By Mark Ambrogi
The generosity of Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis members will help Volunteers of America of Indiana take another step in combating the dangers of the opioid epidemic.
The nonprofit will use the $100,000 grant from Impact 100 to quadruple the families served at the Theodora House, a residential treatment facility for pregnant mothers and mothers of young children in Indianapolis that is home to the Fresh Start Recovery Program.
Volunteers of America was one of five finalists who gave a seven-minute presentation at the annual Impact 100 dinner at Ritz Charles in Carmel. The members then voted on the winner. Each of the finalists received a residual grant of $15,000. The others were Big Car Collaborative (arts and culture), DirectEmployers Institution (education), Marion University (environment) and Children’s Bureau (health and wellness). Volunteers of America was entered in the Family Focus category.
“Mothers can have their babies with them during treatment,” said Shannon Schumacher, the Volunteers of America of Indiana executive vice president of strategy and clinical services. “With this generous gift from Impact 100, we’ll be able to go from 15 beds to 60. The other focus I had was to educate people on this problem. We hear about on the news but really don’t understand this is really, really devastating to the community and families. It’s important to get the word out.”
Schumacher, a Geist resident, said the goal is to get mothers in when they are pregnant so the babies can be born healthy.
“It helps the babies to be healthy and able to be full-term and not addicted to drugs when they are born,” Schumacher said. “When they’re in our residence, they are not using drugs, and they’re in treatment.”
Schumacher said there are 142 women on the wait list for the program, which began in August 2015.
“One of our main referral sources in IU Methodist Hospital,” Schumacher said. “Dr. Tara Benjamin, who does high-risk obstetrics for women who are addicted to opioids, is our main referral source for pregnant women.”
Schumacher’s husband, Sven Schumacher, is CEO of Lutheran Child & Family Services, which together with Ascent 121 earned the $100,000 grant in 2016 to assist teen survivors of human trafficking.