Friday, January 30, 2009

Joining directors of Mending Hearts a high honor; answering the critical call of Les Miserables

I was pleased this week to accept a position on the board of directors for Mending Hearts, an incredible program of action and compassion in Nashville aimed at young women needing help to overcome addiction and other abuses from their childhoods.

The name of the non-profit organization is purposeful. The more than 50 women who come to the program on a regular basis for on-site support are broken, deserted by families and other loved ones. The have reached the end of the road. One woman was sent to the program by a drug court in Williamson County.

Some have children, but have lost custody. Most have no one, except some extraordinary staff members led by Katrina Frierson, the executive director of this five-year effort in West Nashville off Charlotte Ave. The program is housed in three structures -- one used to be a crack house.

Now neighbors are happy to have these woman and this non-profit to clean up the neighborhood on Albion and resurrect lives into working people with a new chance.

Many regain their children ... and sense of hope and direction. One is deputy director Charlotte Grant, who was raised amid drug addiction as a child. She says her father would blow marijuania smoke into her face as a baby. When she was 7, she had her first joint. She finally self-destructed on crack cocaine and had a baby daughter to care for.

Now she is recovered, resurrected and has regained custody of her 15-year-old daughter, who is as tough as any counselor in monitoring mom's conduct. Grant is a working professional with a career.

A new wing needs to be built for more women with children, and with the inclusion of an on-site daycare. I believe that is possible this year, with part of my fortune and the contributions of others with means wanting to make a difference that lasts for more than a moment.

Mending Hearts is one the recipients of proceeds from the Music City Presidential Charity Ball on Jan. 20. While the contribution of $1,500 will be appreciated, much more is needed.

I'll inform you of coming fundraisers in February, which include a bowling event and a silent auction with tea.

I am committed to this marvelous cause. Three years ago, 70 percent of the women in the program were black. Now 70 percent are white. And they are coming in from the suburban counties as the destruction of the American family with prescription drugs and other difficulties spreads.

Mending Hearts represents a line in the sand, by which this destruction must not be allowed to cross and permanently destroy these lives. As asked in the sensational musical Les Miserables, "would you join in our crusade, would you be strong and stand with me?"


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