Grace House offers healing, hope

Crystal Arroyo, left,  and Alicia Cox in front of Grace House. (Empire Press photo/Darlene Paterson)

 

By Darlene Paterson
Empire Press Correspondent

Grace House, a transitional home for women and children located in East Wenatchee, lives up to its name as a place of healing and hope.

“Our purpose is to see women transformed by the renewing of their mind through Jesus. We want to give them a strong foundation for withstanding the trials they go through and help them transition back into living as productive members of society,” said Alicia Cox, director of Grace House.

Grace House, a branch of Lighthouse Christian Ministries in Wenatchee, has been bringing hope to women who need a helping hand for the past five years.

Joseph and Alicia Cox moved to this area from Oregon four years ago at the invitation of Lighthouse Pastor Shawn Arington, a childhood friend of Joseph.

Alicia became director of Grace House and Joseph directs the men’s transitional discipleship program.

“I love working with our women,” Cox said. “We want to demonstrate God’s love and help them understand that they were created with a purpose. Our goal is to help them find and fulfill that purpose.”

Grace House can accommodate up to 40 women and children. Currently 17 women and 18 children are residents. The large house consists of rooms for families and singles, a communal kitchen and dining room, a family room and reception area.

“Grace House always has a waiting list,” Cox said. “Women come to us who have been knocked down by life. They may have gone through a divorce, been released by the Department of Corrections, or been living on the streets, any number of scenarios. Our requirements for admittance, other than to turn in an application and go through two interviews, are to pass a background check and sobriety test. The purpose of the background check is to look for signs of child endangerment. We believe their past history does not define who they are, but we do have to protect our children.”

Crystal Monique Arroyo came to Grace House three years ago. “I was pregnant, addicted to drugs and homeless with three kids. The day my son was born was the day a room became available for me here. My son’s birth date is my clean and sober date. It is amazing what has happened. The support and love I received here has transformed me. About a month after I arrived, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Everything the world told me I could never do, I have done through Him.”

Arroyo currently serves on staff as the night and weekend manager of Grace House. “I love helping other women find the joy and love I found here,” she said. “There is a sense of peace and protection that everyone feels when they walk through these doors. It is undeniable and life changing.”

Women can live at the home up to two years before transitioning back into society. The cost for a family is $250 a month which includes food, toiletries and cleaning supplies. Sponsors are always needed for women without rental funds.

All residents participate in chores, cleaning and cooking. Classes are offered according to individual needs. One class teaches the women how to communicate in healthy ways and is required of all residents. Cox meets with each woman monthly to determine needs and encourage their progress toward independent living. Other classes are offered in budgeting, parenting, cooking and other topics.

Needs are often met through a network of volunteers and various community organizations. Anyone willing to teach a class or skill is encouraged to volunteer.

“If you can teach our women productive and healthy ways to spend their free time, you would be welcomed,” Arroyo said. “We are also looking for someone who could organize fundraisers for us. That is a big need right now.”

For more information about Grace House or to volunteer, visit wenatcheelighthouse.org and click on “Ministries” and then “Grace House”; or check out their Facebook page at “Grace House East Wenatchee.”