Initiatives continue to grow for Red Legacy Recovery

Published 5:57 pm Friday, February 10, 2017

Star Photo/Curtis Carden                           Red Legacy Recovery Executive Director Carolyn Shrader gives a document for a client to sign.

Star Photo/Curtis Carden
Red Legacy Recovery Executive Director Carolyn Shrader gives a document for a client to sign.

It’s a never-ending mission for one local recovery center.
The days are long but rewarding for the staff, according to Red Legacy Recovery Executive Director Carolyn Shrader, as the organization assists with individuals from all across Northeast Tennessee.
“Red Legacy currently has 282 women enrolled from the surrounding five counties,” Shrader said. “Our mission is to empower women in east Tennessee with the skills they need to begin a new life in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. We strive to equip each woman with the tools to be self-sufficient, self-confident and employed.”
Since taking her position, the various accounts and stories heard has been an eye-opening experience, Shrader said.
“I took the position of executive director in April 2015,” she explained. “Since working with the women enrolled at Red Legacy, I have learned so much. My heart goes out to these women. Recovery requires so much more than is offered at most recovery centers. I want to support our members to be successful in their recovery. They need assistance with housing, clothing, hygiene products, food, transportation in addition to recovery skills.”
Red Legacy Recovery opened in 2012 with the initiative to help women that were incarcerated due to drug-related charges by holding meetings inside the center to work on self-help skills.
After noticing women lost contact following their release, Red Legacy applied for funding in 2013 through the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse to become a provider of addiction recovery services — a trait that still continues to this day.
The facility offers classes on recovery skills and life-skill training every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m. and also host AA/NA and Alanon/Naranon meetings weekly that are opening to the public.
But as the days went on, the staff discovered they needed to do more than just provide meetings, according to Shrader.
“While serving women in our community, it became evident that recovery is so much more than just attending classes and AA,” she said. “Most of the women we serve were fresh out of the detention center or a recovery center. Many of them had no clothes, hygiene products, food or even a safe place to sleep. It became clear we had to be much more than just a recovery center.”
A hygiene and clothes closet was soon started to help women receive needed items, causing the creation of the facility’s thrift store in 2014, which is also still in operation. The store and hygiene closet both operate from donated items through the community.
Along with items, transportation services were added in 2013 that allowed members to travel for job interviews, access services and attend any necessary meeting. Case management services was added in 2014 while a licensed therapist also assists at the facility and sees women through Red Legacy at no charge.
Along with assisting women, Red Legacy is working to address the issue of homelessness in the county.
“I quickly noticed about 50 percent of women we enrolled were homeless,” she said. “Many of them were homeless after leaving a treatment facility. I have seen so many of them trying their best to beat their addiction, but so many hurdles are in front of them and many of them have lost the support of their family due to their addiction.”
During the 2017 homeless count put on by Appalachian Regional Coalition for Homelessness (ARCH), it was discovered that 22 people were classified as homeless according to guidelines put in place by the government.
“Looking to the future, we are currently working to become an emergency food pantry for not just our women but our community,” Shrader said. “We have at least three to four homeless community members reach out to us each month for assistance. We are currently reaching out to our community leaders and fellow service providers to attempt to implement a white flag shelter. This would allow shelter for individuals on bitterly cold nights.”
The public is encouraged to contribute if possible to the facility.
Shrader added that anybody looking to assist can contact the facility at (423) 297-1230 or mail donations to 713 East Elk Ave., Elizabethton, TN 37643.
Along with potential monetary donations, the facility is also accepting items to be used for the future.
“Hygiene products and nonperishable food can also be dropped off at our office,” she said. “We appreciate all donations.”

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