Community Collaboration Transforms Transitional Houses
Waterfront Recovery Services’ transitional houses are getting a makeover! Heidi Benzonelli of the Jefferson Project is the impetus behind the ADCS Housing Rehab Project that trains WRS graduates living in our transitional houses building repair and maintenance. Pulling together an impressive list of community partners and funding streams, Benzonelli got things started as the Second Chance Program. When COVID hit, everything changed. Seeing the the tremendous impacts of this work, Benzonelli found a way to continue working with transitional house residents. Participants are trained by College of the Redwoods construction trades instructor, Bob Belter and painting trainer, Brian Ingram.
Benzonelli recognizes that “everyone needs housing, food, being safe, being part of a family. We work to make things happen. Each day starts with a meeting and breakfast. Then we’re off to work.” Learning job skills, working as a team and seeing the fruits of their labor give WRS residents a great deal of pride. And the community is noticing the neighborhood improvement, often stopping by to express their appreciation. Benzonelli says 67% of the work crews have gone on to jobs in the trades. An amazing example of community leadership and collaboration!
Food for the Soul
Our kitchen Is an Integral part of the therapeutic offerings at Waterfront Recovery Services. Staff take pride in providing delicious and nutritious meals for residents daily but beyond that, kitchen manager Jesse Pearson has initiated special events for all of the holidays. “We want to show residents healthy ways for celebrations, and that they can still have fun without drugs or alcohol." Jessica Pearson cooks up special treats and brings in decorations to make holidays festive: homemade mole and a piñata for Cinco de Mayo, a special brunch including chocolate dipped strawberries on Mother’s Day, barbecue, cupcakes and fireworks for Fourth of July are examples of some of the fun things that make residents feel like they're part of community.
We Manage the Serenity Inn for Community Members in Need
Alcohol Drug Care Services takes an active role in making life easier for residents of the Serenity Inn with workshops in living skills, collaborating with service providers to do site visits, and our efforts to create a safe space for families. Holiday festivities are a special part of life here. Thanksgiving dinner is a tradition. WRS Director John McManus makes serving Serenity residents part of his holiday every year.