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Northeast Ohio woman helps members of her community find a fresh start

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Posted at 5:52 PM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 18:23:55-04

ELYRIA, Ohio — One Northeast Ohio woman is helping to make sure people get the opportunities they deserve. She started nonprofit that is a beacon of hope for individuals recently released from prison or struggling with addiction and mental health issues.

"Everybody has a story. There's nobody out there that doesn't have an obstacle that they had to overcome," said Wendy Caldwell.

But that opportunity to hit the reset button is not created equal.

"There are resources in the community, however, access to the resources is limited," said Caldwell.

Shortly after retiring from a successful career in the criminal justice system, Caldwell realized her work was far from over.

"My phone continued to ring, people continued to ask for my assistance. I'm a change agent, that's just who I am. I am married to my missions," said Caldwell.

Caldwell created A Place to Recover.

"A Place to Recover doesn't just cover substance abuse treatment, it doesn't just cover people coming home from prison, it covers anybody struggling to get back into the mainstream of society," said Caldwell.

Myron Mason's transition back into society hasn't been easy.

"Having doors turned in your face, people laughing at you, putting you down," said Mason.

After struggling for about a year, Mason found the fresh start he was looking for at P2R.

"I know exactly what I want to do, and they've given me the necessary tools to do it with," said Mason.

A big part of the outreach at A Place to Recover centers on re-entering the workforce.

"I’m an underdog person. I believe people can win if they want to," said Caldwell.

However, despite having that will, Caldwell quickly discovered her clients faced roadblocks.

"Transportation is a huge issue in Lorain County," said Caldwell.

That lack of mobility kept people from getting back on their feet.

Through a partnership with Let's Get to Work Lorain, A Place to Recover was awarded a grant to cover the cost of an electric car.

Caldwell calls it the missing puzzle piece they've been waiting for to put everything together.

P2R clients who have a license can now drive themselves to those critical appointments to help them rebound.

"If you're not there, then somebody else is going to get what maybe you could have had," said Mason.

Caldwell, who herself overcame addiction and alcoholism, got a fresh start and is now paying it forward.

"I believe in helping people and giving them an opportunity to live again," said Caldwell.