Christmas Comes Early for HeroWork

Last week my team and I sat down with Don Evans and Bob Frank from the Our Place Society to discuss our next project. This meeting was like an early Christmas gift because the resultant project will see HeroWork transform part of a former youth detention facility into a home where people who have suffered trauma can heal and transform their lives.

The Vision

In an online article, Don Evan, CEO of Our Place, shared his story. He was having lunch in the Our Place dining hall, talking to a man. This man was down on his luck, using drugs to mask his pain, but glad for the complimentary meal. Don asked him what was bothering him, and the man said he knew he was going to end up back in prison soon because he was starting to commit crimes to feed his drug habit. He had tried short-term treatment programs in the past, but none had work and he didn’t know where to turn.

Don says that this is a story he hears too often.

Someone suffering on the street, dealing with his or her addiction, gets involved in criminal activity and end up in prison. When released, this person has no new skills, no new methods of coping with his lot in life or solutions for his addition. And so, he ends up back on the street, seeking out drugs and escape, getting involved in crime, and returning to prison.

This is what a bedroom (cell) currently looks like.

Our Place’s vision is to change this. They want to dig down to the root of that pain and transform lives.

To that end, they are opening a multi-faceted, long-term recovery program. It will have a safe, structured, therapeutic environment guided by professional staff. The therapeutic community will address the comprehensive, holistic, bio-psycho-social, and ecological perspective of addiction, homelessness, and criminality. It’s modeled after the San Patrignano Therapeutic Community that reports a 72% full-recovery rate for residents who complete the program.

Getting Inspired

Phase 1 of this facility is already opened and will soon have up to 40 men enrolled. However, Our Place has asked HeroWork’s help to complete Phase 2. Phase 2 will enable another 40 men (recently in the criminal justice system and homeless) to transform their lives in an environment that is welcoming, transformative, and healing.

Our renovation will take a place of incarceration and turn it into a place of healing, community and transformation. This is the best kind of Christmas gift—one that will glow in our hearts throughout the season and beyond.

Although it’s still early days–there is still lots of planning and design work to come–what do you think? Drop me a line or leave a comment and let us know.

In service and gratitude,

Founder & ED of the HeroWork Society


An image of the institutional nature of this current facility.

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