This is Why
with Barbara Peterson
At the Women’s Residential Center (WRC), our goal is to help women struggling with chemical dependency rebuild their lives and reenter their communities as healthy, productive individuals. The women that come to our center are provided with classes, groups, and a community that will help them on their road to recovery.
As a Residential Counselor, it is my joy to be there for our clients. Through assisting them with daily needs to providing a safe space for them to focus on their treatment, this role is centered around being a champion for our clients. It is a team effort to provide support to these women and give them the tools they will need to succeed.
We have all seen over the past year and a half that anything can happen. You never know how a time of crisis will affect you until it is here. Nothing is a given. Thankfully here at the WRC we have great leadership and a dedicated team who has helped us respond to the constant changes and challenges that the pandemic has brought to our work.
As I mentioned a big part of my role is providing a safe space for the women. With the arrival of COVID-19, we now had a new world of processes to follow each day to maintain a safe center. For me, the changes have not been that drastic because I know what guidelines the CDC has given us to follow to keep everyone safe.
The biggest challenge I faced during the pandemic was when everything went virtual. The daily needs grew even more as we added a new safety structure to the center. Counselors were working off site and often I was the only one on site to make sure each group and one-on-one session was set up. It took a while to get in the groove of the new daily routine, but once we got beyond the initial chaos of getting our new systems in place, I really saw the center come together again.
It is no secret that, for many people, the pandemic has taken them away from their support groups and made them feel isolated. At the WRC I have seen the women create a new kind of community and support system with each other. Even when new residents come on site, they see the environment and become a part of it. There is a great sense of harmony here. Even though we are still in the pandemic our purpose at the WRC is the same.
I love this work. Seeing these women blossoming, becoming stronger, and preparing to be successful in the real world is what energizes me. Whatever I can do to support them is another step in a positive direction as they work to rebuild their lives. This is why I come to work every day.