The Prodigal Sons and Daughters may have moved to their new facility just three short months ago but for more than a decade the faith-based nonprofit has been changing the lives of locals by helping them ‘get clean’ through drug and alcohol counseling and prevention services.
The addiction center has been active since the late 1990s when services were held in the home of founders Ken and Jan Meuers, but Prodigal Sons and Daughters has flown under the radar in town despite several location changes. Having arrived at their new facility on E. Olive in May — just one building over from the previous location — the nonprofit is now making efforts to increase its visibility.
“We’ve been a secret for a long time, but we’re aiming to change that,” said Mike Hibdon, a successful client of Prodigal’s program who now serves as the center’s certified drug and alcohol counselor.
With services geared towards teenagers and adults battling addiction while also offering support services for family members, the nonprofit’s new center is fully equipped to provide locals a comfortable and safe environment in which to turn their lives around. Fully supported by donations from businesses, churches, and individuals, the Prodigal Sons and Daughters’ new facility boasts a large meeting room, new furniture, pool table, television, child care room, art therapy space, and more — all made possible by local donors.
“The kids especially love having a place to hang out and when kids are trying to get clean it’s important for them to have a place to enjoy recreationally,” said Executive Director Judi Hedstrom, who’s own son successfully took advantage of Prodigal’s services before preceding his mother as executive director of the nonprofit.
“Boredom is a big reason we hear why kids turn to the drugs and alcohol,” added Hibon, noting the importance of having a safe place for teenagers to spend time during summer when school is not in session.
The clients’ creative projects adorn the walls of the facility allowing the students and adults who utilize the nonprofit’s free services, such as individual counseling sessions and peer-led groups, to contribute to the facility that has shaped their lives towards positive change.
“We want them to have ownership of the building,” said Hibdon.
However, the Prodigal Sons and Daughters’ services extend far beyond the walls of the new facility. With educational courses at the Aspiranet Excell Center for at-risk boys as well as a developing partnership with the Turlock Unified School District to bring inspirational anti-bullying speaker, skateboarder, and nonprofit founder Mike Smith to local students, Prodigal aims to empower all youth by showing them that they have a choice.
Later this month the nonprofit is also partnering with the Turlock Gospel Mission and the Turlock Pregnancy Center to host a mud volleyball tournament for youth and adults. With artisan craft and food vendors, a petting zoo, and face painting for the little ones, the volleyball tournament provides Prodigal another resource in which to lead by example for its clients through community involvement – an important principle which they aim to impart to the teens and adults that come through their doors.
“One of the greatest things is that you see clients go from being takers of society to contributors,” said Hedstrom.
With drug and alcohol addiction being an ongoing battle for many, the local nonprofit also serves as a broker for those needing resources outside of Prodigal’s offerings. Whether locals utilize the nonprofit to help battle an addiction or even prevent one in its early stages, the work proves rewarding for all stakeholders.
“You see lives change right before your eyes. I can’t think of anything more rewarding than that,” said Hibdon.