30 Years for Helping Women

30 Years for Helping Women

Hitchcock Center for Women celebrates 30 years of helping
women overcome addictions

By Joe Guillen, The Plain Dealer
October 12, 2009
Photo by Gus Chan

Treveya Franklin holds a baby last week in the nursery of the Hitchcock Center for Women. Franklin, a former client of the center, has overcome her chemical dependency to become a social worker at the center. The center will be celebrate it’s 30th anniversary this month. Treveya Franklin still remembers the woman she left behind when she walked into the Hitchcock Center for Women more than five years ago.

Underweight, addicted to drugs and devoid of self-worth, Franklin was desperate to get clean and stay that way. “I had nothing. I was walking down the street with two bags of dirty clothes,” she recalled. “I didn’t want to live, and I didn’t want to die.”

Franklin ended up staying at the Hitchcock Center for almost two years. She said the treatment there empowered her to go back to school and continue raising her four kids.

“They not only put me back on my feet — they stood me up and now they’re teaching me to fly,” said Franklin, 42.
Franklin is one of the center’s success stories and an embodiment of its mission.

The publicly funded Hitchcock Center for Women, housed in a former seminary in Cleveland’s St. Clair-Superior neighborhood, strives to help the community fight drug addiction and keep families together. It is the county’s only agency that allows chemically-dependent women to live with their children during treatment, executive director Mary Bazie said.

The center, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this month, has treated more than 13,000 women since it was founded. Although the women don’t need a referral or appointment to be admitted, they often are steered to the center by the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services, probation officers or other women who have undergone treatment at the center.

Hitchcock offers two primary types of care — intensive inpatient treatment and transitional housing. It can house up to 35 women on the treatment side and has 26 rooms in the transitional housing half. Women can be admitted with up to three children that are 10 years old or younger. There are 14 kids living at the center now.

Teresa Sanders, the center’s clinical director, said helping women who are addicted to drugs and women who are homeless has become more complicated over the years. She said they are coming to Hitchcock more often with mental illnesses or medical issues, and rarely with health insurance.

The center is putting together a fund-raising campaign to showcase the center’s value to local foundations and other organizations and offset anticipated cuts in state aid, said Steve Monto, president of Hitchcock’s board of trustees.
“We want our women to become taxpayers,” Monto said. “The programs we have and the programs we’re looking to build will help us and the community realize the goal of the women returning to be productive members of society and their families.”

Franklin left Hitchcock in 2006 and graduated with an associate’s degree from Cuyahoga Community College in May. She made her way back to the center this summer.

Only this time, she went as a full-time intake counselor, having been hired by the center shortly after her graduation from Tri-C.

Franklin sees parts of her former self in some of the women who come to Hitchcock. The working environment can be emotionally draining, she said, but also rewarding.

“I love my job,” Franklin said. “It only made sense. This is where I’m supposed to be.”

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