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Center for Wisdom’s Women launches campaign to fund Sophia’s House

Members of the Sophia’s House Cabinet, Honorary Council, Advisory Board, and The Center for Women’s Wisdom Board of Directors gathered to launch the campaign. Pictured here (top to bottom) are (along the wall) Cathy Carey, Mike Carey, Kristen Cloutier, Eliza Madden, Sue Sproul, Kate Marble, Peg Hoffman, John Emmerson, Bruce King; (center right) Shawn Yardley, Julia Harper, Judy Maloney, Luanne Rhoades, Lee Myles, Janice deLima, Klara Tammany, Sarah Barton; (center left) Sarah Strong, Hannah Quimby, Karen Krzywda, Audrey Chapman, Barbara Trafton, Paula Marcus-Platz; (along the stair railing) Lindsay Gannon, Gabriella Russell, Elizabeth Keene, Katy Sperl, Tanya Sadler, Peggy Rotundo, Anne Auer, Carl Lakari; (outside the stairwell) Tom Platz (standing), Gary Friedmann (seated).

The Center for Wisdom’s Women has launched a $700,000 fundraising campaign to transform the former St. Patrick’s convent into a long-term residential recovery community for women to be called “Sophia’s House.” More than $199,750 has already been raised, including a significant lead gift from the Sisters of Charity.

The leaders of this effort, a five-member Campaign Cabinet and a twelve-member Honorary Campaign Council, recently gathered at the Nutrition Center, adjacent to the former convent at 143 Blake Street. Campaign Co-Chairs Audrey Chapman and Mike Carey told those assembled that “supporting the women who will be living at Sophia’s House will make our entire community stronger.”

“Our goal is to raise the balance by the end of this year, so we can begin renovations in January and have eleven women living there by the end of 2019,” said Klara Tammany, Executive Director. “Not only are we renovating an historic structure in the middle of Lewiston, but women will again be living in a building that originally provided community living for women.”

The building, donated to The Center for Wisdom’s Women by St. Mary’s Health System, has been vacant for 16 years. The total cost of renovations and repairs will exceed $1.6 million. Two-thirds of the cost is already funded by a combination of historic tax credits, a grant from FHLBB under Norway Savings Bank’s sponsorship, and a Community Development Block Grant from the City of Lewiston. The $700,000 in private gifts will make up the remainder.

Sophia’s House will serve survivors of addiction, incarceration, and trafficking with an innovative program modeled on Thistle Farms in Nashville, Tennessee. Of those who enter their program, 84% complete it, two-thirds of whom remain sober and financially stable long-term. With a twenty-year history of success, Thistle Farms also runs the largest survivor-run social enterprise in the U.S. while spreading the truth that Love Heals.

Maine’s opioid epidemic and rising rates of trafficking and incarceration make this project critical. “Sophia’s House will help individuals break cycles of trauma using a model that’s been proven to work,” said Kristen Cloutier, Lewiston’s City Council President and member of the Sophia’s House Steering Committee. “This project will empower women to be their best selves and have a positive impact on the life of our community.”

For more information or to contribute, contact Klara Tammany at 513-3922 or visit http://wisdomswomen.org.

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