First Step Home will host Rose Award gala

Saturday, May 19, 6-9 p.m., Cincinnati Woman’s Club, 330 Lafayette Ave.

First Step Home, an addiction treatment center for women, will celebrate its 25th anniversary at the annual Rose Award Celebration. The evening will be hosted by Mona Morrow of WCPO. This year’s honorees are Annie Bennett, Laura and Joseph Klunk, and Kelly Firesheets.

In 1993, several women, including Annie Bennett and Mary Ann Heekin, founded the center to help women with substance abuse disorders. The facility has grown into an 11-building campus that offers wrap-around services for women and their children.

As First Step Home has grown, so have the types of treatment programs offered.

Realizing many women do not seek treatment because they fear losing their children to

the foster care system, First Step Home created programs such as a residential treatment program that allows children 12 or younger to live at the facility with their mothers.

First Step’s Maternal Addiction Program was started five years ago. Over the past 10 months, the Terry Schoenling Home for Mothers and Infants program was launched, helping women with substance use disorders bond with their newborns during the first month of life.

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Rose Award honorees

Annie F. Bennett, Individual Contribution. As the first executive director of First Step Home, Bennett worked with many community leaders, activists and advocates for the recovery and treatment of addiction. She later joined the clinical faculty at the University of Kentucky. She is a licensed independent clinical social worker.

Laura and Joseph Klunk, Family Contribution. The Joseph A. and Laura L. Klunk Family Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of children and families affected by substance abuse and mental illness. It works to improve addiction treatment facilities throughout the region.

Kelly Firesheets, Emerging Leader. Firesheets holds a doctorate in clinical psychology. At Interact for Health, she led regional opioid response work, including the Funders’ Response to the Heroin Epidemic.

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