Eau Claire (WQOW) – We talk about it a lot. One of the biggest issues facing Wisconsin is drug abuse, and meth use has grown in the last few years here. It increased by 462 percent between 2010 and 2017, but there is hope and one local mom is just one example of that.
"On the 29th of July was my 35th month sober," said Samantha Greinke of Eau Claire. "Something I’m very very proud of."
In 2015, Greinke’s meth addiction landed her in jail, and in that five months behind bars, something clicked.
"While I was in jail, my son’s father didn’t bring him to see me," Greinke said. "Which it was probably one of the best things for me, because it just would’ve been over TV and he wouldn’t have quite understood that."
She had never been away from her son that long and knew she never wanted it to happen again.
"In recovery, people tend to find a higher power to stay sober and get through their recovery," Greinke said. "I considered my son to be my higher power."
Since then, Greinke turned her life around, thanks to her son and the L.E. Phillips Career Development Center (CDC) in Eau Claire. She completed the Alternatives to Incarcerating Mothers (AIM) program in Eau Claire and got a job with the CDC, which offers services and employment opportunities for people with disabilities and disadvantages, like not speaking English.
"Also a disadvantage can mean people that went through the court system and they committed a nonviolent crime," said Annika Sorteberg, who does public relations for CDC. "We help give them a second chance here at CDC with employment, because a lot of other jobs do not hire these type of people."
In 2016, Greinke hopped on the CDC team.
"She started working as a tech in our wood department," said Debbie Stanton, human resources manager for CDC. "She quickly moved up to a lead position and now is actually doing our supervisory duties in the wood shop."
The CDC staff didn’t just give her a job. They helped her with housing and even bought her a crib, stroller and car seat, because Greinke’s now waiting on her next life-changer – her second son was due Tuesday.
"I feel like I’ve been given a second chance at life," said Greinke. "With this second chance, I want to be the best mom to both my sons that I can."
The Career Development Center offers 10 different departments that can fit the skills of many disabled or disadvantaged workers. For more information of the CDC, visit their website.