HANFORD — It’s been nearly 10 years since Cecil Lewis “Lew” Frasieur and Ellen Frasieur advocated on behalf of bringing residential treatment program Hannah’s House into the Hanford community; and in an act of things coming around full circle, the Frasieur’s home will now be the site of a new sober living residence.
The Frasieur’s had lived in the home that sits on the corner of Redington and Keith streets since 1967, and after they both died, their children, Jeff Frasieur, Forest Frasieur and Carolee Stevens, contacted Champions – a nonprofit treatment agency – about taking over the house to be used as a sober residence for Hannah's House women and their children.
Crystal Hernandez, executive director of Champions, said the Frasieur children wanted the house — which sits right next door to Hannah’s House — to be kept for the original purpose that their parents lived by: which was community giving and community mindedness.
Since the 1970s, Hernandez said the Frasieur’s took in different people who needed a helping hand. She said they found people they could help through their church, friends and neighbors.
“They became known as a couple that gave and gave and were very much instrumental in helping us open Hannah’s House,” Hernandez said, adding places like Hannah’s House are not always welcomed into a community.
Hannah’s House provides substance abuse treatment; mental health counseling; therapeutic childcare; parenting and family groups; recreational and art therapy; health and wellness education; life-skills education; and vocational and educational opportunities to women and their children.
Hannah’s House currently houses 20 women and their graduation depends on the level of the individual client’s needs, Hernandez said.
The Frasieur Home will be a sober living residence for five graduates at a time from Hannah’s House before they find a permanent home. Hernandez said the home will give clients a cushion between treatment and finding a permanent home.
While at the home, the women will continue to volunteer in the community, participate in alumni functions with Champions, and most of all, stay connected with the support system they created while at Hannah’s House, Hernandez said.
It can be scary and overwhelming for clients to transition from having support 24 hours a day to be out there on their own, said Deputy Director Darcy Pickens. She said the Frasieur Home will be a perfect balance and stepping stone for them.
While at the Frasieur Home, clients can look for jobs and begin looking for their own apartments for themselves and their families when they are ready to move to the next step in their lives, said Hannah’s House Program Manager Marisa Nardiello.
Nardiello said they would also get to continue outpatient treatment with Champions, something she said she knows a lot of the women are interested in because it offers safety and assurance that they don’t have to be homeless.
“It gives women hope when they don’t know where to go or what’s going to be next,” Nardiello said. “They are grateful for this house and for the possibilities and opportunities it’ll give them.”
Nardiello said one of the mottos the Frasieur’s liked to live by was “community, sense of mind and heart.” She said that’s a motto Champions wants to continue with the clients who graduate from Hannah’s House in order to move them forward and reintegrate them back into society.
“It’s important in all of our programs that our clients give back to the community in the ways that they’ve been able to receive,” Pickens said.
In less than a month, Hernandez said Champions has been working hard on fixing some of the house's cosmetic issues and are currently looking for decor and furniture sponsors for some of the rooms.
Hernandez said the same process was used for Hannah’s House, where different organizations or individuals came together and sponsored rooms and decorated them differently and uniquely.
So far, Hernandez said Koinonia Church, WoodmenLife Insurance and World Link exchange students have agreed to sponsor rooms. She said sponsors are still needed for the living room, dining room and two more bedrooms.
Hernandez said bringing in community sponsors gives the women a sense of being embraced and supported by the community.
During an open house that will hopefully take place in December, Hernandez said the house will be dedicated to the Frasieurs and a picture of them will also sit in the home.
“It’s just a great place,” Hernandez said. “It’s beautiful inside and out and I think the heart of it is already there. It’s embraced by the women that are currently at Hannah’s House because they see the potential for a future and for an opportunity.”
In addition to Hannah’s House, Champions operates Samuel’s House, the Rylie Brennen Home and Amanda’s Home, which are all residential treatment programs that cater to specific populations.
“Everybody has different circumstances in their lives,” Hernandez said. “Every single person deserves an opportunity to change.”