RACINE — Kelly Miller is thankful to be alive. The 49-year-old mother spent years battling addiction and trauma in her life. In February, Kelly enrolled in the Women of Worth (WOW) program, which is offered at Ascension All Saints Hospital.
She said that decision saved her life.
"I think I would be dead. ... They really helped saved my life," said Miller.
On Friday, the handful of women in the program participated in an art class, painting rocks for a garden outside of the counseling center. The classes are part of the therapy process, and for Ashley Beaver, she said it's calming.
"It takes my mind off a lot of things," said Beaver.
The Women of Worth program helps women and mothers in Racine and Kenosha County who are struggling with addiction and mental health issues.
The women undergo six weeks of outpatient treatment followed by 12 weeks of continuing care. The women participate in counseling, therapy, financial classes as well as yoga and art classes. There are also parenting programs and nurturing classes. Program Director Claudia Van Koningsveld said it's all about treating the women as a whole.
"We work with their family. A mom is not going to do well if her children are not doing well. We will help to make sure everyone in the family is taken care of," said Van Koningsveld.
"Being women only, it allows them to feel empowered by their peers, and they are able to open up more," said WOW therapist Jessica Poteat.
The program has helped 230 women, and according to a WOW team survey, almost all of the women have experienced trauma. After completing the program, 61% report a decrease in post-traumatic stress symptoms. According to program organizers, 80% of the women struggling with addiction stop using by the 24th week, and all of the pregnant mothers in the program gave birth to babies born drug free.
"These ladies have gone through some major trauma in their lifetime. They are such survivors," said Van Koningsveld.
Miller hopes to complete her program, restore her family and help inspire other women to overcome their addictions.
"You’re worth it, and change is possible," said Miller.
"These ladies have gone through some major trauma in their lifetime. They are such survivors." — Claudia Van Koningsveld, program director
The program needs art donations, binders and women's products. Monetary donations can be made by clicking here.
For more information, email Claudia at firstname.lastname@example.org.