CLEVELAND — There’s a place in Cleveland that welcomes drug-addicted mothers and their children on their journey to recovering and healing. A story that Mommy and Me Too founder Yolanda Green knows all too well as she struggled with drugs as a mother.
"I had nowhere to go with my child, a safe place. I kept getting out of treatment but then I would go to the old places and I would return to using. So it was very important to me to provide a safe place for women with their children," said Green.
Yolanda used to work at a local treatment center and used her resources to hire staff to manage seven homes, most of which are in long-term recovery, so they understand what the mothers are going through.
"For the most part they come in and the anxiety is high, they come in with a lot of shame because of their using and their past, and they want to be a mom, they just don't know how," Green said.
She says “Even though I had my son, I wasn't parenting him in active addiction. I was just allowing him to survive."
Jalisa Howard is a resident at the home and before coming to the home, she was lost and broken, but with counseling, parenting classes and a structure daily routine, she and her son Tre’mere are on the right track.
"I didn't know that I didn't even know who I was. The person I thought I was, is not the person that I am. And every day I'm getting to know who I am," Howard said.
Witnessing the transformation process of her residents affirms Yolanda’s mission to help those hurting mothers and their children.
"I can just look back when I was a part of the problem right in this same area. And to come back and give to the community and help someone, and just maybe that person would have died if they didn't have a place to go, it motivates me more," said Green
Today, Jalisa and her son have high hopes for a bright future. Mommy and Me Too rescued them from the darkness of drug addiction and ushered in a whole new way of living.
"If it wasn't for Mommy and Me Too, I would be dead," Howard said.
This story is part of A Better Land, an ongoing series that investigates Northeast Ohio's deep-seated systemic problems. Additionally, it puts a spotlight on the community heroes fighting for positive change in Cleveland and throughout the region. If you have an idea for A Better Land story, tell us here.