Caring for the Charis House
Part 1 – The Vital Role of the Charis House Manager
If you are familiar with the Charis House, the women’s residential recovery program at Ministry Village at Olive, then you may have heard about our House Managers. These unsung heroines are the strength behind the program, working day and night (literally) to nurture, protect, disciple and care for the women who have trusted their futures to the Charis House.
For those unfamiliar with the Charis House program, it is organized into 3 phases. When a woman enters the Charis House program, she begins what is called Phase 1, which typically lasts 12 months. The women live together in a home and follow a structured schedule full of activities and curriculum that work together to promote each woman’s spiritual, physical, mental and social well-being. The days are hard. They are emotional. They are intense. Women are facing years – sometimes decades – of habits and addictions as well as the behaviors and traumas that led them down destructive paths. While a licensed mental health counselor is on staff to work with each client as well as to facilitate group counseling, the House Manager becomes a daily guide, providing stability, structure and a helping hand throughout the process.
Once a client completes Phase 1, Phase 2 is an optional next step and must be approved by the Charis House and Ministry Village team. In Phase 2, clients are required to find a job or attend school and since they have no car, the House Manager provides transportation. Phase 2 lasts approximately 1 year. In mid-2019, the Charis House began Phase 3 of its program – The Esther House. Karen Cox, therapist for the Charis House, describes the Esther House as a tangible goal for the ladies of the Charis House to work toward. “The goal for the Esther House is to provide an independent-living situation with some structure like visitor guidelines, home checks, random drug screening, etc., balanced with having their own transportation to school or work, buying their own groceries and supplies, and paying rent and utilities.” The Esther House can hold up to 6 women at one time, with no house manager living on-site.
Karen emphasizes the importance of the House Manager role to the entire program. “They are responsible for so much and they really handle a lot. Life and emergencies happen. (The House Managers) juggle medical, legal, day-to-day structure, answering calls, as well as getting Phase 2 ladies to school and work.” Currently, there are 3 house managers who share the job, working 24-hour shifts in rotation with 4 days on and 3 days off. The day I met with Karen at the Charis House, the women had been scheduled to volunteer at Olive Baptist Church. One of the women had a medical emergency, and the House Manager on duty had to take her to the emergency room while the rest of the women waited for the House Manager to return. Karen was put on standby with the ladies, alert to any calls she might need to relay as they waited. Karen said this was just how the Charis House managers worked together to assist each other. “The team that God has put together – it’s a God thing. We each have different strengths and weaknesses, different personalities – but when you put us all together, it’s a great team for handling the various challenges that this type of program has.”
In next week’s blog, learn more about the House Managers of the Charis House, what brought them to this ministry, and how they manage the emotional highs and lows that they face every day.
💲To donate to the Charis House or any Ministry Village program, click here.
🏡Phase 3 of the Charis House – The Esther House – opened in June 2019 and currently has 3 full-time residents. They are in need of several household items. The Esther House has created an Amazon Wish List, where you can choose needed items, purchase through Amazon and everything will be shipped directly to Ministry Village. To shop through the Esther House wish list, click here.
🙏If you prefer to donate in a more traditional way, Walmart gift cards are always a blessing to the Charis House and the Esther House. Gift cards are used to purchase necessities like towels, toiletries and other household items. Please send gift cards to Ministry Village at Olive, Attention: Ms. Debbe Jefcoat, 1716 E. Olive Road, Pensacola, FL 32514.