Recovery ministry duplicates successful Travis House with Love Life for women
Craig native Chynna Wallace lost her dad to addiction. When she became a mom, she knew she had to stay clean from drugs.
But her efforts to recover from addiction, including stays in jail and rehab, did not work. When her mom connected her to CAYA, or Come as You Are, formerly in Steamboat Springs, the Christ-centered program worked for Wallace.
“If you knew me five years ago, you wouldn’t see the same person you do today,” said Wallace, 32. “I was in and out of jails, rehabs, mental institutions. I was sleeping in cemeteries and laundry rooms. I had bruises all over my body from IV drug use and was trapped in a hell of my own making.”
Today, Wallace is the first executive director of the Love Life women’s faith-based sober-living home that is opening Oct. 1 as a partner to the successful Travis House for men in Steamboat. Wallace said she felt called to help start Love Life after the loss of Come as You Are, the residential program for women healing from addiction that operated in Steamboat for four years but moved to New Mexico in June.
“It’s just so needed here,” Wallace said. “Addiction is a plague in this valley. This house brings hope and life.”
Travis House opened in April 2021 founded by Steamboat resident Jeff Welton in memory of his son, Travis Welton. Travis died at age 24 in November 2016 from an accidental drug overdose that contained fentanyl. Travis was an energetic man who attended Soroco High School and loved to hike, hunt and play goalie in hockey, his dad said.
After his son died, Jeff wanted to save others from the same pain.
“God put it on my heart to help people in addition because no one needs to die like Travis died, and no parent needs to feel the way I felt,” Welton said. “Ever since my son passed away, it’s been my passion to give people a place to find themselves and get delivered from addiction.”
So far, Travis House has graduated five men from the program, and five more men are on track to graduate.
“None of this would be possible without the supportive community of Steamboat Springs,” said Welton, executive director at Travis House.
Welton said he is “incredibly thrilled and feeling super blessed and excited to see a women’s house that will be as beneficial to the community as Travis House.”
The name for the Love Life house comes from the two words that Travis Welton had tattooed across his knuckles.
Jeff Welton calls his partnering program director Wallace “an amazing person.”
“I’m so happy for her,” Welton said. “She can share everything that she’s learned in her recovery and her walk with Jesus with other women.”
At Travis House and soon at Love Life, residents develop a biblical foundation and learn recovery tools to live a healthy and productive life. Most residents enter the program through referrals from community agencies.
Love Life will house six women in a three-bedroom, three-bath duplex in the Fish Creek neighborhood, and organizers are spreading the word about the program now in order to accept financial and furniture donations.
Organizers note addiction is a disease of isolation, and the residential support programs are designed to end isolation through utilizing a therapeutic community residential model, spiritual growth and biblical participation. Residents living in the group houses support one another and hold each other accountable daily. The residents, who can be accepted after two weeks of sobriety, must get a job and attend at least three faith-based support groups each week. The residential program lasts seven to 12 months.
An anonymous $20,000 matching grant is helping Love Life get started. The website for Love Life will be online soon at LoveLifeSteamboat.com, and currently individuals who wish to donate can do so on the Travis House website at TravisHouse.org with a note that the funds are for Love Life.
“People really have a heart to give here and not a hand out but a hand up,” Wallace said.
Individuals who would like to donate or learn more about the nonprofit Love Life can email Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To reach Suzie Romig, call 970-871-4205 or email sromig@SteamboatPilot.com.
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