Call it divine intervention or maybe a divine magnet, but Miriam Ramirez believes she was meant to inhabit the West Innes Street building formerly used by Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
Ramirez has planned to lease the property to begin Capstone Recovery Center Inc., a faith-based transitional substance abuse recovery program for women.
Capstone Recovery Center Inc. will provide a safe environment for women who’ve attained sobriety will be encouraged to lead fully functional lives into the Salisbury community. The center will offer a residential program, a non-residential program and some clients will be provided transitional housing.
The Innes Street property will be where the center will operate the Lighthouse, a non-residential part of the program. The Lighthouse is slated to launch in mid-March. The Lighthouse was most recently awarded funds from the Rowan County United Way Community Initiatives Grant.
The Oakland Heights Congregation, at 205 Newsome Road, where Oscar pastors, has allowed the center to use part of its fellowship hall until the house on Innes Street is repaired.
In 2009, she and her husband, Oscar, were on vacation. They were drawn to Salisbury like a magnet, mainly for its Veterans Administration facility.
He was on the interstate, saw a sign and immediately took the exit to Salisbury. Oscar, who has a Ph.D. in psychology, specializing in substance abuse, was drawn to the VA because of his work with the Miami VA Medical Center.
Once the two made their way off the interstate, they followed West Innes Street and pulled into the Sacred Heart property so they could get their bearings.
In 2010 when the couple decided to move from Miami, they settled in Salisbury. When they were searching for potential homes they looked at the Sacred Heart property, located at 418 W. Innes St.
“I said, ‘Oh, this is a church,’ ” Miriam said.
The two continued their search for a home and have since settled in Salisbury.
Miriam and Oscar were drawn to the property once more when they connected with Shirley Luckadoo. Luckadoo, who for nearly 20 years worked at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College as the vice president for instructional services, is now board chair of Capstone Recovery Center.
Luckadoo mentioned the same property to Miriam and Oscar.
“The Lord brought us here for a reason,” Miriam said.
Miriam met Luckadoo as a volunteer with Celebrate Recovery Ministry, a program Luckadoo heads at Trading Ford Baptist Church. The Celebrate Recovery Ministry is a 12-step faith based program. Miriam worked as an assistant to Luckadoo.
Luckadoo will head the education portion of the Capstone Recovery Center program.
While in Florida, Miriam was a board member at a women’s shelter. She is a native of Cuba and arrived in the United States at three years old. She grew up in New York and moved to Florida as a youth. She’s retired from Florida city government.
Miriam’s journey began in 2004, when her youngest daughter began abusing drugs and alcohol. She searched for a faith-based substance abuse rehabilitation program. In 2006, Miriam enrolled her daughter into a program. Miriam volunteered with the program. Even after her daughter graduated, Miriam continued volunteering, until her move to Salisbury.
It was in that Florida rehab program that Miriam became aware of the need for a transitional program when she saw women relapse. The women had no other place to live, some were forced to return to the place they once abused drugs and alcohol.
“Last year, God laid it on my heart, the need for a safe environment for women to live when they exit the drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs,” she said.
Capstone Recovery will host its first fundraiser Saturday, Feb. 2, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Salisbury Country Club, 747 Club Drive. The cost of the event is $20. Those who plan to attend must respond by Jan. 25.
The event will be held in the main dining room. The event will feature an auction. The auction items are loose stones of rubies, diamonds and sapphires. The stones were donated to the couple for the fundraiser.
The theme of the event is, “You Are Precious in His Eyes.” There will be hors d’oeuvre and beverages served at the event. There will also be special music performed during the event.