ANDERSON — A new nonprofit has taken over operations at the former Stepping Stones facility with a new set of objectives.

Stepping Stones opened in 1997 as a place for homeless veterans to stay, get assistance with finding employment and access substance abuse counseling programs.

Cindy Goad, who ran the women’s facility for six years, started the nonprofit Finding Recovery Options for Growth (F.R.O.G.) earlier this year to provide men and women with substance abuse programs.

Goad took over Stepping Stones’ operations May 1 with the newly formed nonprofit.

“They were going to close,” she explained. “They donated the property to my nonprofit, and we have been working to upgrade the facilities.

“The community needs this,” Goad said. “There had been some problems in the past, so we are restructuring the programs.”

She has a degree as an addict counselor and is completing work on a master’s degree for nonprofit organization.

“We are focusing more on recovery,” Goad said. “There is regular drug screening, and the residents have to remain sober.”

The facility offers three Alcoholics Anonymous meetings weekly, teaches life skills and recently received outpatient certifications for medical treatment.

Goad said the programs are open to anyone in the community, and there are licensed social workers and abuse counselors on the staff.

F.R.O.G can house 44 men and 30 women at the two facilities on 11th Street and also has several transitional housing options.

People in the program are required to work, attend meetings and be drug tested on a frequent basis.

Residents are expected to pay $120 per week and are required to prepare their own meals.

“We have made some improvements including new water heaters and a new roof on the women’s facility,” Goad said. “There is still a lot of work to do. The fees help pay for the upgrades.”

She is in the process of applying for grant funding and intends to apply for a share of Anderson’s American Rescue Plan resources.

“A lot of people don’t know we exist,” Goad said. “We’re working with the drug court, work release and in-home detention.

“We have made some progress,” she said. “In the future, I want to start a program to bring people from ‘tent city’ to participate in our addiction programs and to help them obtain employment.”

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.