Jessie is a Peer Recovery Coach for the Women’s Specialty Program at Home of New Vision.
“I had no idea this is what I wanted to do, but I got into recovery 4 years ago, and Home of New Vision was actually the transitional housing that I moved into, when I had nowhere to go. Two years went by and then I got a phone call from Sundae Maas and she told me that I had an interview at 4:00 that day. “Get here,” she said. So I said OK and I’ve been here for almost two years now. The job literally just fell into my lap. Then I started school and became a mom while working here.
“Most of our clients are between 25 and 35 years old, on average. What I do is I will sit down with a client and find out what their recovery would look like, ideally, for them. I help them navigate, find meetings depending on what is best for them, because we do advocate multiple pathways of recovery. Depending on what their interests are I might take them to a meeting like Recovery Dharma, or SMART Recovery, or an AA or NA meeting. There are all kinds of meetings in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, so I will get them a list. Also, there are new moms who may not be able to get out, so I’ll set them up with online meetings. Basically, set them up with resources and help them set goals for themselves, and I check in with them regularly to see if they need help from me. I help them build a community of support by connecting them with available services.
“We work with a very delicate population: women with substance use disorder who have children under the age of 18. Often, I’ll work with a mother who’s trying to figure out if she can get custody back, if she’s fighting for the rights of her child. It’s challenging to help them navigate that, to get them to meetings and maintain their recovery while they have all this legal stuff going on. Getting a child back when you’re new in recovery is very, very difficult, so helping them to navigate that. It’s very rewarding but also very challenging, to see the struggle and to see both the good outcomes and the bad.
“There are so many women that I’ve seen in all the time I’ve been here and there are some that are total and complete miracles, and there are some where you just couldn’t believe the outcomes if you didn’t see them yourself. Watching those stories unfold is just astounding, and it’s a blessing, one of the many that I get to see. That makes the hard days worth it. ”