Most Impactful Executive Director
The Healing House and New Beginnings
Musician Jens Lekman said, “Sometimes you have to burn yourself to the ground before you can rise like a phoenix from the ashes.”
Heather Gieck, executive director of The Healing House and New Beginnings, knows what it’s like to rise from the ashes. Gieck, who grew up in Jefferson City and started using drugs and alcohol at a young age, lived a tough life of ongoing substance abuse and bad choices, and she eventually served a three-year prison term. After she left prison, Gieck spent the next few years in a recovery ministry in Branson serving as a house manager and mentoring other women. It was around this time she began dreaming a new dream — to come back to Jefferson City to repair her broken relationships and begin a recovery ministry in her hometown.
In May 2015, Gieck opened the doors to The Healing House and New Beginnings, a Christ-centered recovery ministry designed to help women and men recover from a hopeless state of mind and body, grow in faith in Christ, and have responsibility to this community. It is a one-year program serving eight resident women in the women’s house and eight resident men in the men’s house. Residents work on rebuilding structure, time management, relationship reconciliation, work ethic, and spiritual growth in their lives. Gieck also lives in the women’s house year-round.
“Our environment can make or break us. When people have lived a life of chaos, we have to learn how to live a constructive life and build a sense of safety,” says Gieck. “An environment like the Healing House is crucial to develop that safety.”
One resident recently reconciled with several of her children, including those she was on the cusp of losing parental rights to before starting the program. It was a success story Gieck wants to spread to more people, including those she serves in her prison ministry, where she holds a church service and shares her story.
“I was what the world called a junkie. If God can change my life, he can change anyone’s life,” says Gieck.
This message of hope has also resonated with the community. Since the Healing House is not federally or state funded, the program runs entirely on program fees from the residents and generous donations from the community.
“My heart wanted me to be a giver to this community because I had been a taker my whole life. My life revolves around this ministry,” she says. “I want to thank my kids, who went without me their whole lives, and my family for allowing me to do what God has called me to do. It would be difficult without their love and support.”
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