Success Stories 941-251-7937 We Need Your Help…We Can’t Do This Alone! WHAT HAVE OUR GRADUATES ACCOMPLISHED? We have numerous success stories at Learn to Fish! Here are a few examples of how our program can give our ladies the Hope, Healing and New Beginnings that truly change lives! Meet our program graduates About Sue: Sue began working for Goodwill Manasota through Learn to Fish Recovery Center’s partnership with Goodwill’s Job Connection program and was recently promoted to a management position. Sue was recognized as Goodwill Manasota’s 2018 Team Member of the Year in October. Sue is one of five children born to a loving family in New Jersey. She graduated from college with a teaching degree then earned her Masters of Education. She worked as a teacher in New York and loved what she did. A marriage to a husband who was using drugs and became abusive changed all that. Influenced by her husband’s behavior, she became addicted and was eventually arrested. Over time, her connections to her family, her community, and her spiritual life were disrupted. She suffered 2 drug overdoses. While recovering in the hospital from the second one, her parents told her that her sister – who also struggled with addiction – had overdosed and died. It was then that Ottomanelli decided it was time to get her life back on track. Ottomanelli found her way to Bradenton, where she enrolled in Learn to Fish. “Thanks to Learn to Fish Recovery Center, I have my life back. The program helped me to support my natural skills and talents and allowed me to reconnect to the things I cared about before drugs took them away, said Ottomanelli. Her new position and rise in income have allowed her the resources to move into her own apartment and live independently in her recovery. Sue O. With the programs and opportunities she’s received through Learn to Fish, Sue is building a solid foundation for her future, based on the things she values the most: a strong connection to her faith, a sense of family and security, and a supportive work environment. About Ayonda: I am 26 years old and I came to Learn to Fish Recovery Center for Women and Children for help with my addiction and help with reunification with my children and to recover the life that my addiction stole from me. Since I came to Learn to Fish, I have learned the importance of treating the core issues and conditions that kept me in the cycle of addiction. With therapy, treatment, and continued sobriety many doors have been opened for me and for my young children. I have custody of my daughter Kenyona today and I am working towards getting my other children back with me. I have graduated from the program and I have become employed. Finding a solution to stay sober has been provided for me through the support of Learn to Fish Recovery Center and I am grateful for this program and the importance of recovery in my life and the lives of my children. Ayonda B. About Jennifer: I had a fairly happy childhood, raised by my grandparents after my parents’ divorce. I graduated high school and earned a scholarship to a small private college. I bounced around the East Coast, working mainly as a CNA in home healthcare. I met my husband and married at 30. I lost my husband Jack to leukemia six years later, and to ease the pain of grief and loneliness, I began drinking. A few years after my husband passed away I moved to Florida. I became involved in a relationship that was unhealthy and turned abusive. I came to the center homeless, broken, and spiritually lost after escaping that situation. I was also suffering from severe depression, alcohol abuse disorder, and had recently been hospitalized due to a suicide attempt. Being surrounded by the caring staff, I received the treatment and individual therapy I needed. Participating in our group therapy sessions, attending classes and 12 step fellowship meetings, and growing my personal relationship with Christ through our Bible studies and regular church attendance has given me hope for a bright future. Jennifer F. I graduated from the program in December 2018. I was invited to stay at the center after graduation. I began to facilitate some of our FIT (Family Integrity Training) classes, mentor the women through my own positive experiences, and I was blessed with the position of Social Media Coordinator. With the opening of our transitional living center, I will also be acting as house manager of our next phase of living for our program graduates. Our Transitional Living Center will provide a loving environment for our women to further their healing and give them a secure “stepping stone” to independent living. I am thankful and grateful that I am able to spread the word about the work we do and help other women change their lives and their children’s lives. Shaun Meet Shaun: Arriving to Learn to Fish in 2013, so many wonderful things have been restored to Shaun’s life – especially being reunited with her two boys and being given the chance to be the loving mom she is today. For the last three years, Shaun has had a successful career where she is thriving, loves her life and is strong in her faith in God. Meet Aqua: Aqua came to Learn to Fish in 2012 and was ready to end a life of pain and suffering and begin anew. Aqua has worked for Learn to Fish in different capacities since her graduation from the program. She is now the Office Manager for the Recovery House and loves that she is working to help women regain their strength and hope and become the women they truly are. “Physical and mental dependency on prescription drugs lead to jail, and facing prison Learn to Fish helped through God and counseling, and coping/esteem building groups to build my self-esteem & self-image to become the strong independent woman I am today. Some of the things I appreciate most of LTF are the spiritual aspect, not forcing but helping to first gain knowledge of God, His love, and Power, then through wisdom to find understanding. Also, LTF has become a part of me and I am a part of it. Learn to Fish, much like the story in the book of Jonah, swallowed me up out of the sea of despair and addiction which had consumed me completely and lead me ashore where I found God waiting for me and this not only saved my life but gave me a brand new life of love and joy! I now have a purpose and positive direction for my life and am blessed with the task of helping other women to achieve their goals and maintain recovery through Christ.” Meet Nikki: An inspiration and mentor to many women, Nikki is blessed with a life she never could have imagined. When you hear her speak, she has a gentle and engaging voice, but you hear the voice of a very powerful and determined young lady and a true survivor. “I grew up with mental illness. My mother was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and my father was manic depressive and bipolar. I found drugs at age 13. I used because it numbed my pain and for a moment every now and then I was able to escape the chaos that surrounded me. I gave away job after job, home after home. I walked the streets barefooted, hid in bushes, slept on benches and threw away every relationship I had. I was in and out of institutions, rehab, and jail. I had also snapped mentally and began experiencing the hallucinations and delusions my mother did. Finally, a pivotal moment in my life occurred when I became pregnant and was picked up by Learn to Fish in 2013. I finally wanted to give myself a chance, I might have first stayed because of the baby that was growing inside me but there was a part of me too that just didn’t want the street life anymore. During recovery, I gave my daughter to a wonderful Christian family and my father passed away. But I was getting better and stronger with each passing day. I gained a career in insurance, a field I never thought I would enjoy so much, and married an amazing man who supports me every step of the way. God delivered me from mental illness, addiction, homelessness, spiritual deficiency and so much more and in replacement, gifted me with joy, love, peace, and contentment. The best gift of all is my relationship with the Lord, who on a daily basis, I get to better know.” There are too many successes to feature, but this gives you a feeling for what we do. It’s our “Calling” and passion to help women find themselves, to go within, to turn to faith, hope, and love to guide their path. We are blessed every day to see lives go from the depths of hopelessness to the heights of hopefulness. Like us on Facebook!