Flint, MI—Serenity House Communities (SHC) unveiled its new center in Flint on March 23.
With the move to its new location on 1019 Church St., the nonprofit organization is expanding its programs and operations for supporting people recovering from substance use disorder, codependency and trauma.
“This has been a long time coming,” Tara Moreno-Wallen, founder and executive director of SHC, told Flint Beat. “We have been wanting a location that would fit our needs to be kind of like a home for people in recovery, where they can just stop [by], talk to somebody if they need help, if they need anything.”
The organization, she noted, focuses on providing a place where people with lived experience gather and connect, along with “holistic practices” like meditation, yoga and acupuncture.
Moren-Wallen, who was born and raised in Flint, said she herself is in long-term recovery. The executive director noted that she first established the organization in 2015 to “bring some light and hope to the community.”
“I wanted to let people know that we can recover from any state and be better than we were before,” Moreno-Wallen said.
Meanwhile, the new programs at SHC include art for recovery and Kundalini yoga, Moreno-Wallen explained. It has also added peer recovery coaches to advance SHC’s work.
One of SHC’s recovery coaches is Jennifer Woods. Woods, who is also a Lapeer County program coordinator at SHC, said she’s been in recovery herself for more than nine and a half years.
A recovery coach like herself can help individuals rebuild skills for daily living, whether it be paying the bills or grocery shopping, she said.
“We can physically walk side-by-side with people and show them how to regain those skills in their lives and it’s called recovery capital,” Woods said. “Some people come in with a fair amount and others come in with next to nothing.”
Her colleague Robin Dison, also an SHC recovery coach, added that connecting others to resources like housing, clinical treatment and recovery meetings are all part of their role as recovery coaches.
“You can just be that somebody,” Dison said. “You might be the only person that they’ve ever trusted, that first person that they can actually trust.”
For Dison, it’s been a little over a year and a half since she’s been clean from opiates, noting that she, “went down a pretty bad rabbit hole after I lost my husband 14 years ago.”
“I decided … that I was just going to make a change and make my life better and my kids deserved it,” she said. “They deserve their mom back, and I’ve just gone full speed ahead.”
Being a recovery coach at SHC is part of her journey of recovery, she explained.
“The healing that takes place, you can feel it,” Dison said. “You can just feel it in the air.”