Beneath the Shade offers a transitional living space

Beneath the Shade offers a transitional living space

Kathy Neal is starting Beneath the Shade to help women in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse.


The world of drug and alcohol addiction brings with it a storm of financial, relationship and job difficulties, among others. And those problems don’t tend to go away in early sobriety.

Beneath the Shade is a faith-based transitional living space designed to help women who have struggled with drug and alcohol abuse by providing transitional housing while they tackle those life issues as sober individuals.

Kathy Neal, the founder of Beneath the Shade, is in the process of preparing the home on Middle Run Road in Dover. She said the property needed a lot of work.

“We started on the outside, which was like a jungle,” Neal said. “Then we moved inside and pretty much gutted the house.”

Neal said it’s important to her the house be beautiful. “These women have suffered, and it’s important to me that it feels like a home and that it’s a beautiful space to heal,” she said.

The public is invited to attend an open house at the home on March 14 from 2-6 p.m. to tour the house and find out how to get involved.

What’s in a name?

The name Beneath the Shade comes from Psalm 121, specifically verse 5: “The Lord watches over you, the Lord is your shade at your right hand.”

“The word ‘shade’ in Hebrew had connotations of protection,” Neal said. “It’s often associated with thoughts of God as a mother hen and how we fit under his wings. I love the thought of a mother hen gathering her chicks, and then as they grow, they can go out safely on their own.”

Peace and quiet

One of the first things one notices here is the quiet. It’s really quiet. As seems fitting, a huge oak tree grows near the house. It seems to sit patiently waiting to offer its protection when the time comes.

The property, which includes a house, barn and about 15 acres of land, was purchased by Jay and Rhonda Yoder of Dundee. The plan is for the Beneath the Shade ministry to purchase the property from the Yoders over the years.

Neal said the barn will be rebuilt and developed as a meeting, class and art studio space for participants in the program and for the community at large.

Time and space

When ready, Beneath the Shade will be able to accommodate up to five women at a time. That may seem small, but Neal said that’s a good thing. “Crowded situations can be added stress for the women,” she said.

Neal was a volunteer with Harbor House for about a year. During her time there, she saw a need for a home focused solely on women with drug and alcohol issues and a place that would allow them to stay longer than insurance policies allow. Since Beneath the Shade is privately funded, insurance companies won’t determine how long a person can stay.

“We’d like to see women stay for 12-18 months,” Neal said. “That seems like a long time, but it is necessary for many women to have that time to themselves in order to learn to live life in a productive way.”

Doing that will require rehabilitating the whole person, mind, body and spirit. Neal is open about the faith-based aspect of the program. Women will be required to perform chores around the house and grounds, from cleaning and cooking to tending the garden and chopping wood. They also will need to participate in financial classes, counseling, 12-step meetings and Bible study.

Additionally each woman staying at Beneath the Shade will be required to hold a job outside the home. “Having a job is part of life,” Neal said. “Part of what they will be learning here is how to have a job, come home and still be nice to the people you live with.”

A labor of love

A number of organizations have come together to make Beneath the Shade a reality, according to Neal. “The entire Yoder family has been involved from the beginning,” she said.

Dover United Methodist Church also became involved, as have members of the congregation at LifeBridge Community Church, where Neal and the Yoders are members.

Kingdom Elements will donate a dining-room table that Neal said will play an important role in recovery. “Food is important to me,” she said. “Growing food, eating together, sitting around the table playing games, it’s all important.”

Even so, more help is needed, and the group is searching for funds and community involvement. “There is a lack of residential facilities for women with substance-abuse disorders throughout the state,” Neal said. “There is only one short-term residential rehab for women in Tuscarawas County and no supervised transitional facilities of any kind, so the need is great.”

Beneath the Shade can be called at 405-668-2403 and can be found on Facebook. It is located at 5916 Middle Run Road in Dover.

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