Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: Eden House – A lot can happen in a year!

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One of the main things I have learned from spending time with and around the recovery community while at Eden House is that time is only one means of marking progress.  Individuals engaging in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) receive accolades, sometimes food, and often a chip marking various calendar milestones along the path of recovery.  These tangible markers both of time working the program and living substance free can be beautiful things.

I have had the honor of being present for the awarding of several residents first 24-hour chips – in the context of Eden House, these chips often mark both the first 24 hours completely substance free but also the resident’s first 24 hours as a part of Eden House.  Last week I was fortunate to be part of a different awarding.  On March 6th, the Eden House community celebrated our first resident reaching her 1 year anniversary of being at Eden House.  To honor this moment and all she has been through, the resident chose to turn around and award our Executive Director with 1 year sobriety chip that had been awarded to her by the NA community.  It was a beautiful celebration of the life of this organization and the lives of all the women who are a part of it – but more than anything it brought me back to the idea with which I started this post – time is only one means of marking progress.

AA chips read – “To Thine Own Self be True … Unity, Recovery, Service” and the backs of the coins are imprinted with the Serenity Prayer.  More than anything the progress the recovery community holds up is internal – it is about a fundamental transformation of the way each of us is going to engage with the world and the people we come in contact with on a daily basis.  Recovery is not primarily about demarcations of time, but about a conscious way of living and interacting.

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Serenity Prayer

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Just for today.

Though Eden House is a non-faith-based program, we are deeply spiritually informed and the serenity prayer serves as the backbone of recovery and of the work being done by every member of the Eden House community – staff and resident alike.  We begin and end daily meditation with these words.  For me, I have had to rely on different aspects of the prayer during different moments of my time at Eden House – sometimes needing to step back and breathe, other times needing to harness my inner “bulldog” and take charge.  The serenity prayer has spoken to all of the challenges and celebrations I have experienced while at Eden House, but above all it has served to remind me to take the work we are doing one day at a time.

Eden House in the News

Eden House Executive Director, Kara Van de Carr and Resident Director, Clemmie Greenlee were interviewed by WWL-Channel 4 last week.  To watch the full interview, click here.

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Ways to Get Involved With Eden House

Eden House Internships:
Eden House is looking for summer interns!  If you are interested in working at Eden House this summer, please email Maggie at info@edenhousenola.org.  To read our current intern spotlights, visit our Facebook page.

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Eden House’s beautiful backyard!

Volunteer Day:
Join us on Sunday, April 6, 2014 from 11:00-3:00 pm for the Spring Gardening Day at Eden House! Our Fall gardening day was a huge success and we are excited to continue to transform the backyard! We are accepting donations of plants, mulch, etc for the garden. Contact assistant@edenhousenola.org for more information.

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We are thrilled for our new partnership with The New Orleans Healing Center! The Healing Center will provide our residents with gym access, physical therapy, massage therapy, access to nutrition/cooking classes and many more incredible services!

Donations:
Thank you for all of your generous donations of clothing, shoes, and accessories. Our closet is currently full but we still need the following items:

  • New or like new car or van to transport residents to doctors visits and other services.
  • Mini-Split Heat and AC Pumps
  • Bicycles
  • Armoires
  • Bookshelves
  • Outdoor Furniture
  • Label Maker
  • Printer Paper
  • Artwork
  • RTA Monthly Street Car passes (available at Walgreens)
  • Dishtowels

If you would like to make a donation, please contact Helen at assistant@edenhousenola.org

Eden House is a groundbreaking non-profit facility in New Orleans, Louisiana, offering long-term housing and services to survivors of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.  We are the first of our kind in the state of Louisiana. Our two-year residential program offers a holistic approach to recovery including housing, food, mental and physical healthcare, job training, and education. Eden House provides a safe haven empowering survivors to overcome their pasts, develop substantive skills to move forward in their lives by becoming self-sufficient, flourishing members of society. Please visit http://www.edenhousenola.org to learn more.

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