Realtor® Cathie McGregor Critchlow, sales associate with The Franklin Group Morgan, LLC, in Morgan, Utah, is one of five winners chosen by the National Association of Realtors® as REALTOR® Magazine’s 2010 Good Neighbor Award winners. Critchlow was selected for cofounding The Women’s Retreat House, a live-in spiritual retreat for women who are overcoming addiction.
“This year’s Good Neighbor Award winners are extraordinary examples of how Realtors® value service and are committed to improving communities,” said NAR President Vicki L. Cox Golder, owner of Vicki L. Cox & Associates in Tucson, Ariz. “Despite a troubling economy and an uncertain market, these Realtors® are volunteering their time and putting others before themselves. I am proud to honor these professionals.”
Through her volunteer work with Alcoholics Anonymous, Critchlow came to recognize the need for a specialized live-in program solely for women in the Northern Utah area. In 2007, Critchlow cofounded The Women’s Retreat House with longtime friend, Joan Romney, and since then has helped more than 300 women.
“Mothers and wives are the hearts of a home,” said Critchlow. “When you help save a woman from addiction, you may be saving a child, a family and an entire community.”
On a day-to-day basis Critchlow manages the all-volunteer staff at The Women’s Retreat House and works hands-on with residents to assess their needs. Critchlow arranges appropriate counseling and education sessions for the women, including parenting classes, job training and medical care. Every woman at the facility is connected with a sponsor, usually someone in recovery who is now helping others.
Women living at the facility pay $100 per week to help cover room and board, and all other funding for the house comes from small donations and fundraisers. Once admitted to the house, women abide by a strict schedule and work through a 12-step recovery program. In addition to counseling sessions and group meetings with fellow residents and sober professionals, the women take turns preparing meals and doing household chores. Many residents go on to find steady jobs, regain custody of their children and give back to the community through volunteer work.
Former resident Neva Peterson was battling alcohol abuse when she lived at The Women’s Retreat House. Peterson is now sober, has a full-time job and also volunteers at the house. “I was hanging from a string and I couldn’t do it alone. I was a mess,” said Peterson. “Life is amazing now and it’s all because of the spiritual warmth that you feel as soon as you walk into the house.”
Critchlow says the sobriety success rate depends largely on how long a resident is willing to stay. “If they stay 90 days, our success rate is about 25 percent, which is on track with national averages,” said Critchlow. She is motivated by the women in the house, as well as her father, who she lost to alcoholism in 1999. “God gave me leadership skills and the training to be able to help give these women a second chance,” said Critchlow.
Critchlow and the other four Good Neighbor Award winners will each receive a $10,000 grant for their charity, a $2,000 Lowe’s gift card and will be profiled in the November-December issue of REALTOR® Magazine. The recipients will receive their awards on Saturday, November 6 at the 2010 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in New Orleans.
“The Good Neighbor Awards is an opportunity for NAR to honor those Realtors® who are leaders in their community, dedicating time and energy to helping those in need,” said REALTOR® Magazine’s publisher Frank Sibley. “These winners should know they have played a crucial role in the lives of others and are a remarkable inspiration.”
Celebrating its 11th year, the Good Neighbor Awards has been conferred annually since 2000 and is presented by NAR’s REALTOR® Magazine. The Good Neighbor Awards is sponsored by Lowe’s and HouseLogic.
Nominees were judged on their personal contribution of time, as well as financial and material contributions to their cause. To be eligible, nominees had to be NAR members in good standing. More information about the Good Neighbor Award winners is available at www.realtor.org/realtormag