Women's Recovery Center Story
CELEBRATING 30 YEARS OF EMPOWERING WOMEN
The Women’s Recovery Center was originally established as the Westside Women’s Center in early 1986. Located on Storer Avenue in the Stockyards neighborhood of Cleveland, OH, the organization provided a safe and non-judgmental space for women from the near Westside of the city to find support and assistance. Here a group of social service agencies came together in one convenient place for those in need. Each agency provided specific programming and each agency held a seat on the Board.
Nickie Antonio became the Executive Director in 1990 and under her direction the Center became a certified alcohol and drug addiction treatment center. It was also the first to provide counseling for women living with HIV and AIDS. The first bilingual and bi-cultural HIV program for women was organized. Hard Hatted Women had their offices onsite, and the Center became a stronger referral resource location for women. Nickie remembers those years as a learning experience: “The women who were involved with the Center were incredible human beings! During my years there I learned how to create a welcoming environment, how to give and receive hugs, and how to work with people seeking services.”
In 1997, Mary Jane Chichester took over Center leadership. She was charged with the mission to provide opportunities for women to take greater control over their lives physically, emotionally, and economically. At that point, outpatient substance abuse treatment services were offered for medically indigent women. Childcare services for mothers engaged in treatment were also made available. The Women's Recovery Center was recognized by the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board of Cuyahoga County as the 2002 Adult Drug and Alcohol Treatment Facility of the Year in Cuyahoga County and presented the John F. Lewis Award as an Outstanding Outpatient Treatment Facility. In 1997, the client capacity was limited to treating 30 women per year for addiction. In 2019 the number increased to 115.
Ashley Yassall was appointed as the Executive Director in 2019. She was previously involved at the Women’s Recovery Center as a Board of Directors member. Ashley plans to expand programming to utilize the newly renovated space fully. She also intends to build strong community partnerships better to serve the Stockyards neighborhood and the Cleveland community. Ashley received a Senatorial Citation by State Senator Nickie Antonio of Ohio’s 23rd District for accomplishments as Executive Director of WRC in March 2020.