Last updated: July 24. 2013 2:03PM - 301 Views

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Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Staff from The Counseling Center, current clients, previous alumni, members of the board of trustees, nurses from Southern Ohio Medical Center and pastors from Cornerstone United Methodist Church, braved the cold, wet wind Monday afternoon to plant a tree in front of the Stepping Stone House on Second Street in Portsmouth. The tree, a Thunder Child Pink Flowering Crab Apple tree, was donated by Dudley Wooten of Wooten’s Landscaping.

“We’re celebrating Stepping Stone House’s 20 year anniversary of operation serving the women and children,” Mary Irwin, Program Director of Stepping Stone House, said.

Stepping Stone House consists of two 16-bed facilities for women who can bring their children, up to age 12. Irwin said the evidence-based treatment and curriculum used are designed to meet the unique needs of women with addiction. The program is devoted to the prevention and treatment of alcoholism, drug addictions and other health and behavioral health problems.

“We provide counseling, education. We do drug and alcohol education, parenting classes, vocational rehabilitation, discharge clinic to include helping them look for housing, establish independent living,” Irwin said. “Currently, we have about 25 pregnant women with us.” She said pregnant women also receive prenatal care and assistance in caring for their newborn after they give birth.

Guests gathered under shelters and listened as speakers spoke of the successes of the Stepping Stone House program, then made their way to the front of the house where officials took shovels in hand and began planting the tree.

“We are planting a tree for the 20 year memorial,” Irwin said. “We’re going to have a little plaque out there, and we get to sit back and watch it grow for the next 20 years.”

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at flewis@heartlandpublications.com

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