SHERIDAN, Ind. — People who complete residential addiction recovery programs often relapse because they lose hope when they can't find a steady job when they get out. A local landscaping company called Hope Grows addresses that problem by putting men to work while they're in recovery.
On a Friday afternoon, several men on riding lawn mowers cut the grass on a large property in Sheridan. They work for Hope Grows, which guarantees employment to men recovering from addiction. A portion of company revenue goes to the Rapha Road house on this property, where the men in recovery live.
"The two big pillars are housing — sober, safe housing — and employment," said Kevin Mangan, owner and president of Hope Grows. "We're able to provide both of those. So, this thing is far from perfect, and we work hard every day to make it better...but we think we're on to a model that works for the guys who want it."
Men who enter the program commit to a year working in residential recovery with Hope Grows. Five guys live at the house in Sheridan, while another four live at a home in Pendleton.
Residents pay nothing for the Christian faith-based program. They must attend recovery and Bible study meetings three times a week. Participants are guaranteed a paid position with Hope Grows.
"Coming to Hope Grows, you still get to live life," said Sam James, a 32-year-old recovering from opiate and heroin addiction. "You still have the opportunity to see your family. You get to work. You get to make money."
James is one of the first graduates of Hope Grows. He still works for the company, and his family has helped provide new employment opportunities in light construction for men in the program.
Dustin Hutsen, 31, of Zionsville, graduated from the house program in March but also still works for Hope Grows in his long-term recovery from opiate addiction.
"Hope Grows has given me that — my sobriety — and gave me the opportunity, which is the biggest thing I believe," Hutsen said. "When trying to get sober, you feel just down and out. There's a lack of opportunity out there, or so you feel."
Brandon Hackett, 37, said he spent 15 years in and out of jail, addicted to opiates. He's now sober for a year and a half, living at the house in Pendleton.
"Through the Lord and these people that have been established, I have been able to build my life, reclaim and rebuild my life," Hackett said.
"It's a kind of a coy name, but it's true," Mangan said. "If they will stay here and plow through the difficult times, their hope definitely does grow."
Hope Grows started in March 2021 with five men in the initial program. Three men completed the one-year commitment, and two of those three are now living on their own but still working for Hope Grows and mentoring a new class.
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