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Women have ‘hope for the future’ with Dove Recovery House

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Dove Recovery House plans to use a $340,000 grant from Lilly Endowment to hire more people, increase salaries and provide more resources for clients.

Dove Recovery House has helped women become substance free and self-sufficient for 20 years. The organization serves women who struggle with substance use disorder and have experienced abuse and homelessness.

The organization provides free housing to its clients for up to two years. During their stay the women are given food, therapy, relapse prevention, parenting and finance classes and “hope for the future,” Wendy Noe, CEO of Dove Recovery House, said.

Those who are part of the program also attend weekly therapy sessions and work with their case manager on goals they have.

The organization has two locations: one in Indianapolis, which serves 40 women each night, and another in Jasper that serves 15 women each night.

Noe joined the company eight years ago and said she’s “always identified as a feminist and believed in women’s rights and wanting to advocate for them.”

Noe has worked with women’s nonprofits for 22 years, including the Julian Center, Domestic Violence Network and Indiana University’s Cancer Center.

“It’s been a joy to really help shift that narrative around substance use disorder,” Noe said. “That’s been a big passion of mine, is helping people to understand that, you know, a person doesn’t just wake up one day and become a drug addict; there’s something that comes before that.”

Noe believes trauma is usually the “gateway drug” for many people who have substance use disorder.

According to Noe, 70.5% of women successfully completed the program or were on track to complete and 82% reunite with their family.

Kristy Shene, a peer recovery case manager for Dove Recovery House, has seen that success in her own life.

The 36-year-old grew up with her mother, three sisters and step-father in Greencastle, where she was the only person of color in her household and one of the few people of color in her community. Her biological father lived in another state and was murdered when she was 15 years old.

According to Shene, no one in her home knew how to communicate or handle their emotions.

“I learned what not to do at home when I was a child,” Shene said.

At 17 years old, Shene began to use marijuana and Soma, a muscle relaxer. Shene was taken to the doctor by her mother to be prescribed the medication and they both would misuse it.

Shene also used cocaine for four years and during that time she was in and out of jail.

Shene was ordered in court to go to Dove Recovery House in 2013 and stayed in the program for six months before leaving. Although Shene didn’t complete the program the first time, she made the decision to go back in 2015.

“When I thought about where I should be if I was going to change my life, the only place that I could think about was Dove House,” Shene said.

The second time, Shene stayed with the program from November 2015 until July 2017. Shene said she struggled with her mental health in the beginning and stayed to herself, but she got better by attending therapy and meeting with her peer recovery case manager.

Shene received a service position with Narcotics Anonymous and worked at Dove Recovery House’s kitchen on Sundays, putting away groceries. She also started college at Ivy Tech.

After finishing the program in 2017 she moved in with her then fiancé, got a job and finished school. Shene graduated in the top 6% of her class at Ivy Tech, where she received her associate degree in human services and social work.

Shene began working with Dove Recovery in November 2019 and within three months was promoted to being a peer recovery case manager.

“I have a life today that I had not imagined for myself,” Shene said.

Contact staff writer Timoria Cunningham at 317-762-7854 or by email timoriac@indyrecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @_timoriac.

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