- Associated Press - Saturday, March 4, 2017

ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) - Jaclyn Smith jokes that she got too comfortable at the house on the 1200 block of Arrow Avenue.

She was sent there on work release after 19 months in prison. Thanks to Sister 2 Sister Ministries, a Christian transitional home for women battling addiction, Smith spent 10 months in the house until she was able to get into her own place.

“I think it helped me step-by-step to get back into society,” she said. “. It also gave me freedom, but I was still accountable.”

Sister 2 Sister has helped women going through Madison County Drug Court transition back to society, and now the organization is going through changes of its own.

Sister 2 Sister celebrated its move from Eighth Street to a larger house on Arrow Avenue on Friday. During the ribbon cutting ceremony, Executive Director Tami Blevins announced the house - and every future location - would be renamed “The Mudd House” after big donor Jeanne Mudd.

“I wish I had a better last name,” Mudd said jokingly.

The transitional home moved to Arrow Avenue about a year ago, Blevins said, but the ribbon cutting also symbolizes a new era of changes.

Just two years ago, Blevins worried that Sister 2 Sister would shut down due to a lack of funds. Thanks in part to a partnership with Celebration Church at Arrow Heights, the organization is in a larger facility with nine beds, compared to its previous five. Sister 2 Sister is currently housing six residents.

Sister 2 Sister operates almost entirely on donations, Blevins said, and Mudd’s contributions have made a major impact in a short amount of time.

Mudd has only been involved with Sister 2 Sister for a year or two, but she quickly recognized the organization’s importance. Mudd said there wasn’t anywhere women could go to for recovery and shelter when she moved to Anderson in the 1970s.

And that stuck with her.

“I try to help out any shelters or any place of recovery because this is home and you want more people to be able to make it through and give back to the town,” Mudd said.

Sister 2 Sister resident Kaila Boyd has lived in another halfway house before, but her current home has given her better tools to succeed.

“It’s given me a stable home,” she said. “They do a Bible study that’s really helpful and it just pushes me to do well in my recovery.”

Blevins plans on making Sister 2 Sister more visible and working more with the community. A new website, called The Mudd House, is in the works and will be launched soon.

Since there aren’t any emergency shelters in Madison County, Sister 2 Sister now plans on accepting homeless women if there’s vacancy, if they meet the requirements and if they’re sober.

“Some of these people who are in the shelters didn’t have a chance to begin with,” Blevins said. “You kind of want to give them the confidence that they can take on life by themselves.”

Although Sister 2 Sister is in better financial shape than it was a couple of years ago, Blevins said the organization could always use more funds. She said people are often hesitant because they can’t make large donations, but even $20 can make an impact.

That sliver of difference is why Mudd donates.

“It’s hope,” she said. “Anytime you can provide hope for anybody, that’s a positive thing.”

To make a contribution, mail a check to Sister 2 Sister, 806 Oakdale Drive, Anderson, IN 46011.

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Source: Herald Bulletin, https://bit.ly/2muyw9n.

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Information from: The Herald Bulletin, https://www.theheraldbulletin.com


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