Wild Praying Women Create The Next Door
They called themselves the Wild Praying Women! Concerned for the sufferings of people, they didn't know what to do, but pray. Funny thing about prayer—it often leads to action, which is what the Wild Praying Women found out. But now they had a clearer vision of where to concentrate their efforts, as well as their prayers: women and their families.
The result is The Next Door, where 82 women at a time struggling with addiction (especially with opioids), mental illness, trauma, and/or incarceration can receive effective, caring treatment in a comprehensive residential program for 30 days plus outpatient services, alumni meetings, family services, and affordable housing options for themselves and their children after they have completed the initial stay at the facility. In 2017 alone 1,442 women and 367 family members found their way to a new life, simply by walking through The Next Door.
Kate McKinnie, the volunteer coordinator, points out that many treatment centers for various reasons do not use volunteers, but especially since The Next Door was founded by volunteers—those Wild Praying Women—the organization values the contributions of volunteers and offers numerous meaningful ways to support the women and the center, including lunch and dinner teams, childcare helpers, clothing closet workers, ambassadors for the program, and Bible study leaders. Girls Night In events provide fun activities, led by volunteers who may bring their own expertise, such as in arts or crafts, or who can create a good time for all, perhaps around a movie or a special theme.
While many volunteers are on site, others work behind the scenes. Serving nearly 1,500 women a year requires lots of supplies, and the wish list is long—including such items as socks, shampoo, feminine hygiene products, hairbrushes, even stamped notecards so the women can write to their families. Volunteers organize collection drives to fulfill these basic needs. Still other "virtual volunteers" (working from home) write notes of welcome and support to the women, most of whom have not had a lot of encouragement and hope in their lives.
Undergirded by prayer and supported by caring volunteers as well as a committed professional staff, the center has an 80% success rate, as measured by the lives of the women after three years. Those Wild Praying Women—and all the other volunteers along the way—are truly helping women and their families through their own “next door” to a better life.
For more information about the program, volunteer opportunities, or the wish list, visit thenextdoor.org.