Carrie Irick grew up with a passion to serve and empower other women. We don’t know if this is her calling, but the way her story has played out definitely makes it seem like this is right where she is meant to be
Carrie studied to be a counselor and has a background in mental health and addiction. During her years as a graduate student she had the opportunity to shadow different professionals. The experience she remembers the most, was when she walked into a halfway house and left knowing she belonged in that type of environment - one where she could help women find hope and recovery. After graduate school and a brief time in Colorado, this Fort Wayne native found herself looking for a job back in Indiana. When looking for opportunities, she had a few to choose from. But even with multiple offers with great money, benefits, and titles, she found herself being called to a Women’s Bureau in Northeast Indiana the most. What better place to do what she is passionate about with the education she had obtained? So with a leap of faith, she took a job where she was able to take care of, and help women who have, in her words, “had the crap kicked out of them by life.”
She never could have imagined that after the Women’s Bureau and YWCA merged, Carrie would be in charge of the place that created her passion for helping women. In 2018, a program from the Women’s Bureau and the YWCA’s Hope House came together to form Hope & Harriet. The same halfway house she walked through in graduate school. Hope & Harriet is an intensive residential treatment program that specializes in the pursuit of recovery from chemical dependency. It provides a high level of recovery and support for women in the pursuit of self-sufficiency and whole person empowerment.
Carrie now works as the Clinical Director for Hope & Harriet. She strives to ensure that the program is treatment oriented, has the highest level of care, and that it works in the best interest for the clients. For her, the YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all has supported her passions, especially as she works to empower women in the house.
“There are so many opportunities for us to be able to empower a woman in every single way because she needs it in every single way. For me, it is taking a woman off the streets who literally comes to us half dead with nothing but clothes on her back - no car, house, money - who has lost her children, family and everything….and giving her a chance at life again,” says Carrie.
When working at a place with such a big impact, you might think of the big moments where people graduate from the program and find recovery. For Carrie, her favorite moments are the subtle moments she sees happen along the long, hard journey. The light bulb moments in a typical weekly class, or a woman who has paid tickets that were keeping her from getting her license, are examples of moments she gets to see along the way. “It’s these small, mundane tasks that bring people down and back to addiction. So when I see a woman who is truly empowered to defeat those things, I get goosebumps everyday”, she says.