A recovery journey through Amethyst Place
Meet Mollee, Wellness Empowerment Coach at Amethyst Place (AP) in Kansas City. Her journey to get to this successful place in her health, life, and career has been bumpy, lonely, dark, and winding–and it started with food.
“From a really young age, food was probably my drug long before drugs were. I was 300 pounds by the time I was 16. Drugs became a solution to my food addiction when I realized there were drugs that made it so I didn’t have to eat or sleep. I thought “this is great,” then I quickly learned with that life comes violence, crime, and other byproducts of that world,” says Mollee.
It was in 2013 that Mollee’s family became concerned about her and her three children after learning about her addiction and involvement in a violent relationship. They notified the authorities, who eventually removed Mollee’s kids from her care. At one point Mollee lived alone in a slumlords house with no running water or electricity, but she was grateful to be in a “home” where no one was using drugs around her. Although on the right track, that environment was not safe for the kids and she knew she had to make major changes to get them back.
After years of fighting addiction, she had enough, and in 2013 Mollee applied to enter the program at Amethyst Place, a United Way of Greater Kansas City partner agency, which provides nearly 200 women and children in Kansas City with comprehensive, family-centered care each year. Through 37 apartments and on-site programs, families receive safe housing and basic needs; educational and vocational supports; recovery, wellness, and financial coaching; and therapy and care management for as long as they need to help the whole family heal and thrive.
It was at Amethyst Place that Mollee entered into recovery and was finally able to be reunited with her children. Together, they lived in an apartment on the Amethyst Place campus. “At one point I put all of our mattresses in one room on the floor just to spend as much time together as possible. I had no clue how to raise kids before coming to Amethyst Place. In my addiction, my kids were fed (usually), clothed (mostly) and loved (because I told them they were), and that was more than what I saw from most people I knew; so I thought I was doing great,” says Mollee.
Since Amethyst Place provided safe housing and basic needs, she was able to focus on recovery and being a good mother to her children, and eventually graduated from the program that inspires transformational healing and empowers generations of women and children to achieve recovery, reunification, and resilience.
In addition to finding recovery, Amethyst Place was also where Mollee found her calling. When COVID hit in 2020 and she was laid off from her job, Mollee decided to pitch an idea to Amethyst Place to fill a gap she believed was missing in the program: health and wellness. Coincidentally, Amethyst Place had recently done a survey and found out that wellness was a missing component of the program, and took her up on the idea! She has since been running the wellness program. Mollee made great use of the COVID-19 lockdowns by getting three certifications (Health Coach, Wellness Coach, and Peer Support Specialist). She is also currently in school, working towards her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. “Wellness is so intertwined with recovery, people are realizing how exercise, nutrition, and movement is connected to mental health,” says Mollee.
Thank you to all who give to UWGKC! You are directly impacting lives like Mollee’s and helping create positive change in our community and beyond for generations to come. Learn more about Amethyst Place and the life-changing, comprehensive, family-centered work they are doing for women and children in the Kansas City area.