For drug- or alcohol-addicted people in Faulkner County who want help, there are a couple of options available, but only for men so far.
Renewal Ranch is a faith-based recovery ministry located a short drive from Conway in Perry County. Retired pastor Larry Pillow is chairman of the board and chaplain for the ministry, which opened its doors in January 2011.
"We’ve had about 75 guys finish our phase-one program, which is six months residence," he said. "If the men complete phase one, they’ll have 570 hours of classroom work. Then they have over 300 hours of community service. In phase two most of them live in an apartment building in town where they pay rent and their own expenses. We estimate we’re saving taxpayers probably several thousand dollars a day if these men were incarcerated or in government-supported rehab centers."
Renewal Ranch relies totally on donor support for its operations and does not charge the men anything for their stay, Pillow said.
He added, "We’ve graduated 75 guys, and as best we can tell, we’ve got a 65 to 70 percent success rate. They come from being a financial drain on their family and our culture to being law-abiding taxpayers and citizens that support their family. It’s awesome. If we had the money to build more bunkhouses, we could house another 150 guys. On an average week we’ll have three to five applicants. The demand is overwhelming. The needs are great. Our vision is to open more of these across the state as resources and leadership become available."
Renewal Ranch does not serve women, but female applicants to the program are referred to a similar ministry, Butterfly Ranch, near Swifton, Ark., and another facility in Hot Springs, Pillow said.
"We hope to have (a facility for women) in the Faulkner County area," he said. "Our goal when we started was to open a women’s facility in three to five years. We hope and pray to be able to do that. The need is overwhelming."
Phoenix Recovery Center on Jersey Street in Conway offers transitional living to people who have been through treatment and are moving back into society.
Case manager Katherine Daves said, "All our residents are required to go to a minimum of three to six recovery meetings per week — like AA or NA. We also hold recovery meetings here on campus. We have a relapse prevention group, a Big Book study group; we also have a group that teaches the 12 steps. We have a reflection and focus group. We have a volunteer that comes on Sundays to provide spiritual support to those who are interested. A lot of the residents have contact with Life After Prison Ministries; they offer spiritual support and mentoring services."
The Conway facility is for men only, but the organization is in the process of opening one for women in Little Rock, she said.
"They’re in duplexes, so it gives a sense of independent living," she said. "They do have curfew and are subject to random drug tests and breathalyzers. We have employment agencies in the area that help to hire our guys. We try to help them with resume skills, job interviewing skills, basic life skills that they may not have experienced if they’re coming from a background of drug and alcohol use."
With 16 duplexes, the facility can hold up to 122 men, she said.
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