July, 20 2018

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Indiana's Vision of Hope, a Place for Troubled Girls

Margaret Lemon's heart ached when she toured the Vision of Hope Residential Treatment Center during its construction last year.

"I can relate to some of the hurt these girls feel," she said. "This is a wonderful place. I knew it would help a lot of girls."

The faith-based residential treatment center for troubled girls and women, ages of 14 to 28, held a dedication ceremony and open house Thursday evening to celebrate its opening and community support.

"The women here want to meet their goals so they can start a new life and never have to come back to a facility like this again," said Heather Starkweather, residential care coordinator. "They can come here and bring their troubles and find help from God's word."

The 17,200-square-foot, two-story center at the Faith Baptist Church campus off Indiana 26 is more a sprawling home than a clinical setting. Up to 24 residents will stay, at no cost, from six to nine months in individual programs to treat drug and alcohol addictions, eating disorders, habits of self-harm as well as unplanned pregnancies, said Jocelyn Wallace, the center's program director.

Four residents moved into the center on Jan. 7 and four more are expected within six months.

Like a dormitory, each room has two beds and shares a bathroom. Adults and young girls are separated by floors.

Five full-time staff and trained volunteers oversee residents daily routine of classes, exercise, chores and food preparation, said Starkweather. They also work toward individual goals, such as completing their education or repairing relationships.

A $2.5 million donation from an anonymous local private Christian foundation covered the center's $1.2 million construction and will go towards 50 percent of its operation costs for 10 years, said Arvid Olson, the Faith Baptist director of development.

Faith Baptist will match the remaining cost.

Lemon and her husband, David, owners of Blakley's, made donations toward floor covering, part of the $260,000 received from local businesses and individuals.

Annie Mahon, coordinator of the nutrition education program in the Wellness Office at Purdue University, was excited about the center's potential after a tour.

"Care like this," she said, "especially no cost, is so rare for people who are desperate for it."

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