Wow, what a suprise to my day. Out of nowhere I get a call from an old friend from years back, I guess my number is one of the few that are still connected that she knows. Her real name is not Tammy, so some of you may know who I am writing about today.
Tammy told me that she is now staying at aplace called the Magdeline safe house in Nashville, TN. She told me that it’s a safe place for women to go and get recovery from lives filled with addiction and prostituion. I was shocked, we all knew Tammy as a great girl, one who was smarter and wittier than the average girl. I knew she had a drinking problem, but I had not thought it was as serious as I suppose it was.
Apparently she has lost everything she owned, her husband hasn’t spoken with her in more than ayear, and she ended up homeless sleeping under a bridge for a time, but is now getting rehabilition from the Magdeline center. I had not thought that Tammy would ever be having sex for money, and hse did not say that she had either. But she did say that the safe place she is now staying is giving her hope and she she is now taking an antidepressant which is keeping her from wanting to drink.
So I did some reasearch today about the Magdeline center and found that they have a whopper of a mission statement / goals that makes me wonder if it is even possible to do what they are doing.
Apparenlty they depend on private donations and do not get any government funding. The program they are using seems to be working for a majority of the women that get their assistance, and I look forward to learning more about this place, Here is some of what I found interesting on the web..
Thistle Farms – Thistle Farms creates natural and organic handmade healing products that are as kind to the environment as they are to the body. We also have our own organic lavender field from which our lavender products are made. Our balms, candles, sachets, eye pillows, bath salts and body scrub are made with the purest ingredients including cotton wicks, soybean based ecowax, sea salt and virgin olive oil and then placed in recyclable containers.
There is an article at the Christian Science Monitor that made me think the program may be over god / christian centered than a lot of people in the world of the streets may find distancing, but a quote from the main Priest(ess)..
Religion is not a required element.
“If you are talking to people who have been in hell, they are on a spiritual path you need to be respectful of,” Stevens says. “They are more honest than most people and have a lot to teach. You don’t want people to think you have a Bible in your hand and something up your sleeve.”
makes me think that this is held at bay for those who need it, and that may be one of the keys to it’s success.
From Vanderbilt.edu – ST Augustines
Founded by The Rev. Becca Stevens in 1996, Magdalene provides sanctuary, along with an array of support services and educational opportunities, for women who have a significant history of prostitution and chemical dependency. Developed primarily as a safe house for prostitutes, Magdaleneâ€™s residential program provides long-term and secure housing as a haven from the social and economic factors that drive women to prostitution.
In addition to providing transitional housing and meals for up to two years, Magdalene services include: chemical dependency treatment; technical training, job skill programs and tuition assistance; legal support and intervention; medical and dental assistance; transportation; and life skill building, e.g. money management, health and wellness, spiritual retreats.
Magdalene opened its first house in August of 1997 with volunteers from St. Augustine’s chapel and invited five women to come and participate in the program. Our second house opened in April of 1998 and our third house opened in the summer of 2000. Our newest house, Sanctuary, located on the corner of Booker and Lena, was dedicated on Oct. 15, 2004. We currently serve more than twenty women in our houses as well as serve numerous women as affiliates. More information about Magdalene is available at www.thistlefarms.org.
There are many ways to get involved to support Magdalene â€“ from providing transportation and tutoring to helping out at a Community Work Day. For more information, contact Stacye Wilson at email@example.com.
Out & About Newspaper reported that the 2006 production of the vagina monolugues in Nashville benefited the Magdalene house, and here is the amazing story I found that offers a glimpse into the window of their world, and an excerpt of the goals that made me wonder:
Magdalene House is a two year recovery program, with the following goals:
Recovery from alcohol and drug addiction
Legal employment at a living wage
Safe, permanent housing
Improved physical, emotional, and spiritual health
Reunification with family
Improved social functioning
I was suprised to see the list of homeless shelters listed at HUD for TN.