- Mar 25, 2022
Twenty-one years ago, Vanessa Scaife opened the entrance door of the Lighthouse Home with the intention of helping women transition from one chapter of life to another one.
Whether they needed a place to recover from abusive relationships or the guidance beyond the personal struggles of a high school dropout, they found hope at the Lighthouse Home.
In addition to providing a recovery home, she insisted they adopt healthy lifestyle patterns, the type patterns that would return them to the community as productive citizens. One important step they were required to complete was agreeing and signing a personal contract.
“The personal contract reinforces the structure of the home — attending the daily or weekly scheduled meetings, following the 12-step program, obeying the curfew,” Scaife said. “They must have a doctor overseeing any health matters that need to be corrected. All court pending issues need to be taken care of and they must abstain from using drugs and alcohol.”
During those 21 years, she’s witnessed many residents who accepted her recommendations and improved their lives. Others failed to follow instructions and made their exit. She earned a living to support herself and the recovery home by working as a licensed massage therapist. She became a state-certified peer support specialist in order to identify with the challenges some of her residents faced.
Despite assistance from concerned citizens, churches and organizations, Scaife found it difficult to do everything on her home management list.
A shining star emerged three years ago — Shirley McAvoy, a skilled volunteer who brought just the boost Scaife and the Lighthouse Home needed. Scaife said her administrative skills are essential as the needs of the residents and the number of referrals are increasing.
The two had a chance encounter. McAvoy’s struggles with migraines forced her to seek assistance from a massage therapist. She met Vanessa Scaife who was working at Jon Chelle’s Day Spa and Salon in Rocky Mount and struck a common bond. After reading about Scaife in a local publication and hearing Scaife describe efforts to run a recovery home, McAvoy decided to get involved.
She brought years of experience from previous volunteer posts as a school fundraiser, an event planner, a caring parent and a retail sales manager. She scheduled meetings with some key stakeholders in the community to learn more about the resources and helpful contacts they should pursue.
“My volunteer work at The Lighthouse Home allows Vanessa more time to work with each resident to replace unhealthy behaviors with healthy practices through coaching, mentoring, goal setting and acting as a role model for recovery,” McAvoy said. “I am also the treasurer, so I maintain the finances, pay the Lighthouse Home bills and monitor spending. With Vanessa’s help, I also write grants to further increase our financial position,” McAvoy said.
Other duties she’s been actively involved in include updating The Lighthouse Home’s brochure, overseeing the creation of a new logo and finding a professional company to create a new website.
McAvoy also credits Erin Gall, another board member, with helping complete marketing tasks, helping to complete print and mail tasks related to their fundraiser, a spring golf tournament and maintaining the Facebook page for the Lighthouse Home.
McAvoy collaborates with Scaife to note the progress of the residents from their entrance to exit date as a means of measuring the impact of the recovery program. She also set some deadlines to complete long overdue repairs at a home that has served many residents.
“We had some rotting wood, cracks in the tiles in the bathroom, problems with the foundation that needed repairs. It wasn’t easy to get people to come over during COVID-19 for estimates, but we found the help we needed,” she said. “The Barnhill Family Foundation paid for and completed the foundation repairs and repairs to both bathrooms. It looks great now.”
Their efforts to increase community awareness prompted more local businesses, families and churches to support The Lighthouse Home with monetary donations, toiletries and supplies for the home. Their support remains crucial given the rising number of referrals they receive from area health and mental health sources.
McAvoy describes Scaife as one of the most compassionate people she knows. Scaife is a happy, passionate caregiver despite hardships she has faced in her own life, McAvoy said. Scaife is a breast cancer survivor who overcame the abuse of her pain medications.
At one time, the four-bedroom house was a recovery zone and place of residency that she too needed. They’ve spent three years working diligently to assure The Lighthouse Home remains a viable recovery zone for all the residents under its roof.
For more details, visit TheLighthouseHome.com