Hillsborough House of Hope helps former female inmates

1:47 AM, Feb 12, 2012   |    comments
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The Hillsborough House of Hope is a transitional faith-based home for women being released from jail.
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  • TAMPA, Fla. -- A Hyde Park woman continues to make a difference in the lives of women in the Tampa Bay area that are struggling to try to turn their lives around.

    At first glance, the Hillsborough House of Hope looks like any other typical home in the Tampa Bay area, but behind the doors there's a transformation taking place here. The house is a temporary transitional faith-based home for women being released from jail.

    Linda Walker says, "A lot of the women have made bad choices in their life, so coming into this program gives them an opportunity to get on the right track. We have classes such as anger management, employability, dress to be your best, and self-esteem."

    The women are also able to take advantage of local outpatient drug and alcohol programs. Walker knows how critical the services are because, at one time, she needed them.

    Walker says,"I am a grateful recovering addict and alcoholic. Also, before my addiction, I was a supervisor at the University of South Florida until I fell into a major depression and when I fell into that depression I made some bad choices. In making those bad choices, I ended up going in and out of the jail system because I had become an addict."

    While she was in jail, a special person reached out to her and it changed her life forever. Walker adds, "Margaret Palmer is an 86-year-old woman out of Hyde Park that had been taking the word of God to the jails for 24 years and this program was her vision. She kept seeing the same women coming through the system over and over again and her vision was to have a safe place for the women who really wanted to get better."

    That was 16 years ago and now Walker is the program manager for Hillsborough House of Hope. She is helping other women get back on their feet.

    The women at the Hillsborough House of Hope are preparing for a fundraiser so that other women can get the same help they've received.

    Kathi Lee Otero and Annette Bowers are former inmates who live at the house. Otero says, "It really is amazing. You learn about recovery and how you can just live in the world without any drugs." Bowers adds, "This place will give you love, encouragement, and also structure. It's all about choices."

    The Hillsborough House of Hope's 2nd Annual "Spring Fling" fundraiser is set for March 20th at the Tampa Yacht and Country Club from noon until 2 p.m.

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