ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Women overcoming addiction now have a place in Rogers to be surrounded by support.
Friday was a special day for those in the Benton County Drug Court, marked with a ribbon cutting on a packed porch.
But, behind the smiles and the hugs is an uncomfortable past.
“I started using when I was 15 and I didn’t stop until I had an intervention with the law,” said Karen Slater, the founder of P.E.A.R.L.
Slater started her journey with the Benton County Drug Court in 2011 after a 28 year substance abuse addiction.
“Through drug court, the 12 step program, and transitional living, I was able to change the direction of my life,” she said.
It was a second shot at life, and she wasn’t going to waste it.
“If we can have an impact on our community to allow other women to start healing from addiction then they can change their lives and their families lives and affect their children too,” said Slater.
To do this, she started P.E.A.R.L., which stands for Positive Energy Affecting Recovering Lives.
“We started with supportive services to the clients in Benton County Drug Court and the veterans treatment court program.”
“But this the first time you guys have actually had a house?”
“Yes, this’ll be our first transitional living home.”
Its just a matter of time, 9 women and one supervisor will be sleeping in beds inside the new home in Rogers.
Before Ashley LaHue, the organizations executive director, started advocating for struggling addicts, she had someone do the same for her.
“I was ready to give up,” she said. “I actually told Benton County Drug Court Staff that I was sending my child back to my parents because I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t pay my rent, and they referred me to Karen Slater who reignited that spark of hope in me.”
Now she’s using that spark to help other women see the light in staying sober.
“I thought if she can do that, I can do that, I can do some of that,” she said.
Together, LaHue and Slater hope to pave the way for generations to come.
LaHue said they need household items like laundry detergent, dish soap and toiletries.
Monetary donations are also being accepted for gas cards.