Magdalene Serenity House supporters, volunteers, founders, residents and graduates gathered Sept. 28 for the nonprofit organization's Rebuilding H.E.R. (Heal. Empower. Recover.) celebration at the Fayetteville Public Library Event Center.
Magdalene Serenity House helps "rebuild the lives of women who have experienced trauma, sexual exploitation, addiction and incarceration through safe housing, long-term support and community partnerships."
Rebuilding H.E.R. is an opportunity for the group to "celebrate graduates in their achievements toward healing and recovery and thank the volunteers and supporters who make their success in rebuilding their lives possible," organizers say.
Lisa Kelley, senior MSH resident, shared with guests her story that began with a domestic violence attack that led to an addiction to pain medication and eventually prison. She's been at MSH for a year and a half, "and it's been an amazing journey. They've helped me heal from the inside out. Most importantly, they helped me know my worth. I am enough. I don't need validation from anyone else."
The group lauded their 2023 graduate, Crystal Shoffit, "who has fully and successfully reintegrated into the community and regained a relationship with her son."
Excellence in Rebuilding H.E.R. awards were presented to:
Hannah and Greg Lee -- Outstanding Supporters;
Joan Beyette -- Outstanding Volunteer; and
The Smokehouse Players, Outstanding Community Partner.
Elizabeth Richardson Center
That same evening, Elizabeth Richardson Center supporters gathered at Mermaids in Fayetteville to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the nonprofit organization's founding.
"Tonight, we are honoring the past, acknowledging the present and setting our sights on the future," Kim Aaron, executive director told those gathered. "Earlier this year the board tweaked its mission statement and established a new vision. We're looking to a future in which we can serve more people through creative programming that moves each client to their highest level of independence. We want our clients to have choices."
The group serves children and adults with disabilities in Washington, Benton and Madison counties. For adults, the group provides vocational training, job placement, community involvement and independent living options.
"In its 60 years of working in the NWA community, ERC has always sought to serve where needs are greatest. During the strategic planning process earlier this year, the Board determined that the highest opportunity for programmatic impact is with older teens and adults. Many of ERC's clients start with ERC in their late teens or early 20s and may be served by the organization for the rest of their lives."
Their new mission is, "To create opportunities, outcomes, and lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities." While the new vision is "A future in which individuals with intellectual disabilities will transition seamlessly through significant life milestones."
For more event photos -- nwaonline.com/photos/society.
Columnist Carin Schoppmeyer can be reached by email at [email protected].
At a Glance
Who: Magdalene Serenity House
What: Rebuilding H.E.R. is an opportunity for the group to "celebrate graduates in their achievements toward healing and recovery and thank the volunteers and supporters who make their success in rebuilding their lives possible."
When: Sept. 28
Where: Fayetteville Public Library Event Center
Information: (479) 301-2326
60th Anniversary Celebration
Who: Elizabeth Richardson Center
What: "Tonight, we are honoring the past, acknowledging the present and setting our sights on the future," Kim Aaron, executive director told those gathered.
When: Sept. 28
Where: Mermaids in Fayetteville
Information: (479) 858-1373 or ercinc.org