The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Local News

March 17, 2008

Mary Frances Center celebrates 13 years

The Mary Frances Center, a substance abuse rehabilitation facility on Howard Avenue that has residential treatment for alcohol/substance abuse treatment for incarcerated women, celebrated their 13th anniversary Friday.

Amid rousing A cappella music by the resident First Choice Choir, an encouraging speech by state Rep. Martha Alexander of Charlotte and success stories by returning alumni, the service was designed to attest to the fact that the women who receive treatment at the Center are "Living the Dream."

Founding President and CEO Pat Snyder has an earnest zeal for the residents, because of the lives she has seen change through their treatment.

"My passion in life is to raise awareness that alcoholism and drug addition is a disease, and that people can and do recover," she said. "If all of us work together we can make a difference in the world."

Snyder takes pride in the women at the Mary Frances Center and enjoys hearing about their lives, how they are doing and their responses to treatment.

"You have to watch them come in," she explained. "They come in the back door like a dried up rose, and it is wonderful to see them blossom."

As she walks the hallway in the facility, she smiles and greets the women as if were she were their mother, albeit an emotionally healthy one, rather than in a "codependent" way.

"How are you doing, really" she asks, with a concerned look.

The women, many of whose faces are etched with lines of hard living, respond as those who are indeed, living a dream, filled with hope and renewed understanding of the past that kept pulling them down.

"I have been in prison three times for drugs," said one patient. "This is the first time in my life that I have ever opened up and shared what was inside. In my family, we just kind of acted like there wasn't any problems, and swept everything under the rug. I feel as if a load has been lifted, and am the happiest I can ever remember being."

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