A place to learn, laugh, and heal after divorce
It’s often said that “home is where the heart is.” For single adults undergoing the emotional trauma of divorce, separation, or losing a partner to death, SOLO House at Crestview Baptist Church is just the place to heal a grieving heart.
Over the course of thirteen weeks, adults struggling with death, divorce, and raising children as single parents come together to learn how to cope with their myriad emotions, fears, and hardships. Many join the program feeling alone and hopeless, but they soon find friendship, bonding, and support from people who’ve shared common experiences. Under the SOLO House umbrella, they no longer have to go it alone; they now have a family to lean on and learn from.
One participant wrote that at SOLO House, she found “strength I didn’t know I had. I’ve found understanding, fellowship and peace of mind. I’ve found a group of people that helped me through the hardest time of my life, and I’ve come out on the other side a better person because of it.”
“You’ll notice that we’re in an actual house,” said Tommy West, minister of education at Crestview Baptist Church and facilitator of the church’s SOLO House ministry. “And that was on purpose. We’re not trying to be ‘churchy’ in all things. We’re just trying to be a place where people feel safe and welcome.”
It seems the concept has worked. According to Tommy, Divorce Care—Solo House’s divorce support group—has worked with over 450 adults since it started in 2002. “I’m amazed at how far people will drive to get here,” said Tommy, noting that the programs have touched the lives of people from nine different counties.
Currently, SOLO House offers four thirteen-week programs: Divorce Care, Divorce Care for Kids (a divorce support program designed for children ages 5 to 12 whose parents are divorced or separated), Single & Parenting (a specially-designed class for single parents), and GriefShare (a support group for people mourning the loss of a loved one). Each class meets at the house once a week to cover important topics such as “Financial Survival,” “Conflict & Resolution,” and “Forgiveness.”
Going through divorce can be stressful enough without added financial burdens, says Tommy, who has personally experienced divorce. So, to make it easier on singles, costs of classes and materials have purposely been kept low.
When classes aren’t in session, the house is open twice a week as a safe haven for people to talk, relax, check email, watch television, and play games. SOLO House also promotes the feeling of community by hosting potluck dinners, white elephant gift exchanges during Christmas season, and meals on Christmas and Thanksgiving.
“We’ve found that some people will walk into a house a lot more comfortably than they would a church,” said Tommy. “So even though it’s under the umbrella of the Baptist church, the word Baptist will never be mentioned. It’s faith-based, but it’s also nondenominational. Everyone is welcome.”
For more information, go to www.solohouse.org.