FirstEnergy and Potomac Edison Empower Recovering Women to Rebuild Lives, Careers through Hagerstown Nonprofit
Nestled in the heart of FirstEnergy’s Maryland service area is Lasting Change, a nonprofit committed to helping women create lifelong change against drug addiction with a purpose to build healthier individuals and communities.
The Hagerstown-based organization houses women, like Mary Yoder, as they transition out of drug addiction treatment facilities and teaches them important skills to get back into the workforce and rebuild their lives.
Lasting Change helps women re-enter the workforce during their stay through a career development program, funded in-part by a $10,000 grant from FirstEnergy, the parent company of Potomac Edison.
The career development program begins with a one-on-one session where a staff member leads a discussion about the participant’s skills and the type of work they enjoy. The women then attend a 10-week course to learn how to complete job applications and enhance interview and networking skills.
Yoder credits this program to helping turn her life around after years of battling addiction.
Yoder became hooked on pain pills that were prescribed following a car accident when she was a teenager. The addiction led to heroin use. When she woke up in the hospital after an overdose last year, Yoder knew it was time to get help.
A few months into her journey at Lasting Change, Yoder landed a job as a waitress.
"It’s very rewarding to be clean and sober and be working. It gives me a purpose,” said Yoder.
Of the nearly 100 career development program graduates, 80% of them are either working, volunteering or back in school. Over time, the organization hopes that success rate will lead to the revitalization of local communities impacted by the drug epidemic.
“Opioid addiction and alcohol addiction is a community problem,” said Kim Gembe, program coordinator at Lasting Change. “We want to continue to make an impact and help solve the problem, and we couldn’t do it without the generosity of companies like Potomac Edison and FirstEnergy.”
In addition to the company’s monetary donation to Lasting Change, FirstEnergy and Potomac Edison employees have volunteered countless hours of their time to complete projects around the facility.
Potomac Edison Operations Manager Wayne Rummel, who also serves on the nonprofit’s board of directors, said he’s seen firsthand the meaningful impact Lasting Change has had on the local community.
“Drug addiction does not discriminate, and many of our own employees' families have been impacted by substance abuse in one way or another,” said Rummel. “There’s nothing better than seeing the transformations of these women. I’m proud that Potomac Edison supports meaningful causes backed by its own employees.”
To learn more about FirstEnergy’s community involvement initiatives, visit www.firstenergycorp.com/community.
MEDIA CONTACT: Hannah Catlett, (440) 554-5346