Amethyst Place: Helping women fight drug addiction in KC

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - While more than 30 million people in America battle drug and substance abuse, it’s no surprise some of them are parents and that their children are negatively impacted.

“When the kids heard us arguing it wasn’t good for them,” explained mother of five, Michelle Reams. Reams was with the father of her children about ten years and dealt with domestic violence and drug abuse.

Reams moved in with that man when she was 16 years old, trying to get away from sexual abuse in her own home.

“They were already smoking marijuana, but I didn’t know because I only knew him from school,” said Reams.  Reams did not try it at first, afraid of what it would do to her body, but at some point got sucked into the lifestyle. "I started dancing and stuff just to have money to get high."

But now, things are much better for Reams. She got her very own apartment at Amethyst Place and is doing well as a parent on a daily basis.

“Moving into Amethyst, that was the first time we got a real sense of home,” explained Reams.

Reams admitted it was the first time in her adult life she and her children had that.

“I never had my own room. My kids were always sleeping underneath me,” said Reams.

Now she is raising her kids on her own and has been drug free for 2.5 years, finished her G.E.D. and got a job.  She credits Amethyst Place for providing her with a clean, safe home, lifestyle classes and accountability checks.

“Taking care of my kids, I have a place they can come home to. They have a routine and a bedtime. When they come home from school they are happy to see me,” explained Reams.

The non-profit organization also helped pay for Reams’ G.E.D. classes and test, and has helped her take baby steps towards furthering her education.

"Michelle has done a 180 since she moved in here,” explained Jessica Bauchle, therapist at Amethyst Place.

Reams is now studying business management at Penn Valley and hopes to be done in about three years. It’s helping to prepare her for a whole new goal.

"I really want to get into real estate. That's just been my dream, that's always been my dream,” said Reams.

Click here if you would like to learn more about Amethyst Place or want to donate.

Right now there are about 67 children and 38 women living at Amethyst Place. It always stays around 100 people.

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Belinda Post can be reached at belinda.post@kshb.com.

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