Shaaron Funderburk

Daily Point of Light # 5436 Mar 17, 2015

Shaaron Funderburk knows what it feels like to regain consciousness and not remember what she was doing before she took drugs. She knows what it feels like to be in a jail cell and see a loved one pleading with her to change. She’s turned her life around after having been a homeless, drug-addicted prostitute. And now she’s helping other women do the same.
 
After beating addiction in 1994 and getting herself off the streets, Shaaron realized that there were not many support options in Gaston County, North Carolina for women like her with no children. Shelters filled up quickly and the street tempted many recovering addicts.
 
Shaaron began her community service story by driving through local neighborhoods, distributing free condoms to prostitutes. Then she offered them meals. Next, she opened up her home and started Off the Streets, offering a transitional counseling and recovery program. Shaaron’s work is important in her community because there is no other shelter like it. Other programs provide services, but are not geared toward the combined issues of sexual abuse, substance abuse and alcohol addiction.  
 
Up to six residents in Shaaron’s group home participate in daily education and support groups that assist in their recovery and empowerment process, addressing topics such as life skills, health and wellbeing, relationships and self-esteem. And the volunteer team that leads Off the Streets programs is made up primarily of women who have been through Shaaron’s tough-love programs.
 
Over the past 12 years, Shaaron has helped more than 750 women develop marketable skills, reunite with family and become productive citizens. Her Off the Streets program boasts an 88% success rate with helping women recover. Graduates of Shaaron’s program have secured jobs, started businesses or returned to previous careers and have renewed parental rights.
 
In addition to the day-to-day operations of the shelter, Shaaron supports the community and her residents by advocating for residents, becoming a certified Foster Parent, working suicide hotlines and supporting women through the court system.
 
“I can do this with the least amount of effort,” Shaaron says of the calling she feels that led her to start her volunteer program. “I motivate women easily because I have been there.”    
 
Shaaron was recognized by L'Oréal Paris and Points of Light as a 2014 Woman of Worth for her extraordinary volunteer work. Nominate an inspiring woman who is selflessly creating change in her community to be one of this year's Women of Worth: http://www.lorealparisusa.com/en/women-of-worth.aspx

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