Freedom House, a Greensboro-based non-profit,  is working to rescue, restore and redeem the lives of struggling women and their children.

In this week's Giving Back, Time Warner Cable News Reporter Elaina O'Connell shares the story of one women who went from giving up to giving back.


GREENSBORO -- When people first see ‘Freedom House Thrift’ they may think it’s a typical retail store, but there’s more than meets the eye.  

"They come here every day and they work at the thrift stores,” said Freedom House Thrift Executive Director Houston Core. “They learn how to work, so when they leave they can get a job."

Don't they already have a job? To some degree, yes, but the work is part of a program the employees are enrolled in.

"The mission of Freedom House is to provide long-term addiction treatment for women with young children in a Christ-centered family environment," said Core.  

Core helped create the thrift store between college and grad school. It's a part of the program that provides participants with real work experience.

"There aren't a lot of programs that are long-term, free, and moms can bring their children with them into treatment," said Core.

Stephanie Rhodes, a program participant, was struggling to stay alive.

"I became very suicidal, and my addiction became very out of control and that's when I found that addiction is the darkest place that someone can be," said Rhodes.  

That's when she decided to get help.

"My one stipulation was I would like to take my daughter with me," said Rhodes.

It's a condition Freedom House could accommodate.

"One thing that's really important to us is to provide families a chance to reestablish themselves and become the family they really never had the chance to be," said Core.

Rhodes said, "With her joining me I was able to figure out what I looked like as her mom and I actually started enjoying that role and becoming very confident in that role, and it helped me a lot. When you get sober and you have that lack of confidence in any area, especially in being a mother, many times that stress of that role when you get out you may be sober but you're scared to death and the stressors of that role would have probably sent me back to using." 

Rhodes said without Freedom House, she wouldn't be alive.

"I would be dead, and I don't say that lightly. I was emotionally and spiritually dead but because of the place that I was at when I came I could have easily taken my own life."

After being sober for several years, she is now a peer support specialist at a mental health facility in Greensboro.

"I get to help others in recovery," said Rhodes.