Addiction’s ferocious grip can seem impossible to escape. Allen and Teresa Peratt, a husband-and-wife pastor and counselor, spent more than 20 years of their 45-year marriage each battling addictions. The Peratts’ story of recovery will highlight Pies Plus, the biggest annual fundraising event for Passages Women’s Transitional Living in Rapid City.
Passages teaches women struggling with cycles of addiction, incarceration and homelessness how to recover and rebuild their lives. The nonprofit organization is not federally funded and relies on community support and grants. Donations given at Pies Plus will support Passages’ day-to-day operating costs.
The fundraiser includes dessert. RSVPs are requested so board members and volunteers know how many pies and desserts to bake for the event.
The Peratts, along with Cara Smith and Katie Root, two clients who have gone through the Passages program, will talk about their journeys from addiction to recovery.
“I think it’s a real message of the horrors of being under addiction and the nightmares it’s brought to their lives, how they have gotten through this and how they have turned their lives around,” said Judy Allen, who serves on Passages’ board of directors. “All of them have a spiritual dimension (to their experiences). … They’ve gotten back on their feet and into happy places. They’re examples of what a program like Passages brings to them.”
The Peratts, of Sioux Falls, each survived abusive childhoods and were meth and heroin addicts for more than two decades. Al ended up in prison in California and South Dakota. He was sentenced and sent to the South Dakota State Penitentiary for running what was at the time the largest meth drug ring in South Dakota. Al was pardoned in 2011 by President Obama. Al has been in recovery for 30 years, and Teresa has been in recovery for 23 years.
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Al became a pastor and was the first ex-convict chaplain and counselor at the South Dakota State Penitentiary. He serves as chaplain for Volunteers of America, spiritual adviser for Keystone Treatment Centers and recently retired as pastor of Set Free Ministries in Sioux Falls. Teresa has worked as a certified addiction counselor for 18 years. The couple has two adult children.
Passages is one of only two-faith based programs in South Dakota that provides a safe environment for women who are newly out of incarceration, according to Dr. Marge Beam, Passages director. Passages incorporates Bible study, work, community service and education to help women become physically and emotionally healthy. They take life skills and basic financial management classes, get a job and share in household chores. Women can live in the Passages house in a Rapid City residential neighborhood while they spend six to 18 months in the program.
More than 100 women have gone through Passages since it launched in 2008. The program’s overall success rate is between 70 and 80 percent, said Beam, who describes Passages clients as wonderful women who made bad choices.
“If we support them now, there is a better chance we won’t have to support them in prison,” Beam said.
Beam will speak at the Pies Plus event about the Passages program and its goal to build and open a new facility in Rapid City. Passages is working to raise $1.2 million for housing that will accommodate 14 women, board member Jim Parry said. Board members and staff hope to break ground on the new building in spring 2020.
For information about Passages or Pies Plus, go to passagesliving.com