September 2021

September 2021


The addiction crisis continues to have a devastating effect in Indiana. One in 12 Hoosiers, almost a half million people, meet the criteria for having a substance use disorder (Indiana University). Chemical addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease characterized by substance-seeking behavior despite harmful consequences (National Institute of Health). Hoosiers interested in finding treatment face many barriers, including access to treatment centers, availability of beds, and stigma against people with the chronic illness that is chemical addiction.  The addiction crisis is also having generational effects. In 2017, over 55% of cases where DCS removed children from their home were due to drug or alcohol use by a parent. Children with an addicted family member are four times more likely to misuse drugs or alcohol (Indiana University). YWCA NEIN’s addiction recovery program, Hope & Harriet, helps individuals suffering from substance abuse disorder maintain their sobriety and reunify with their children and extended family. Women who complete 90 or more days in treatment in programs such as Hope & Harriet double their likelihood of reunification, according to the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. Read about our Hope & Harriet residential addiction recovery services for women below.

In honor of National Recovery Month, we want to highlight Addiction Recovery Awareness, which is represented by the color turquoise. At YWCA Northeast Indiana, this is a time to raise community awareness of mental and substance use disorders and to celebrate those who commit to recovery. Stay tuned for statistics, community events, and ways to get involved. Learn more here:

In this issue, we recognize several remarkable leaders, two of which guide their Foundation’s resources to help with the addiction crisis in our community. Please join us in giving thanks to Marcia Haaff, CEO at The Lutheran Foundation, and Meg Distler, Executive Director at The St. Joseph Community Health Foundation for their impactful financial support in caring for those who struggle with substance use disorder. You can learn more about their mission by visiting their websites linked above. We also recognize Jennifer Hunter and Crystal Ortiz in Power of Persimmon for their roles in empowering women. Please read more about them below. Kudos to all of these rock stars!

Please also note a couple of upcoming events bringing awareness to domestic violence. Flowers on the River launches Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, and our 25th annual Circle event raises dollars for our domestic violence program.

Lastly, please always remember, it is because of YOU that we are able to do what we do. We are beyond thankful for all of your on-going support!


Addiction Recovery

Throughout our community, women often suffer in silence as they struggle with substance abuse and addiction, demoralized by the stigma surrounding addiction and mental illness. Mental wellness may seem beyond their reach. YWCA’s Hope & Harriet program steps into this gap of need to provide women the resources they need to come back from the brink of substance abuse addiction. Addiction and mental illness take their toll, but the Hope & Harriet program provides an opportunity for women suffering from addiction to break the silence and embrace wellness again.

Hope & Harriet is an intensive, residential treatment program in a sub-acute medical facility tailored to treat adult women living with substance abuse disorders. Hope & Harriet staff work with women across the eight domains of wellness to ensure optimal wellness and healing. Our program integrates high-quality, person-centered care and is guided by evidence-based addiction treatment practices. Through education, awareness, skill building, therapeutic groups, family groups, and individual therapy, YWCA’s Hope & Harriet program addresses the multifaceted roles and needs of a woman while she is seeking, sustaining, and living in recovery.

Addiction is a disease. Recovery is possible. Learn more about our Addiction Recovery Program on our website.


The Lutheran Foundation

YWCA Northeast Indiana’s Addiction Recovery Program is partially supported by a grant from The Lutheran Foundation.


Marcia Haaff, CEO at The Lutheran Foundation, says “TLF supports work in northeast Indiana that encourages whole-person health, so providing funding for the YWCA’s addiction recovery programming is a natural fit. We focus especially on programs that contain a mental health component; so many addictions are rooted in trauma and abuse that result in mental health issues that need to be addressed, and the YWCA, as well as other clinical and residential programs that TLF supports, do a good job of helping people work on their mental health as part of their addiction recovery.”


YWCA Northeast Indiana’s Power of Persimmon (POP) initiative honors empowered women who diligently seek to help empower other women through mentorship, networking, and education. Kudos to these remarkable women


Jennifer Hunter (she/her) is the Co-founder of Gensyn Design, which she recently started after transitioning from a long career at PFW. To Jennifer, “an empowered woman is someone who feels in control of her life, believes in her capacity to influence her thoughts and behaviors, and has faith in her ability to handle a wide range of situations.” Learn more about Jennifer here.


Crystal Ortiz (she/her) is the founder of Socialhart LLC, a boutique SEO Consultant and Strategy Firm. She is passionate about fighting for racial justice, women’s rights, and victims of domestic violence. A piece of advice that Crystal shares is to “listen to your inner voice, the one that comes from your heart.” Learn more about Crystal here.

Stay tuned to upcoming newsletters to see who will be featured next in Power of Persimmon! Thank you to our media partner, glo magazine.


Wear Turquoise for Recovery


Join YWCA Northeast Indiana by wearing turquoise on Friday, September 24th to serve as a conversation-starter about topics regarding addiction, substance abuse, recovery, etc. Don’t forget to tag us in your social media posts!

Additionally, be sure to check out the MLK Bridge in Downtown Fort Wayne 9/16-9/18, as it will be lit in turquoise to bring awareness to addiction recovery.

Flowers on the River


Please join us on Wednesday, October 6th at 3:00 PM at Promenade Park as YWCA Northeast Indiana launches Domestic Violence Awareness Month by honoring those whose lives have been affected by domestic violence. Learn more on our website.


25th Annual Circle Event


Everything is possible, even the impossible! We are just one month away from our 25th Annual Circle Event! Learn more and register now!


Meg Distler


Featured in this month’s Empowering Leaders Video Series is Meg Distler, Executive Director at St. Joseph Community Health Foundation.

Learn more about Meg here.

Thank you to Meg Distler for being our featured empowering leader! We are also thankful for our corporate partner, Fort Wayne Metals, for sponsoring this initiative.





We are working to establish dates to have volunteers come to The Hefner Center to complete some much needed projects before construction begins later this fall. If your organization, church, or employer would like to be involved, please email

Goldstein Family Scholarship Program


The goal of the Goldstein Family Scholarship Program is to help female survivors of domestic violence improve their self-sufficiency and quality of life by completing higher education. The scholarship fund provides financial support for tuition, books, rent, utilities, and childcare. Learn more here.


If you would like to financially support YWCA Northeast Indiana, you can access our donation page by following this link.