Is Merci's Refuge right for me?
Many women have changed their lives forever by coming to Merci's Refuge. But is it right for you? Are you ready to benefit from the program at this time? How will coming impact other areas of your life? These are important questions to consider before and during the application process.
Questions to Consider:
Why are you considering Merci's Refuge? What do you hope to change in your life right now? People's experiences are unique and so what they need and when to experience joy and freedom looks very different. Not everyone is at a place where they can begin the difficult work of counseling and making changes in their life. Some people need other things first. Others may be in a healthy place emotionally or relationally but are lacking financial or housing stability. Merci's Refuge is not an inpatient medical treatment program, nor is it an emergency shelter or transitional housing program. We are a residential counseling program that provides free housing and meals but also a rigorous program that includes structure and accountability for achieving goals.
Do you currently have children in your care? At this time Merci's Refuge is unable to accomdate children over 12 months old. Therefore a woman would need to start the program before her child turns 4 months old so she has enough time to complete the program before her child turns 1. Women who are already separated from their children or choose to separate from them in order to seek support for a period of time can have visits with their children at or outside of Merci's Refuge while in the program. These visits will need to be planned around the program schedule and may not be as long or as frequent as the family would like.
Are you currently pregnant or did you recently gave birth? Merci's Refuge is a safe and comfortable place for moms with babies. You and your baby will have your own room. Your baby will be able to be with you for nearly all the activities except some group counseling sessions. All of our staff and volunteers have completed criminal and DCFS background checks.
How severe are your mental health symptoms? If your current or recent mental health makes you at risk for harming yourself or others, Merci's Refuge may not be the right setting for you until you obtain greater saftey and stability. We can help you figure out what you need right now and connect with other resources if needed.
Where are you at in your recovery? If you need to detox from alcohol, opiates or other substances we can help you find a safe and equipped program. If you have recently completed a detox or inpatient addiction recovery program, or have been sober but struggling with occassional relapses then Merci's Refuge might be a great next step for you.
What level of accountability do you want and need? People need and want different levels of accountability and support. Do you want someone to drug test you? Do you want someone to hold you accountable for the "people and places" you spend your time around? Do you want someone to encourage and challenge you to work hard on your life goals and your homework for classes? Do you want to give up your cell phone for the first 3 months in order to focus on your goals? These are things we provide at Merci's Refuge. We also require residents to be on time to activities, to keep their personal areas clean and organized, and to help with meals and house chores.