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Instilling Change: Emma Guthrie

On June 19th, 2019, Emma’s second daughter was born. She worked non-stop to support her family growing. She’d been homeless off and on for several years and struggled with addiction for 17 years. The Children’s Division was insistent about taking her daughter away. Her oldest had been removed and placed with family in Oklahoma. Emma felt lost. The only faith she had at this point was with the Door of Hope Program she had found when she got pregnant with her youngest daughter.


Emma chose to take a 31-day treatment at McCambridge, an addiction treatment center in Columbia. As her time at McCambridge ended, Emma’s housing options were dire. On her last day at McCambridge, she was placed at Harvest House in Booneville, a safe place for those in need. She then choose to stay at Sheffield Place here in Kansas City a non-profit treatment and supportive housing program. She started employment with Hampton Inn while living there, which help her to start getting her life back on track. Emma didn’t lose sight of her passions or being the provider for her family. She was hired and began working for Closets by Design in February 2022, even though she has moved on from there, that’s where her passion became reality, specializing in customized closets and carpentry. Emma completed the in-facility program at Sheffield Place and then rented a house through them.


Unfortunately, Sheffield was only a two-year program, and she was forced to find new housing again. Feeling panicked, she called her Probation Officer, who suggested she call Second Chance. Emma had two weeks to find housing. The same day of her appointment with Second Chance, she completed the housing curriculum required of all participants. But with three evictions on her record and two felony convictions, she still felt like she had an uphill battle. In the nick of time, Emma was able to find a house for rent that had just been posted within the last hour of her searching. Emma applied and thankfully was approved.


Emma says the hardest thing about getting back into society is staying away from bad influences. In her words, “People, places, and things are bad influences. Not only that but being able to budget effectively and stay on track financially can be a huge barrier.”


Emma Guthrie now says the past several months of her life are finally good. The most helpful part of the Second Chance program, according to Emma, was simply the encouragement she received from her Resource Specialist. Emma felt relieved that someone was in her corner and had her back. She also said that the furniture assistance to furnish her home was extremely helpful since she had to rebuild her life from so little. Emma is extremely proud of how far she has come. She’s been sober for 3 years and is happy that she’s been able to prove the doubters in her life wrong. Her daughters are both home with her. She gets to be a proud, strong, sober and providing mother of two every day, with a beautiful career ahead of her. She says “you must be determined and keep pushing through hardship no matter what comes in your way.” She believes in having faith, setting goals, and not letting your past define who you are today.

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