More Shepherd’s House graduates looking to the future

Published 8:26 pm Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Seven more young men and women recently graduated from the Boyle County Shepherd’s House, a non-residential addiction recovery program for former inmates in Danville. They are now looking forward to a brighter future.

Dylan Coulter, 21, of Harrodsburg, is one example of how the Shepherd’s House helped clients take control of their lives in a positive way.

Before the informal, yet emotional, graduation ceremony Monday, Coulter said he had been in the program for eight months. He had been on track to spend a year in jail for his second DUI, he said. But Roger Fox, director of the Shepherd’s House saw that Coulter was a strong candidate and arranged for his enrollment in the program.

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“I was ready for change,” Coulter said. “I was wild … I grew up too fast and didn’t know how to live with being high.”

Photo by Robin Hart/
Dylan Coulter takes a moment to regain his composure while talking about his life experiences and what he gained from The Shepherd’s House recovery program during a graduation ceremony on Monday.

Coulter had also had dropped out of Mercer County High School without graduating, already had a daughter and “I didn’t think I had a drug problem.”

After eight months of being clean and learning how to live sober and take responsibility for his actions, Coulter said he now realizes how much potential he has to shape his future.

While at the Shepherd’s House, Coulter earned his GED and will be attending Boyle County’s Bluegrass Community and Technical College in January. His plan is to earn his general education credits there and continue schooling to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

He now has a second child and credits his children’s mother for standing by him “during the madness for two years. She watched me grow and helped me grow.”

Even though his family fully supported him, Coulter said it was the Shepherd’s House that helped him the most. But, “I’m thankful for everybody.”

“I’m a better person now,” Coulter said. “I’m content being sober and being home with my kids.”

Brittany Morgan, 21, of Lincoln County is another graduate who received her certificate at the Shepherd’s House on Monday. She said she had been in the program for eight months and at first only saw it as a way to get out of jail, not thinking that she would really be changed.

“I turned 21 while I was here. I didn’t get to celebrate like most people do when they turn 21,” Morgan said.

Morgan had worked in a nursing home for two years before being arrested on drug charges. She loved her job, but lost it because of her  jail time. “That was really hard.”

“Plans usually don’t work out the way you want them to,” she said.

She will be attending Campbellsville University in Mercer County starting in January.

“I’m excited, but I’m nervous. I don’t like change … This was part of my life for eight months.” Going to school at Campbellsville “will be a really big change for me,” she said.

Right now, Morgan is looking at becoming a certified nursing assistant.

Aaliyah Jones, 23, became a Shepherd’s House client on April 2. She said she’s received a lot of love and support and has become a responsible adult. Her dad will be giving her a car when she gets her driver’s license and she will be attending college so that she can get a better job in the future. Her career will “probably be helping people.” Jones said with the skills she’s learned at Shepherd’s House, she knows her future will be better than if she continued using drugs. “I’m not going to work so hard for something and then lose it.”

Nora Wells, 25, arrived at the Shepherd’s House the same day as Jones. She was barefoot and angry at the world, she said. But now, she is learning to deal with her issues and has been clean for more than eight months. Her young daughter is proud of her for completing the program, Jones said. She wanted to attend the graduation but she couldn’t because she was in school.

Wells also said she was lucky because she will be able to continue working at the call center where she was working before getting into trouble. “That was huge.”

Brittany Fowler is 26 and lives in Garrard County. She’s been a client since Feb. 5.

“On Jan. 14, I will be clean a year,” Fowler said. She didn’t want to talk about herself, so Wells shared that when Fowler came to Shepherd’s House, “she didn’t think she would make it this far. She hated herself and everybody.”

Fowler then opened up and said, “I didn’t want to be here. I didn’t want to hear what they had to say.”

Robin Hart/ Brittany Fowler grins after receiving her certificate of graduation and a card from the staff at the Shepherd’s House congratulating her on her achievements.

“I’ve been through hell. I’ve been through a lot,” while going through the program, she said. Then she proudly added, “And I stayed clean.”

Fowler has been working in housekeeping at a local motel for the past five months. “It’s the first job I’ve ever had,” and she’s planning on staying there, she said.

During the simple graduation event, five of the seven graduates sat at a long table and faced other Shepherd’s House clients who are working toward their recovery. One by one, Shepherd’s House counselors spoke about each graduate. Sometimes with tears in their eyes, they told about the drastic changes from the day they arrived to this day of graduation.

Fox said he was proud of each and every graduate and how they persevered through the program.

Now, Fox said, it was time for the graduates to “give back and stay involved” in the community, with the Shepherd’s House and with other people who are going through recovery.