Healing House opens new community outreach center

Bobbi Jo Reed, founder and executive director of Healing House.

Nikki Lansford
Editorial Assistant

Healing House, a faith-based substance use disorder recovery support service, is now able to influence the broader community like it has never before. With a new Community Outreach Center and the reopening of the First Step Fitness Center, the nonprofit will extend its healing hand to several different avenues in the Northeast it has yet to reach.

Its Community Outreach Center, located at 4428 St. John Ave., will be used for a multitude of purposes to serve the area, said Brian Greene, manager of the center. Greene said the center will start with hosting meetings for Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Al-Anon, a support group for families of alcoholics. In the future, though, the center will broaden its spectrum to provide a place to host meetings for many other organizations in the area also.

In addition to providing a space for different groups and organizations to meet, the outreach center will also be used to provide services to the people of Northeast. For example, Greene said the center is arranging to have several computers on site, so those in need can use them to do things like take literacy classes or do job searches.

“It is mainly at the starting stage,” Greene said about the services the center will provide. “We’re just trying to figure out what the community needs and then work to fulfill those. Right now our primary goal is Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous, but we just see this as having the potential to be so much more than that.”

Healing House Executive Director Bobbi Jo Reed said she imagines the building will be used to host smaller, more intimate meetings, provide one-on-one counseling services and be a place for people in the community to access resources.

The center will be fully staffed to help provide resources to anyone who walks in, and it will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday.

“It’s good because this place will provide services we do during the day at our other location, but it will be open later into the evening,” Reed said.
While the building is officially open, the center has yet to host the first of its meetings. Greene said the hope is to host its first Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in coming weeks.

Those who are interested in hosting meetings at the outreach center or want to share ideas for services to be provided at the facility, can reach out to Greene at brian@healinghouseinc.net or (816) 768-8350.

In addition to the new outreach center, Healing House has also officially reopened its First Step Fitness, located at 4602 St. John Ave. The fitness center, which initially had its grand opening last fall, had to close temporarily due to the City’s COVID-19 restrictions, said Jesse Ibarra, a certified peer specialist and Executive Assistant to Reed. It has been officially reopened since March 22.

Since First Step is a fitness center, and not just a gym, Ibarra said the plan is to provide more than just the basic gym equipment in the facility. The center currently offers yoga classes on Tuesday and Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m., and in the near future will offer weightlifting and pilates classes, and will even have its own nutritionist on site.

The gym is free and open to everyone in the community. All that a resident needs to do in order to join the fitness center is sign a waiver. Ibarra said anybody of any age can come to the fitness center as long as minors have a parent or guardian to sign for them.

“We’re encouraging neighbors, family, police officers, firemen, just really anyone that wants and that can come and make change in 2021,” Ibarra said.

The facility is open on Monday through Thursday from 6 to 10 a.m., Monday through Thursday from 2 to 6 p.m., as well as Friday and Saturday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The creation of First Step Fitness has really been a community effort, Ibarra said. The fitness center itself was funded through a grant provided by the Health Forward Foundation, while a majority of the equipment was donated by the community.

Ibarra said the fitness center has given Healing House an opportunity to explore the concept of healing through a different avenue they had never previously thought of.

“It was a piece of our puzzle that we hadn’t explored, and that’s the physical well-being and health of our program participants,” Ibarra said. “We unfortunately [have done] so much damage to our inside that one way to begin to repair that is to work on your physical agility.”

First Step Fitness is following CDC guidelines and does require participants to wear a mask while inside the center and to pass a temperature check before using the facility.

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