Hope Women’s Center Supports Women through Challenging Times

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The mission of the non-profit organization is to engage, encourage and equip.

Catapulted into a whirlpool of hopelessness is a tough dark place to find oneself. Climbing out is even more of a challenge, but a 29-year-old single mother of two, “June” (not her real name), found hope and a whole new life in a town she didn’t even know existed.

Serving women across Arizona for 40 years, Hope Women’s Center in Camp Verde gave June the opportunity to scale her obstacles and find freedom from the clutches of drug addiction to a new life, a new job, and a new home.  

I grew up in a large family in Phoenix.  We never traveled outside the city, so I didn’t even know where Camp Verde was,” said June. “But it’s my home now and I love it.”

Haunted by her teen brother’s suicide and a brutal battle with addiction to Fentanyl and other pharmaceutical drugs, June’s voice echoed a life that resonated despair.

My mom was severely depressed, really bad. Then my dad passed away and I was the one who had to hold the family together. It was hard on me and I started to have back problems so I was put on pharmaceutical pain medication,” she said. She was 24 years old at the time.

When the drugs weren’t working anymore, my boyfriend introduced me to Fentanyl. It was just starting to become popular and all my friends were doing it. When I first started to use it in 2020, they were $25 a pill, today they are 25 cents a pill. I think it’s now an epidemic.

Fentanyl is like heroin. People are dying. It’s like Russian roulette and very few users live. All it takes is one bad pill and sometimes you don’t know if they’re bad or not,” she said.

Then, a two-month stint in jail for stealing a car was a turning point for June. “That was the first time I got into any trouble.” With help from counselors, she agreed to go to a rehabilitation center in Tucson.  She barely weighed 100 pounds and was pregnant.  

Staying away from my former friends was key in my recovery,” she said. “You are who you hang out with, and friends will bring you down. I desperately wanted to clean up my life.” 

Fresh out of rehab, June had no place to go. “We weren’t allowed to have a computer or phone in rehab so I had no idea what I was going to do. I worked with a guidance counselor and we found a maternity home, Hope Women’s Center in Camp Verde, and they accepted me. I didn’t even know there was a program like this. I was so grateful. They still tell me to this day that they are glad they took a chance with me.” 

June’s baby was born shortly after entering the center. 

Today, June is engaged to be married and has a job that she loves at Hope Women’s Center. “I head up all the volunteers where I work. I have a beautiful apartment with a view and my children have a good life. I hope someday to go back to school and learn how I can be an intake counselor so I can help women who are in hopeless situations, as I was.”

She is an inspiration to us all with her hard work and determination to forge a healthy path forward for her and her children,” said Hope Women’s Center Chief Executive Officer Tammy Abernethy. “Her work ethic is outstanding, which is one of the reasons we hired her full time after she completed our job training program.”

Headquartered in Phoenix with centers in Coolidge, Apache Junction, Maricopa, West Valley and Camp Verde, Hope Women’s Center provides a safe haven for women and girls at risk in any difficult life situation. The mission of the non-profit organization is to engage, encourage and equip.  

Whether it be domestic violence, pregnancy, homelessness, poverty, family conflicts, we are here to serve them and walk alongside them and support them with educational classes and a wide variety of life skills such as how to have healthy boundaries and holistic parenting,” said Hope Women’s Center Manager Callie Hicks.

Currently, Hope Women’s Center is reorganizing its operations to prioritize day center services and launch a new Hope on the Road mobile program to extend outreach to more women throughout Northern Arizona. As a result, it will be closing its Hope Thrifts store in Camp Verde by June 1.

Founded in 1984 in Apache Junction, Hope Women’s Center will be celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Its annual fundraiser will be in September. “This year’s theme will be ‘Hope as an Anchor,’” said Larson-Bradley. FBN

By V. Ronnie Tierney, FBN

For more information, visit www.hopewomenscenter.org.

Photo by V. Ronnie Tierney, Fresh Focuses Photography: The Hope Women’s Center Hope Thrifts store offers clothes, household items, toys, furniture and more.  Standing inside are Hope Women’s Center Manager Callie Hicks, Hope Thrifts Manager Colette “Coco” Larsen Bradley and Hope Women’s Center Program Support Coordinator Mystic Frost.  

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