Wings of Hope Expands Horizontally

( [email protected] ) Feb 03, 2004 03:20 PM EST

INDIANA -- A local shelter ministry for women is expanding as it received $75,000 grant from the Lutheran Foundation last year. Now the ministry is trying to raise about $50,000 of its share of the grant to pay off the building.

A fund-raising banquet featuring Allen County Sheriff Jim Herman as the keynote speaker will be held this Friday at the Marriott Inn.

Started in 1997, Wings of Hope, a Christian shelter ministry for women, have provided pastoral care for the women in jail under the guidance of minister Linda Kluczinske.

"There was a certain segment in jail who would go back to jail or prison soon after they did their time because they didn't have the right people and supports in the community. So I started taking women home with me,” said Kluczinske.

Twelve women who are living at Wings of Hope, have been once imprisoned for many reasons mostly because of drug or alcohol. Rhonda Smith, 43, said if it weren't for Wings of Hope, she'd likely be in Rockville Women's Prison, where she already has spent time. Now she hopes to be enrolled in Christian ministries at Taylor University-Fort Wayne.

"I've come from a family of dysfunctional activity, of drugs and alcohol and co-dependency," Smith said. It could have been back to prison, "but thank God, they let me come here. I got back on track and am getting my life together. Wings of Hope has taught me a new way to live . . . and to know I can be a productive member of society and give back some of which I took from it," said Smith.

Like Smith, Carla Lynn, 42, has lived a life addicted to drugs and alcohol but now sees hope for the future.

"There's some things I've learned about myself, triggers, pieces I didn't know about myself that I've learned now," Lynn said.

Wings of Hope offers 12-Step Program for people to recover from alcohol and drug addiction and with the help of various community agencies, on-site courses about everything from parenting to domestic violence awareness are also made available.

Kluczinske said Wings of Hope's goal is to help women reach emotional maturity and recognize who they are in God's eyes. "They've turned to a false refuge in drugs or alcohol or men," Kluczinske said. "Then emotional maturity stops at the time they use drugs and alcohol or whatever they become addicted to."

Following is the information on the fund-rasie event from The News-Sentinel:

· What: An Evening with Wings of Hope, a fund-raising banquet for the shelter ministry that helps women with the transition back to the outside world from prison.

· When: 6:30 p.m. Friday

· Where: Marriott Inn, 305 E. Washington Center Road

· Contact: Individuals, churches or businesses interested in sponsoring a table for 10 can call Linda Kluczinske, 745-1005. Cost is $225

· Deadline: Tuesday