by Sharon Dargay, hometownlife.com
Grace Centers of Hope in Pontiac offers a free, year-long residential program for substance abusers.
But it’s often the last place an addict wants to be.
“Grace Centers of Hope is usually the last stop for people. Most of our residents have been to numerous rehabs and there are numerous reasons for that,” said Melissa Aupperle, director of donor relations. “People want a quick fix. If you’ve been an alcoholic all your life, a three-day program is not going to cut it.
“A lot of people want to do a short-term program and they think one year is too long. We’ve found it important for people to dedicate a year of their life.”
Aupperle admits the program isn’t for everyone. Men who are employed often are reluctant to give up a job in exchange for working on their sobriety. Some prefer a secular environment.
“We’re a faith-based program and we don’t apologize for that,” she said. “We believe it’s the hurts of the heart that cause someone to use drugs. We try to heal the hurts of the heart and we believe in taking a Christian approach.
“We’re building a community. It’s not just a facility.”
The organization runs separate year-long residential rehabilitation programs for both men and women. The women and children’s center has 106 beds and the men’s has 60 beds, along with a few private rooms. There’s also an emergency shelter for individuals and families. Hands of Hope Childcare Center offers day care for newborns through age 2, preschool for 3- and 4-year-old children and educational and recreational programs for children of parents involved in the organization’s programs. Little Grace Village consists of several single- and multi-family homes on a nearby street. Graduates of the residential rehab programs can rent the houses while involved in “after care” programs.
“One thing we’re passionate about here is reuniting families,” Aupperle said. “Lives rescued, families restored, hope renewed is the tagline we’ve used.”
In addition to Bible studies, twice-weekly church services and Christian-based counseling, the organization offers a “comprehensive life skills program” to rehab participants.
“We focus on the whole person, not just the addiction. We want them to adopt healthy habits,” Aupperle said. Nutrition information, exercise, parenting in sobriety and job-hunting skills help program graduates become “healthy, productive citizens.”
“People are busy here,” she said. “They’re also volunteering in a variety of ways. We have four thrift stores where they volunteer and gain retail experience.”
With no medical professionals on staff, the organization refers participants to other agencies for medical needs and psychological assessments.
Grace Centers of Hope draws men and women from throughout Michigan for its year-long program. The average age of participants was mid-40s for many years, but now the program sees more 18- to 30-year-olds.
Graduates who relapse after leaving the program are encouraged to return for another 30 or 60 days in residential rehabilitation.
“We don’t have bars on the doors and they are free to go if they feel the program isn’t right for them,” she said. “When people come here, there are no surprises. They know what our parameters are. They know we’re faith-based. They know the ground rules up front.”
Grace Centers of Hope offers its residential drug rehabilitation program free to participants. The organization is funded by grants, private donations and fundraising events. Major events include the Women Helping Women luncheon and fashion show in April, the David Mardigian Hope in One Memorial Golf Classic in June and the Night of Hope gala in November.
Early tickets are available through Jan. 31 for the fashion show, luncheon and silent auction, scheduled for April 21 at the Royal Park Hotel in downtown Rochester. Cost for individual admission is $90. For more information, go to gracecentersofhope.org.
Story originally appeared on Hometownlife.com.