In 1978 Jayne Mazzarella was a nurse working at Women’s General Hospital in Cleveland, treating alcoholic women. It was in this work that Jayne began to recognize that women became addicted and recovered differently than men. It was within the wards of Women’s General Hospital that she established Merrick Hall – a tiny four-bed treatment program for female alcoholics. But she knew this wouldn’t be enough to meet the need.
A strong advocate with strong ties to the recovery community, Ms. Mazzarella mustered the financial, political, and grassroots support necessary to open a ten bed women’s halfway house (Hitchcock House) in 1979. The home, donated by the Hitchcock family, was located on Magnolia Drive in University Circle. The need for expanded space and treatment options surged during the 1980s as the country saw the rise of addiction to “crack” cocaine, and locally HCFW was one of the first agencies to provide treatment to cocaine addicted women. Through the leadership of Ms. Mazzarella and the agency’s board, staff, and volunteers, HCFW purchased the former St. Mary’s Seminary on Ansel Road from the Cleveland Catholic Diocese in 1992.
Nearly 40 years after Jayne Mazzarella courageously took steps to help addicted women, HCFW remains a leader in substance abuse treatment for women, carrying out the mission to “wholistically” empower women to achieve and maintain productive, chemically-free lives at home, at work, and in the community.