Healthy and Home for the Holidays

December 22, 2023

Healthy and Home for the Holidays

33-year-old Kira Lawson has a lot to be grateful for this holiday season. For the first time in more than 10 years, she is able to spend this Christmas sober, in her new home and with her two sons, nine-year-old William and seven-year-old Roman.

The start of 2023 looked a lot different for Kira. She struggled with substance use disorder and felt hopeless. Kira knew she needed to stop but didn’t know how. She had been in the throes of addiction for more than a decade.

“I started using drugs when I was 20 after my mom passed away,” Kira said. “I was feeling a lot of different emotions when she died. I started doing drugs, and it numbed the pain.”

Kira spent her twenties using substances to cope with the loss of her mother and childhood traumas. It wasn’t until she had her two sons that she knew something needed to change.

“I wasn’t ready until after I had kids, but I was so far gone in my addiction. It had a hold on me,” Kira said.

After several attempts to live a sober life and multiple relapses, she started looking for something to help her take back her life. And on August 1, she found Volunteers of America Mid-States’ (VOA) Freedom House.

At the time, Kira and her children lived in her childhood hometown in Bell County, Kentucky. After learning about Freedom House and that she could bring her sons with her, Kira decided to make the move to Manchester, Kentucky.

“I wanted a new start with my boys. Give them a fresh start with a sober mom,” she said.

The Freedom House staff drove to Bell County to pick up Kira, William and Roman and they entered the program on August 1.

“I was scared at first being in a whole different county where I didn’t know anyone. But the more I stayed at Freedom House, the more I realized this is what I wanted,” Kira said.

From individual, group and family therapy, parenting and life skills classes and vocational training, Kira was able to understand the root cause of her substance use disorder. She learned the tools necessary to overcome her addiction and build long-lasting foundations for a healthy, hopeful life with her two boys.

“I’m very grateful that God led me to Freedom House,” she said.

On November 3, Kira graduated from the program and with support from Kentucky Housing Corporation’s Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, she was able to sign the lease to a home in Laurel County and move in the very same day. She and her sons spent their first Thanksgiving together in their new home and she is excited to make more lasting memories this holiday season.

Today, Kira is a part of another VOA program that helps people in recovery return to the workforce. VOA’s Recovery Reintegration Program offers job placement, training, career counseling and financial assistance, giving individuals in recovery the resources necessary to be successful in any job they begin.

With VOA’s support, Kira is searching for a job, feeling confident and ready to continue her recovery journey.

“I can’t wait to see what next year brings being clean and sober,” she said.

As Kira and her kids prepare for the holiday festivities in their new home, VOA’s annual Hope for the Holidays campaign is underway and working to make this holiday season special for families like hers. You can join VOA’s efforts by donating winter clothes, personal hygiene items and toys for kids like William and Roman to unwrap this Christmas.

Kira said William hopes to receive a Spiderman action figure this year, and Roman loves anything Pokémon.

Donated items can be dropped off at The Axis Gathering and Coffee Shop, Dollar General located at 631 Ky-80 in Manchester or at Walmart. Learn more about VOA’s Hope for the Holidays campaign and how you can help us make this holiday season special for the families we serve at