment facility of its kind in West Virginia. Amid new walls, paint and finishes, Project Hope for Women & Children welcomed its first family on Dec. 26, 2018.

We soon welcomed more mothers and their children into our care, and our intensive, person-centered programming, including individualized treatment, counseling, parenting, education and work plans, began to transform and build a very unique recovery community. Each family works toward what they specifically need to be successful. For some, that might mean getting back into a gym or finding a new church. Clients not only reside at Project Hope; they engage in a range of activities, including meal preparation and cooking classes, budgeting, family arts and crafts with community volunteers and self-care activities to celebrate new births and birthdays. They have also participated in recovery and suicide prevention events throughout the community.

I have worked in substance use and recovery for 13 years and won’t sugarcoat the journey toward long-term recovery. It is hard. It is even harder when you have children who depend and rely on you for their well-being, but that is one of the reasons it is so incredibly rewarding when our clients succeed. During our first year, seven women avoided incarceration, 12 families avoided displacement and three reunifications occurred for mothers who had previously lost custody of their children.

One year later, 25 families have found hope again. Eight women have graduated the program and maintain consistent follow-ups with our counseling team. Two of those women are enrolled in college courses. Twelve clients have secured employment and housing.

For me, our organization’s commitment to family and community is refreshing. I believe that this mindset has helped us build a team of social workers, recovery coaches, residential specialists and therapists at Project Hope who have embraced our clients as family. We have cried with them and celebrated with them. We have shown tough love and compassion. More than anything, though, our staff is empowering women to reach their full potential as mothers and teaching them how to integrate back into the community while maintaining long-term recovery.

This opinion-editorial was originally published in The Herald-Dispatch on January 12, 2020. 


Jessica Tackett

Jessica is director of Project Hope for Women & Children, a residential treatment facility in Huntington.