Golf tourney to benefit women’s shelter

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The Lighthouse Home tenant Maureen Carson, second from left, shares a laugh with Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO David Farris, left, The Lighthouse Home board member Shirley McAvoy, third from left, and Vanessa Scaife, founder and director of The Lighthouse Home, as they visit her room on Wednesday at the nonprofit home.

BY JENNY WHITE
Staff Writer

Thursday, October 24, 2019

A local nonprofit group helping women get on their feet recovering from drug addiction is getting a helping hand from men and women in their golf cleats.

Belmonte Lake Golf Club and the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce are hosting a golf tournament benefiting The Lighthouse Home on Nov. 8. A single player can register for $125 and a team of four can register to compete for $400. Registration starts at 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 8 and the shotgun start is at 12:30 p.m.

Interested golfers can pre-register at rockymountchamber.org or by calling volunteer Shirley McAvoy at 252-904-4793.

The Lighthouse Home Director Vanessa Scaife has been running the organization that comes to the aid of local women recovering from substance abuse for 19 years. The home on Eastern Avenue in Rocky Mount is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that offers shelter to women who are in transition, working toward the next chapter of their lives. The shelter provides a structured and supportive environment for women who need a fresh start while struggling to fight back against substance abuse and subsequent life events that left them homeless.

“Drug addiction makes you hopeless and helpless, and even after you’ve detoxed and the drugs are out of your system, it can be hard to change your thinking — to see the possibilities for your life and to forgive all the things you’ve squandered,” Scaife said. “I know those feelings. I’ve lived those feelings. And I’m here to show women that come here how to come through what they’re going through and heal. I help them feel hope again.”

Scaife said she’s grateful for the work of her board members and friends like David Farris, president and CEO of the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Having some assistance in raising money to fund The Lighthouse is vital to its existence. We’ve scraped by all these years based on my income from my ‘real job’ and a few other supporters like the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Rocky Mount, but the burden was getting heavy,” Scaife said. “To have others ready and willing to help support The Lighthouse Home means so much to me. I feel more hopeful than I’ve felt in a long time. I think David and some new supporters we’ve gotten — like Tim Wilke at Belmonte — get what we’re doing. And they care, they really care.”

Scaife credits her new board president Shirley McAvoy with infusing the nonprofit organization with new energy and determination.

“Shirley has been my biggest cheerleader and advocate for the women in the home for a while now,” Scaife said. “Her compassion and spirit is a gift to me and The Lighthouse. She truly understands our mission and said, ‘I’m going to do something to help’ — and here we are, having a golf tournament and making community partnerships and raising money to help these women in our community. Shirley is special.”

The house can shelter up to seven women and has one temporary bed that can serve as a crisis bed for short-term purposes. The women cook for themselves, clean the home and go to therapy classes, AA meetings and job training classes. The goal for the women is to become healthy and self-sufficient, moving out on their own when they’re ready. There is no one-size-fits-all timeline and Scaife works with each woman individually to establish goals and milestones. Many of the women in the shelter are fighting opioid addiction.

Farris said he’s committed to The Lighthouse Home and feels the work Scaife offers women fighting substance abuse is important.

“I read about what The Lighthouse Home was doing earlier this summer, and my wife and I wanted to learn more. We were both moved by Vanessa’s compassion and devotion to helping these women make it and become productive members of our community,” Farris said.

Farris noted that the opioid epidemic has touched many families in the Twin Counties and it’s a problem that must be addressed on a community level.

“There are many ways to help people with addiction issues, but Vanessa’s approach to heal them in a home, with one-on-one compassion, is something I’m really impressed with. I want to help her succeed — to help them all succeed,” he said.

McAlvoy is excited about sharing the work that Vanessa and The Lighthouse Home does in the community.

“I am so inspired by what Vanessa has done, and I think other people will be, too,” McAlvoy said. “The women Vanessa helps come to The Lighthouse and can take a deep breath. They’re not scared. They can put the focus on their recovery. It’s not just a shelter. It’s a home, as long as they need it.”

Farris and McAlvoy said the golf tournament is a first step for securing funds to support The Lighthouse — and spreading the word about what The Lighthouse Home does.

“I feel strongly that The Lighthouse deserves more community support and encourage local businesses and individuals to support it and participate in the golf tournament,” Farris said. “I’m excited to be a part of helping Vanessa and The Lighthouse offer even more women support and shelter in our community.”

Donations also are being accepted from non-golfers and sponsorship opportunities are available. All golfers will get lunch and beverages at the event. A hole-in-one prize, a car, will be offered by Joey Griffin Kia.

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