First Presbyterian Church


Joyce's Community Story

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Gateway to Discovery is a 2-year residential program “Offering Women a Sanctuary for

Recovering in Community.” I knew NOTHING about alcohol or drug addiction and recovery when, in 2012, a friend, Jodie, asked me to be on the Gateway to Discovery Board of Directors. I said “yes” anyway!

     I’ve learned that “God does not call those who are prepared, rather God prepares those God

calls.” I have always been drawn to serving outside the walls of the church. That is, perhaps more often, where i see God most at work, and especially, I see God at work in those who are poor or “on the fringes” of society. Alcohol and drug addicted folks have definitely been on the fringes of society. My friend, Jodie, had just come out of CFR (Community and Family Resources) Detox Treatment. She had nowhere to live that was safe. Yet I could see how miraculously God was at work in her life to have brought such amazing transformation to her in such a short time. There was no way to explain it except that God had a plan for her, and where God is at work, that is where I needed to place myself. So... “YES.”

     Jodie had a dream of starting a home for women so that they would have a place to go after initial treatment. People like Jodie need an option to going back into the same environment from which they had come with all its temptations for relapse. They need extended support for learning a different lifestyle. They need a place of unconditional love where “Love Changes Lives.”

     Gateway to Discovery is in its 6th year and has benefited over 50 women who have come through its doors. As a board member, I attend regular meetings where decisions are made regarding the program. I am Co-Treasurer so I handle paying the bills and receiving and recording donations as well as writing thank-you notes to all donors. This week I am attending a conference on human trafficking in Des Moines to understand how we might serve those women better. There is much cross-over between the societal problems of addiction, homelessness and trafficking.

     Ways for others to get involved: I am involved with the women personally in a Circle every Thursday at 1:30 pm at Hope Sweet Hope Studios, 1900 5th Ave. S. Circle is open to any woman in the community who would like to come. I would LOVE help writing thank-you notes! We always need help with fundraisers as well as looking for volunteers to transport the women residents to meetings, classes, and counseling sessions. We love to have volunteers mingle and work with the women at the Hope Studios making handmade paper and other items. Recently we had the residents and volunteers learn to do Acrylic Pourings. It was great fun! If you have a gift

of teaching a craft/art; if you have experience teaching aerobics or yoga (other?) we would definitely be open to that. We have openings for 2 board members, male or female, if you have an interest.

     All of our support comes from churches, individuals, service groups and private foundations so that God can remain central to recovery success. So, of course, we can always use financial donations! Contact Joyce Garton-Natte, or 574-9938 or Gateway to Discovery, Box 432, Fort Dodge.