Professor opens half-way house for women

Sometimes all you need is a second chance, and one of NKU’s professors is looking to give women with a criminal history just that with her project Renew.

Dr. Jennifer Webster, Assistant Director of Integrative Studies, is in the process of opening the Tamara House in Newport that has been donated by the previous owner.

The house is open to women with a criminal past and also women with a history of drug abuse, Webster said.

At capacity, the Tamara House will be able to house five residents and a house manager, according to Webster.

“I didn’t plan for this specific project, but a lot of factors came together at one time to create this opportunity,” Webster said. “And I was at a place in my life where I felt I was ready to take on something like this.”

While living in the Tamara House, the women are required to help make soaps that will be sold to help support the Tamara House, according to Webster.

Webster said the women are also required to take various classes including alcoholics anonymous, narcotics anonymous and Celebrate Recovery, a christ-based approach to recovery.

“In addition to recovery programs, residents will participate in a variety of life-skills classes and Bible studies,” Webster said.

One NKU student involved with the program is Stephanie Guffey, a junior integrative studies major. At the Tamara House, she is the Disciples coordinator.

Guffey has many reasons for working with Renew and the biggest one for her is family.

“I have had many extended family members who have lost their battle with drugs in Eastern Kentucky,” Guffey said. “Which only helps me to connect with the family members who feel helpless as they watch their loved ones fight against addiction.”

According to Webster, women living in the Tamara House are required to have a job or be actively searching for one.

“Participants in the program will be able to live in the house for a maximum of 2 years, but can graduate earlier if they are ready,” Webster said.

Currently, a large portion of donations to Renew come from The Bridge Community Church in Wilder, Ky., according to Webster.

“As more people and organizations become aware of us, our population of supporters grows,” Webster said.

Support for Renew comes not only in donations of money and material things but also in time.

“I would suggest to anyone who has a family member who has or has had an addiction, has a heart to help women, or believes in giving second chances to contact Renew,” Guffey said.

You can contact Webster for more information on Renew at 859-760-8399.