Beyond Housing – The Full Spectrum of Women’s Services Programs: Wynona’s Recovery

Life took a dark turn for Wynona when her two children grew up and moved out a few years back. To fill the void and escape unaddressed trauma from her past, Wynona ended up becoming dependent on drugs, grew apart from her boys, and lost both her job and her home. That’s what brought her to the Catherine McAuley Center in early 2022. 

“Before I got here, there was still a lot of helplessness and hopelessness,” she remembers. “Quite a bit of despair.” But Wynona saw where the sorrow was leading and took the initiative to change course. She reached out to the Catherine McAuley Center herself, and though there wasn’t an immediate opening available, she persisted in calling for weeks on end till there was.

Now, thanks to hard work, self-discipline, and assistance from both staff and other CMC Women’s Services residents, Wynona feels happier, healthier, and more energetic than she has in years.

“I came to CMC to try to establish independence again,” says Wynona. “Today I’m 16-months in recovery time.” Wynona now works two jobs and, in her free time, volunteers at both the Catherine McAuley Center and at CRUSH of Iowa community recovery center.

We asked her what she wishes more women in crisis knew about CMC. “They don’t visualize it out there as what it really is here. It’s visualized quite a bit as just a shelter here. And that is not at all what it is,” she explains. “They offered classes for me to help with mindfulness. Encouraged my recovery. Made sure I met my needs with my doctor—my mental health, my physical health. And then gave me some leeway to get myself on a financial plan.” 

“That’s really what brought me here more than anything,” she continues, “To help me get my life back together. Or get it in a different space than what it was. I had a plan. But I kept kind of running from the plan because I didn’t have the proper stability, the proper resources, the proper support that I really needed. So, coming here really helped with that. They’re there to help you if you need extra assistance. They’re there if things happen and there’s emergencies … But the compassion that comes from staff understanding—they care about us, too. We care about them. Like it’s a very mutual, family-like setting.”