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W House needs your support

May 21, 2003

To the editor:

W House is a 501-3, publicly supported agency that provides services to chemically dependent women and their families. In our 15-year existence, W House has served more than 315 women. There are significant demands for services such as ours from our community. The epidemic of alcohol and other drug abuse that threatens our nation has many economic and social costs, but its cost to families is where it takes its greatest toll.

No one raises a glass of alcohol, snorts a line of cocaine or pops an ecstasy pill with a toast: "Here's to addiction." When first using these drugs, people simply choose to do something that makes them feel good. But with continued use people find themselves addicted; they depend on the drug not simply to feel good but to feel normal. Using drugs and alcohol is no longer a choice but a compulsion; people don't plan to become addicts, it just happens.

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Our long-awaited building renovation is now under way. We have begun renovating our 11,000-square-foot building at 519 N. Locust Street. Our projected completion date for the project is August. W House is requesting your help in order to continue the pace of renovation. Your donation will help to create larger community spaces for residents, including a group room, child development room, common room, dining and kitchen area and computer room which will allow us to access the Internet and provide computer skills and job training. The larger space will enable us to serve more women, integrate family treatment into our program, visitation with children, and eventually provide programming to pregnant and parenting women.

Currently W House serves only nine women. With our expansion project, W House will serve up to 18 women in double occupancy rooms. W House will also serve four women in supportive, transitional apartments so that they can live independently. The individuals who maintain residence at W House receive addiction treatment which focuses on alcoholism and drug addiction education, relapse, emotional defenses, family illness, and co-dependency. Clients also participate in services that evaluate their current functioning and coping. Emphasis is placed on development of problem-solving techniques, dealing with anxiety and fear, relaxation, exploration of family of origin issues, and past experiences of trauma. Specific emphasis is placed on resume writing and job interviewing skills as well as on basic life skills such as budgeting, and decision making. Case management services are provided to coordinate wrap-around services including GED preparation, vocational training, health care needs, and mental heath evaluation and medication management. Parenting programming assists the individual client with the goal of acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills to enhance parenting ability. The focus is on facilitating an understanding of feelings, thoughts and experiences of her children in relation to her addiction, treatment and return to the household as a clean and sober parent. The focus remains on teaching techniques that encourage a child's self-reliance and personal knowledge of rules and limit setting for children.

W House provides a regimen of continuing care that permits us to provide supportive, therapeutic housing for an extremely vulnerable population of women. Thank you for your considering our request.

Christina Trenton
Executive Director W House
Hagerstown

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