When Kevin Simmers lost his daughter Brooke to an opioid overdose in 2015, he knew he needed to honor her legacy by carrying out her dream: opening a transitional house for women recovering from substance use disorder. He and his wife, Dana, broke ground on Brooke’s House three years later. Now, in 2022, Brooke’s House has received its first ARC INSPIRE grant to further their mission.
Based in Washington County, Maryland, Brooke’s House provides a safe, stable, community-based living environment for adult women in the early stages of recovery. Drawing from his experiences at rehabilitation facilities with Brooke, Kevin specifically designed the program to offer comfortable semi-private bedrooms and bathrooms, a spacious kitchen and common area, a chapel, a salon, and other features that many other sober living homes lack.
“We want to raise the level of respect and dignity,” he said to TODAY.
What sets Brooke’s House apart, aside from its state-of-the-art treatment services and homey facilities, is its focus on giving women purpose to prevent future relapse. Residents help run the home’s social enterprises including an ARC-supported chocolate making project, dog grooming, thrift store operation, and junk removal, which helps build new skills, fosters a work ethic, and empowers individuals on their road to recovery.
Brooke’s House will use its ARC INSPIRE grant to expand support and engagement services, specifically by hiring a coordinator for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) program to help more women access job training and placement while in recovery. Kevin’s team expects the addition of this coordinator will help the CDL program serve 12 participants. This expansion, however, is only the beginning.
“I have a vision and I want that vision carried on,” Kevin shared with TODAY. “I think Brooke would be exceptionally proud of what we’ve been able to put together.”
Brooke’s House graduates like Cara Divelbiss agree. She was able to achieve her dream of living a productive drug-free life thanks to the support and purpose provided by Kevin and other staff at the home.
“That void I always felt is now being filled with principles…like honesty, humility, and integrity,” she said.