During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sojourner House found much to celebrate, including its 30th anniversary. The non-profit defined these years around resilience and endurance rather than a disruptive virus. The Pittsburgh drug and alcohol recovery agency may have had to adjust how it worked, but Sojourner House’s faith-based mission of supporting diverse women in recovery and their families endures. More than 120 families reside in Sojourner House apartments in several Pittsburgh locations—from the fourteen-unit Sojourner House Treatment Center founded in 1991 to the Sojourner House MOMS supportive permanent housing program for more than 70 parents and their children.
Executive Director De’netta Benjamin-Miller says, “One common thread among our programs is recovery from substance abuse disorders. The other connection is that parents can have their children with them during their stay. This is an important distinction in our approach to recovery.
”Consistency in group sessions, counseling, and healing activities provide tools for client success. Community volunteers provide a wide array of support, from leading bingo to planting flowers. For Mother’s Day, moms may be treated to a self-care and beauty event, while kids can “shop” onsite for lovely gifts donated by local retailers. Workshops in professional development support job search and networking skills. Clients explore expression in a long-running creative writing program that includes the presentation of work in tearoom readings. Sojourner House events like the Yoga in the Street workshop for Recovery Month had moms and kids stretching together. One evening clients might be selecting new outfits at Treasure House, while Beverly’s Birthdays may provide a baby shower for clients on another day.
Daughters and sons attend school, as well as after school programs, led by partner Homeless Children’s Education Fund. Younger children participate in activities with a child are specialist. However, the need for fresh air and safe outdoor gathering spaces led to new opportunities for Sojourner House. Following a two-year campaign born of Covid safety realities, Sojourner House has completed enhancements on its double lot known as MOMS Green. Rotary volunteers and staff spruced up existing features,and added a learning shedas well as anew open-air pavilion. The facilities and outdoor spaces will be used by Green Educators and staff as they provide essential support for clients, their children, and other family members.
“A sensory garden planned for spring 2023 will symbolize what the mothers at Sojourner House experience alongside their children,” says Benjamin-Miller, “that hope grows from seeds perhaps yet undiscovered.
”Opportunities are open to get involved with Sojourner House’s innovative programs. Volunteers play a part year-round, indoors and outdoors. They may be found leading a bingo game, reading to children, or dropping off their club’s holiday gift donations. Soon the Annual Victorian Tea returns for its 19th year to the elegant Omni William Penn Hotel on Sunday, April 16, 2023, at 2 p.m. For details about any Sojourner House program or events, email [email protected] or call 412-441-7783 x104.
STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY SOJOURNER HOUSE