PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — A newly certified recovery house, The Blessing Way, in partnership with The Trinity Village, opened its doors on May 1, on East Main Road, with the arrival of the first mother and her child, from a referral.
The new recovery house is focused on providing housing for women in recovery and their young children, seeking to blend services around recovery, treatment and counseling, geared toward helping mothers with young kids to embrace a lifestyle of recovery and healthy living.
On Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 12, there were eight moms and six children living there, according to Holly Cekala, who serves as the chief operating officer for Trinity Healthy Living and the director of development for The Blessing Way.
As a special Mother’s Day gift, all the mothers living at The Blessing Way received a “day at the salon,” courtesy of a local business, which wished to remain anonymous. “When you look good, you feel good,” Cekala said, “It was really nice to see them come home, smiling, looking great.”
The contributions by local businesses are indicative of the strong support that the new recovery home has received from the local community, according to Cekala. A local bank, the People’s Credit Union, is offering some financial wellness class for the mothers. Nutrition classes are planned, working with the Portsmouth Food Pantry, on how to make healthy meals on a budget. Boys Town in Portsmouth will be providing parenting classes. Other local businesses have said that they are willing to serve as job-training sites.
“Sometimes, it feels like I’m building a home economics class – how to sew buttons, how to iron clothes for a job interview, things like that,” Cekala said. She described the women who are currently staying at The Blessing Way as “our frontier pioneer women,” who are the first to help us build this project.
Cekala described the collaborations that are part of the initiative as integral to the effort to make “a great stew,” building a safe village of support, without duplicating services.
“The model that we are building is really exciting,” she continued. “Our investors want to see if it can be duplicated in other states.”
Ribbon cutting ceremony
There will be an official ribbon-cutting “party” to open the new recovery housing facility on Friday morning, May 17, at 10:30 a.m., followed by a reception at St. Barnabas Church, 1697 East Main St. in Portsmouth.
Tom Coderre, senior advisor to Gov. Gina Raimondo and co-chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Overdose Prevention and Intervention, will be attending, representing the Governor.
The Blessing Way recovery housing initiative emphasizes employment, self-sustainability, embracing one’s spiritual path, and financial wellness to complement its other programmatic features, including a licensed daycare facility, parenting classes, and clinical assistance, according to Cekala.
George O’Toole, formerly with Anchor Recovery Community Center and The Providence Plan, has been recruited to serve as the new executive director for the project.
Written by Richard Asinof, editor and publisher of ConvergenceRI, a weekly digital newsletter covering health, science, innovation, technology, research, and community in Rhode Island.