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Helping Women at Risk Reclaim Their Lives
One at a Time

By Jean Parietti

After dropping out of middle school, Amanda Jordan says she “pretty much ran the streets.” When she was 17, her mother died. Later, she became addicted to methamphetamine.

Then, two years ago, the state took custody of Jordan’s 4-year-old son, Christopher, and she was referred to Autumn Leaf House in Marysville for a chance to straighten out her life.

The transitional home for seven mothers coming out of inpatient drug treatment is part of the Tree of Life program operated by Catholic Community Services’ Snohomish County Family Center. Mothers in recovery gradually move from shared living at Autumn Leaf to subsidized apartments, while receiving case management, counseling and other services. The women make great strides “when they really understand that if they get themselves better it’s really going to help their kids,” said case manager Tamara Collins.

Today, the 23-year-old Jordan has graduated from drug treatment, taken parenting classes, is working on her GED and is living with Christopher in an Everett apartment while meeting weekly with Collins.

“The program helped me get my son back, because they supervised the visits. They helped me to stay clean and stay focused,” said Jordan, who is enjoying life with her son. “It’s hard sometimes, but we make it.” Tree of Life is among more than a dozen programs offered by CCS family centers and the Archdiocesan Housing Authority to help at-risk women who are homeless, chemically dependent, mentally ill, pregnant or parenting.

“We show God’s love one person at a time … helping these women reclaim their lives,” said Josephine Tamayo Murray, CCS King County agency director.

Excerpt from Samaritan Magazine - Volume 3 Number 2 - Fall 2007

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