LOUISVILLE, Ky. – For almost a decade, Hotel Louisville has combined a fully functioning hotel with job training for people in addiction recovery.
“By the end of their time here in our program, we want them to be 100 percent equipped to handle a sober lifestyle when they leave here, and to be fully equipped to be self-sufficient,” said Chief Operating Officer, Nina Moseley, of the non-profit, Wayside Christian Mission, that owns the hotel.
Shirley Shaw is one of the hotel’s housekeepers. She has been in the recovery program for over a year. Even a task as simple as cleaning a room can help address a problem as complex as addiction.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself from being here,” Shaw said.
The 60-year-old moved all the way from Richmond, Virginia because she heard that people were going to Kentucky to join the program and would get sober and stay in recovery.
“I was homeless so, you know, I am looking for the better way of life because I know there is something more to life than to use drugs on a constant basis,” Shaw said.
The program is usually six to nine months, but there is no time limit and people in the program can stay in as long as they need.
Pam LaBoissiere completed the program only a few months ago. She also worked as a housekeeper, and now works at the hotel full-time.
“I’m very proud of myself. I’ve accomplished a whole lot, and I intend to keep on doing that,” LaBoissiere told Spectrum News 1.
And beyond housekeeping, those in the work therapy part of the program work every job, from arranging the fresh flowers around the hotel to working the front desk and putting on banquets for weddings and other events.
“You can see that self-esteem in them grow,” Moseley said in regards to the work each person in the program does.
“I’ve learned to love me. I’ve learned to change my attitude and behavior and become a better person,” Shaw said about the recovery program as a whole.
The jobs don’t pay monetarily, but the recovery program is free and there is free transitional housing at Hotel Louisville, too.
“We spend a lot of time with our folks training them in customer service, making sure that when they report for their training station that they are well groomed, their hygiene is what it should be, and their attitude is what it should be. They are listening to what their supervisor asks them to do,” Moseley said.
Moseley said they have many participants that have used the job skills they gained at Hotel Louisville to work full-time in hospitals, restaurants, and hotels around the area.
“By the end of their time here in our program, we want them to be 100 percent equipped to handle a sober lifestyle when they leave here, and to be fully equipped to be self-sufficient,” Moseley told Spectrum News 1.
Shaw said she is only two weeks away from completing the program. She has gained employable job skills for the hospitality industry, but she now has her eyes set on another goal, a career in nursing.
One she may not have thought was possible, if she never checked into Hotel Louisville.