Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sheffield Place Graduation

Sheffield Place held its annual graduation ceremony on June 10, 2014.  Thirteen graduates were honored.  To graduate the women must improve their education and job skills, improve their mental and physical health (including sobriety), improve their parenting skills, and have secured permanent housing.  The average time from start to graduation at Sheffield Place is five to six months.  Graduates received diplomas and a rose and were able to share their journey at Sheffield Place with the friends and family that came to support them.

                The graduation remarks made by the women were powerful, and truly demonstrated the positive, life changing impact that Sheffield Place has on its residents.  One of the graduates is enrolled in school to be an interpreter for the deaf and hard of hearing.  Another is starting at Penn Valley in the fall to be a substance abuse counselor.  All of them commented on their struggles with substance abuse and the remarkable changes that sobriety has brought to their lives.  A common theme was the effect that sobriety, combined with the parenting counseling offered at Sheffield Place, had on the relationships the mother’s had with their children.  Many of the women had regained or are in the process of regaining custody of children that had been removed from their home for issues with substance abuse.  One woman remarked, “Sheffield Place taught me how to be a mom, how to be sober, how to be a friend, and how to be me.”

                The stories of these women brought tears to my eyes and reminded me of how important it is that places like Sheffield Place exist in our community to give women who want to better themselves and their families the chance to do it.  I extend my heartfelt congratulations to all of the graduates and encouragement to those who continue to work on self-sufficiency by availing themselves of the amazing resources that Sheffield Place has to offer.  Your strength and commitment is an inspiration to all of us!

Courtney Wachal

Sheffield Place Board of Directors – Vice-President

Here are the comments of one mother upon her transition from Sheffield Place to permanent housing in the community:

I am so grateful for everything the staff- all of you have done to help encourage, motivate and support me and my children along this journey. I know there were times I wasn’t the easiest to get along with and in the beginning it was really rough for my kids and me. It was just another temporary place. But Sheffield turned out to be our home and overtime we’ve come to love the staff.

I cannot say thank you enough for believing in me, especially when I didn’t. When we first came to Sheffield there were days that I wasn’t sure I would make it through, but you all pushed me to do the right thing and for that I am so thankful. 

I have rediscovered who I am. I have unlayered the core of my true self and my worth. Thank you so much. I know Sheffield place has impacted my family in such a way that we know when we leave Sheffield we have developed a strong foundation to continue to build on.