KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – For more than 30 years, the Knoxville Area Rescue Ministry’s residential treatment center ‘Serenity’ has been helping women.
“A lot of times, Tearsa, they just don’t know where to begin. They are so overwhelmed by the trauma and experiences that they are going through,” said Serenity Director Cynthia Russell.
Serenity offers a free 18-month program for those who want a way out of addiction, domestic violence and homelessness.
“It’s amazing to see woman come through our doors and they have nothing. They are broken by their experiences. And to see them even in a week or two beginning to see hope, to see a spark of life in their face,” said Russell.
Russell says the faith-based program not only restores the woman, but so many more. “Children get their mothers back, parents get their daughters back, if they are married, the husband gets his wife back so it’s not only the woman who is being restored but the family.”
Jill Poe’s life was in a downward spiral.
“It was United Way actually that gave me Serenity’s number and I was on the last night at the motel. Didn’t have money for the next night,” said Poe.
Within 24 hours she taken into the program. “My 25-year-old was almost at the point of cutting me off. At this point he was telling me mom go somewhere and please get some help.”
There are structured classes, ranging from Bible study to addressing the cause of their addiction.
“The classes are amazing. I have honestly learned so much. My heart and my mind are completely opened about just learning. About soaking in everything I can possibly learn,” said Poe.
For most, when they leave the program they are renewed.
“By the time they have completed the program, 18 months to 2 years later, a new woman, she’s transformed into a new woman. I can’t explain how rewarding and it’s just a joyful experience,” said Russell.
For more information, visit karm.org/serenity.
- Community Conversations: S.M.A.R.T. Institute program
- Community Conversations: Local ministry helping women restore their lives
- Community Conversations: Changing the narrative around Black fatherhood
- Community Conversations: Census concerns for neighborhoods in need
- Community Conversations: UUNIK Academy making a difference in education for Knoxville’s Black youth