Family Regeneration Center seeks to provide access to treatment for women, and foster healing-focused community
Powerhouse Community Development Corporationis a social service organization working to empower individuals and strengthen families in the mid-Missouri area. It serves 600 or so Missourians in a year, and more than 25 percent of them are women.
The organization opened the Family Regeneration Center in Columbia last October. It's focusing on the specific needs of women who have experienced trauma of any kind – things like substance use and recovery, domestic violence, childhood abuse, etc.
Women like Kimber Kintner. She spoke at the opening of the Center. She struggled with a substance use disorder and experienced domestic violence for many years. She said it all came to a head when she ended up in treatment court in 2021.
“The judge finally was going to have me do a 120-inpatient treatment, and my daughter was like, ‘Mom, 24 hours sucked being away from you,’ and she was right,” Kintner said. “That day I was like, “Today we get clean. And I've been clean since May 31, 2021.”
Kintner spoke about the impact Powerhouse Community Development has already had on her and others throughout mid-Missouri. She added she thinks they can do even more now that the Center is opened and is focusing on providing women a place to find and build a community and access treatment.
“This is a place they can come and just hang out if they just need somewhere to decompress for a little bit,” Kintner said. “And, you know, not feel ashamed of who they are or their story, but be empowered by other women who they can relate to that, [and have] been through the same thing.”
Pastor Charles Stephenson started Powerhouse Community Development Corporation back in 2008 in Marshall, Missouri. Since then, they’ve expanded services to Sedalia, Versailles, and for the past five years, Columbia.
“My father was a pastor, my grandfather was a pastor, and I knew that when God called me into ministry, it was more to it than just a church service,” Stephenson said. “I am a proud pastor. I love being a pastor. Even the work I do in the Community Development Corporation side is still ministry to me.”
He said while Powerhouse offers monthly food drives, treatment recovery support services, youth programs and father-centered parenting programs, “most services and mental health and substance abuse is tailored around men, and not around women.”
And he added that women have specific needs and challenges when it comes to getting help – like being a single parent and finding reliable childcare.
“Asking them to get treatment and services without caring for their child is not realistic,” Stephenson said. “And so this Center is designed with the single mother, single parent household in mind. It begins at the front door when they first come in, there's a daycare drop off center.”
From there, the setting is calming – light blues on the wall, couches and plants scattered around the room, lots of natural light. It’s far from a clinical setting, which Stephenson said is intentional. He wants this to be a space centered on the “self” – self-care, self-worth and self-esteem.
There’s a shared kitchen, parenting classes and treatment classes. He hopes to host book groups and yoga in the space, and there’s space for people to meet with doulas from the local Black Doula Collective. The Collective is working to reduce the rate of Black maternal mortality in the community.
Stephenson said that's one of his goals for the Center. He wants it to be a place for collaboration where numerous community groups – like the Black Doula Collective – can come together to help women.
“If you want to bring change, create an environment that is conducive,” Stephenson said. “Anything can grow in the right climate.”
Stephenson said his favorite part of the Family Regeneration Center is the “family reunification room” where mothers working on their relationship with their children can meet in a safe environment and get coaching from a licensed clinical social worker.
“We want to break generational curses that we've seen in our community, in our society, especially among women,” Stephenson said. “And so we want to regenerate the family to live the life that I believe God designed for them, and that's what we want to see for every woman, every child, every family.”
Stephenson hopes for more partnerships with more community groups in the months and years to come.
As for Kimber Kintner, she’s begun taking classes to be a peer support specialist and a domestic violence advocate to help folks who are in difficult situations like she was two years ago. And she adds she hopes to do that work at the Family Regeneration Center.
“Because sometimes you feel like, ‘Oh, people don't get it or you don't want to talk about it,’ but I guarantee you: you walk through these doors and somebody's gonna get you,” Kintner said.