Path of Grace: Helping Women Recover Through Faith
In November, close to 100 people gathered to celebrate the grand opening of the most recent Path of Grace facility in Santa Rosa Beach. Founded in 2009, Path of Grace is a women’s residential recovery home dedicated to helping those struggling with addiction find “recovery through faith.” In the audience were a diverse group from the community including pastors, public officials, representatives from the county jail, current residents and past graduates of the program—all testifying to the effectiveness of the 12 to 24-month program.
“This program was a life-saver and a life-changer for me,” says recent graduate and current house manager Emily Cunningham, who, after graduating from the program, has transitioned into full-time employment with Path of Grace. Emily is now “house mom,” and mentor to the residents. She acts as a guide as well as day-to-day supervisor of the home. “This program has restored my family, my relationship with my daughter, and it gave me a chance for a fresh, new start. Before I came to the program, I didn’t know who I was. My identity was wrapped up in all that I had done and the mistakes that I made. Because of Path of Grace, I have found my identity in Christ and that has made all the difference. Now I know how to love and be loved in real relationships,” she said.
Andy Watkins, the inmate welfare programs manager for the Walton County Jail, was on hand to lend his support and celebrate the program as well. “I really believe in this program; to see them being able to increase their capacity to be able to touch more people and take more women in and help make a difference in their lives—it’s just fabulous.” Every week, Path of Grace women visit the jail to share testimonies and spur conversation about recovery. At the jail, they talk and work with a different group of women, hoping to give them encouragement and hope. “The difference that I see, even them coming in during the week and providing an opportunity for some of these young ladies to open up and to share what they’re going through, and the young ladies here being able to relate to them, I think it’s great,” Watkins said. “They do an awesome job.”
Path of Grace operates three residential homes, one in Miramar Beach and two in Santa Rosa Beach. With the most recent addition, the program now has space for 35 women. The total cost for the resident is $800 for the entire program. The balance is paid through monetary donations and the operating profit from two Path of Grace thrift stores located on Hwy. 98 in Miramar Beach. “I see every day the difference this program is making in the lives of our residents and families,” said managing director Eddie Mansfield. “When you see someone that’s broken and in despair and their lives seem hopeless because of addiction…I love to see them get the help they need through God and then, to see the spark in their eyes and you know it came from God, to watch people change from hopelessness to filled with joy. That’s a life worth living.”
You can help Path of Grace fulfill its mission with a monetary donation or donations of lightly used furniture or by shopping at the Path of Grace thrift store, 10962 U.S. Hwy. 98, Miramar Beach, or call 850-654-8500.
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