Rea of Hope will celebrate 100 graduates from its program with a reception from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 24 at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 1423 Lee St. East.
RSVPs are requested by calling 304-344-5363 or emailing haley.her...@reaofhope.org by Sept. 17.
Marie Beaver wasn't looking for another change in her life when a co-worker put a clipping from the classified advertisements on her desk more than 10 years ago.
Beaver was just becoming acclimated to Charleston after moving her to be with her new husband. She had changed states, changed jobs and changed homes in a short time span.
She still didn't know her way around Charleston.
She was happy in her job at Hospice Care, but her friend knew Beaver's background was in helping those with addictions. And the classified ad was for executive director for what was going to be Charleston's first home-based center for women recovering from alcohol and drug addiction.
Her friend told her, "I'd hate to lose you here." And then added the job sounded perfect for Beaver.
"I thought, 'No way,' " Beaver recalled. She'd had enough change and besides, she was getting ready to go on vacation.
When she showed her husband the ad, he had some advice he'd heard her give: "Do the footwork and leave the outcome up to God."
Beaver dashed out a handwritten cover letter. She recalls she didn't even make a very good pitch for wanting the job. She ended it with, "I'm just doing the footwork and leaving the outcome to God."
"I'll be darned if they didn't call me," she said.
"They" were the dedicated board members of the faith-based, ecumenical Rea of Hope Fellowship Home, at the time just an ambitious idea.
There was a building to renovate, a program to build-and money to be raised.
More than 100 individuals, churches, agencies and businesses joined forces to bring the idea to fruition. Beaver came on board 10 years ago, following the process to renovate a building at Ruffner Avenue and Lee Street that would become its first property.
Beaver still marvels at the time dedicated by many volunteers, led by her first board president, Joe Deegan. There were lawyers and accountants, engineers and businessmen.
"They came over here every morning and evening," she said.
That building started taking in women two years later and soon after, Beaver realized the program needed to be expanded.
At its heart, Rea of Hope is designed to take women who have undergone 30 days of addiction treatment and are ready for the next step to conquer their addictions. They may stay for up to six months at Rea of Hope, where they are in a home environment that is safe and nurturing, but also offers tough love. The women must remain clean, attend meetings, find jobs and contribute to the household expenses and chores.
"I am big on empowering them," Beaver said. She believes no one can overcome addiction unless she takes personal responsibility for her life.
Beaver speaks from experience. At 27, she'd been through four treatment programs trying to overcome her own drug and alcohol addiction.
She had a wonderful and loving family, but Beaver said their help only served to help her avoid taking responsibility for herself.
It wasn't until she moved away and faced her problems head on, by herself, that she became clean.
So Beaver serves up love and hugs and encouragement, but she also accepts no excuses.
"It's a lot like parenting. You're not always the most popular person," Beaver said.
There is zero tolerance for drug and alcohol use. You get caught, you leave.