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By Tim Miller
In May of 2018, we first arrived at the recently-founded Sanctum House residence. While the building itself was in relatively good shape, the grounds looked pretty sad, to say the least. What little landscaping existed was overgrown and full of weeds. A sad hump of dirt and rotting timbers marked an old vegetable garden, and a large bare swath of cement passed as the only place the women could enjoy the outdoors. That day a crew of nearly 40+ volunteers from Christ Church Cranbrook worked a miracle- transforming the grounds into a place anyone would be proud to call home. Shrubs, roses, and beds of flowers brightened the surroundings. We brought the vegetable garden back to life to provide fresh produce for the house. In the following three years, including the COVID shutdown, CCC has been faithful in providing help to prepare the house grounds for the summer season.
But more than one miracle happened at that first event and has continued every year since. The fact that “regular” people were willing to spend a day of work to make the house a home to be proud of made a lasting impression on the women residents. Many of them had never spent time with people who did not want to take advantage of them and cared only for what they could get from them. Those volunteers came to give them something with no expectation of repayment was a foreign concept. The fellowship shown by CCC to each other and the residents who worked side-by-side actually catalyzed a developing love of gardening and nature and, most importantly, helped their transition into new lives.
Over the past four years, the house has been home to over 90 women and had a 65% success rate in graduating residents to self-supporting, healthy lives. Many women are touched deeply by the impact CCC makes at Sanctum House and attribute it as a turning point in their lives beyond trafficking. One of the first women impacted by the CCC event is not only successfully employed and now volunteering as a mentor to other Sanctum House women but is now an appointed member of the Sanctum House board. The CCC presence has definitely and directly made a difference in some of these damaged lives.
We’re still looking for volunteers to help us at Sanctum House in May. Will you consider joining us? No gardening experience is necessary, just a willingness to lend a hand. And we not only work but also have a fair amount of fellowship, fun (and lunch!) at the same time. We’ve broken the day into two shifts of 9-12 and 12-3 if you only have a few hours to spend. The house is in Farmington Hills. We will provide directions and other information as we get closer to May 21. You can sign up here https://www.signupgenius.com/go/409044EA4AD28A57-sanctum3