Sometimes, people just need a change in perspective to get them back on the right track. For the last four years, Amy Mims has been inspiring change as the director of the women’s program at the Ark Dothan. The faith-based ministry helps men and women weather life’s storms by giving them a safe place to live while completing a 12-month recovery program.
Women in the program are transitioning out of substance abuse, homelessness, prison or lifestyles affected by unfortunate circumstances, but they all want the same thing — a fresh start. “I think we really see the change when they start to have confidence that there’s hope for the future,” Mims says. “When they get the confidence that they can really do this, it’s just amazing to watch the transformation in each of their lives.”
It’s easy for Mims to relate to women in her care, as she has been in recovery for the last 16 years. “I am passionate about it because I know recovery is possible,” Mims says. “It’s a heartbreaking job, but it’s a rewarding job.”
Most women coming into the Ark’s program have histories of trauma and few, if any, possessions. Mims recalls 1 resident who entered the program after a hospital stay following a suicide attempt. Upon discharge, she was immediately transported by ambulance to the Ark without so much as a pair of shoes.
“She’s been with us now for 2 years, and she has her own car and she’s attending college with only one more semester left,” Mims says with a hopeful smile on her face. “She’s just doing things the right way and learning to live sober. Things can change when you learn to lay aside false beliefs and redefine what recovery means to you.”
When women enter the program, they spend about 6 months in daily discipleship classes while participating in mental health counseling, GED training, and engaging in duties and activities on campus. Then, the Ark helps them find employment, enroll in college classes, budget money, obtain transportation and reconnect with family to regain a sense of independence and purpose. “It takes a community,” Mims says. “It’s learning to let go of old toxic relationships and seeing your identity through the way Jesus sees you — that’s when freedom starts.”
Those familiar with her work nominated Mims for the Silent Heroes of the Wiregrass award, a partnership between Wiregrass Electric Cooperative and WTVY that recognizes local unsung heroes making a positive difference in the community. Mims was selected for the honor by WEC’s Operation Round Up Foundation board and was presented with a $1,000 check to further her impact.
“Through hard work and perseverance, Amy changed the trajectory of her life for the better and now uses her experience to help others,” says Brad Kimbro, chief operating officer for Wiregrass Electric Cooperative. “On behalf of our members, we want to thank her for providing such a great service to those in need and helping to raise hope and the bar for all of us here in the community.”
To learn more about the women’s program, visit The Ark Dothan website.