At JT Bates Group, we give back to our communities. We encourage our employees to volunteer by providing 4 hours of paid volunteer hours per month for full-time employees and 2 hours for part-time employees.
Amanda Murphy, our director of marketing, volunteers her time with The Refuge, a 100% free addiction recovery ministry that helps men and women break the bonds of alcohol and drug addiction.
“I work with The Refuge women mostly on career coaching. A lot of what I do is listen to them, encourage them, and then make sure they have the practical tools they need to secure employment after they complete their commitment. Most of these women have been enslaved for so long to drugs or alcohol that they don’t even know what real freedom feels like.”
So how does she make a difference? “We think of career freedom as having options. For these women, it’s having the ability to dream again once they’ve been set free.”
The Refuge Ministry is a completely free faith-based residential rehabilitation ministry for men and women. No insurance is needed. The goal of The Refuge is to see lives restored; to date, over 5,000 men and women have been helped by The Refuge to move “from homelessness and hopelessness to homeownership” and have been equipped to live a life free of addiction.
Men and women are both encouraged to visit therefugeohio.org to complete a 3-minute prescreen assessment online, or call in to complete the assessment over the phone, or even simply by attending an orientation in person on specific days of the week. Because The Refuge is non-medical, some people may not meet acceptance criteria right away and may need to spend some time in a medical detox environment.
After a man or woman is accepted into The Refuge, they begin their journey in a home, not in a medical facility, where they are welcomed with unconditional love. Most Refuge alumni recall feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the welcoming smiles and hugs they received on their first day.
In Phase 1, which lasts about 30-45 days, the men and women have no outside contact. They are encouraged to work on becoming healthier, growing in mind, body and spirit. At the end of Phase 1, Refuge men and women are moved into Phase 2, which focuses on mending broken relationships.
Men and women in Phase 2 are encouraged to focus on mending broken relationships–with God, himself, others and God’s creation for a period of about four months. Men and women make weekly phone calls to friends and family, and are able to spend time with family members in monthly Family Day events. Refuge men and women receive one-on-one counseling and are gradually and gently reintroduced to the value of working to learn how to be responsible, the dignity that good work produces, and what it means to follow through on commitments.
After completing Phase 2, men and women graduate into Phase 3, which focuses on application of what they have learned. Refuge men and women are required to work 35-40 hours per week in this phase, which pays for the majority of their way through the ministry and helps “pay it forward” to the men and women who come after them. They start earning a monthly stipend they can spend or save as they choose, and life for these men and women looks very close to “normal” but still with high levels of support, weekly coaching and building relationships that will help alumni continue in the path of spiritual and physical wellness they’ve begun.
Phase 4 is when Amanda Murphy begins to work with the women in The Refuge. “I meet with the women in Phase 4 and help them pull together their work history. I help them build a resume, take a frank look at their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and help them think through some five-, three-, and one-year goals. We may do some practice interviews, and I leverage my personal network to help the women make valuable connections to land a great job when they complete,” she said.
By the time the men and women have completed their commitment to The Refuge, they have almost a year’s worth of solid work experience with a reputable employer. Not only does this help with any resume gaps, but they have also learned the value of sticking with a commitment and how to handle conflict in their relationships.
Men and women who display servant leadership qualities are often invited to become coordinators for The Refuge for a 6-month period. In this role, they work to recruit, coach, organize and lead the people who enter The Refuge behind them. The responsibilities are divided and rotated, so that everyone is cross-trained. Individuals who complete The Refuge can coordinate for up to two 6-month commitments.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, there is hope. To get involved in fighting the bondage of drugs and alcohol in the lives of men and women, visit therefugeohio.org to make a tax-deductible donation, or click the button below.