How casting our nets where Christ leads us can bring great blessings.
In mid-2010, Sherrie Reeve went to her pastor Monica Mowdy with a burden she was bearing for those suffering with drug and alcohol addiction in Cumberland County, Tennessee. Sherrie was volunteering through the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP) as a trained court mediator. Through this work she came to the realization that the odds were stacked against someone to truly find a way to recover from drug addiction once involved in the court system. What began as a passionate plea had now become a place of restoration for many called The Net.
Currently serving more than forty participants each week, The NET has had several graduates from the program go on to a life without addiction. “I have witnessed individuals evolve from anger at being there, to crying when they complete the program,” said one volunteer. Many participants stay and serve as mentors to those entering the program. They are a testimony to what relational love can do in a person’s life.
The NET serves to catch those falling through the cracks in the system by providing services that are critical to recovery. Individuals assigned to Drug Court are required to obtain employment, meet with a probation officer, and attend rehabilitative programming all while caring for their family and restoring broken relationships with those that have been hurt by their addiction. Most participants in drug court lack employment history or job-seeking skills. Many have had their driver’s license suspended which makes it hard for them to obtain transportation to meetings and employment. Being unemployed renders paying the fees for the probation officers as well as paying for rehabilitative services nearly impossible. The dream had become an ever-growing reality and the NET was born. Based on Luke 5:4-6 which teaches when all hope is lost try something new and try again; cast your net to the other side and be blessed by the results. The reality struck “if not us – then who? If not now – when?”
The purpose of the NET is to help individuals recover through relief, respect, reconciliation and restoration. Once weekly, participants gather in the fellowship hall of Homestead United Methodist Church to share a meal with volunteers. Following the meal, the participants engage in training, counseling or rehabilitative meetings. The meals are provided and served by various ministry teams from other churches in the county. Counseling and training is provided by agency individuals donating their time as well as the Drug Court agents.
Beginning with funding provided by the missions budget of Homestead, The NET currently offers support to those in recovery through three areas:
- NET Works Program-assists with job skills and employment by helping with resume writing, interviewing skills, clothing, and transportation to interviews.
- NET Worth Program-offers training in financial literacy, home ownership, credit repair, and childcare
- NET Growth Program-provides counseling for addiction, families strategies, conflict and anger management.
The NET has many goals; both immediate and long range, and hopes to offer Moral Recognition Therapy to address the decision making process of the participants. Homestead also hopes to find a new and effective way to address the homelessness problem that comes with addiction.
The NET and Homestead recently received an award from Judge Larry Warner, Cumberland County General Sessions Judge, for outstanding contributions in assisting recovery and rehabilitation from drug addiction.