March is Women’s History Month, and all month long, KX News will be celebrating local women who are improving their community, one day, and one idea at a time.
A woman who walks by faith and leads with love, Heather Leier’s community efforts in the world of addiction and recovery act as an inspiration to those around her and herself, too.
As Becky Farr tells us, she sees the good that lies within the bad.
“You’re going to have people there. You can say, ‘hey, Heather, I need help with this.’ It’s like, okay, here let’s sit down and talk.”
That’s where it all started.
Not in the jail, but with the idea that recovery doesn’t have to be lonely, for both those recovering and those affected by it.
Heather Leier’s message is simple.
“If I live without hope, I’m not living,” she said.
But the journey can be complex and that’s why she chooses to help others.
“I struggled for a lot of years,” said Leier. “I have two adult children that are currently in jail.”
Children incarcerated because of addiction. Her response was to create Embrace ND.
“I just wanted a place where we could all come together in a judgment-free zone so we could all learn, heal, and grow together.”
Close friend Jessica Sager provided the push to get this going 18 months ago.
“I knew that she could make a difference,” Sager said.
And what a difference. Leier estimates dozens of people have attended meetings. The reach is so strong that it’s breaking through jail walls.
“What I’ve always described Heather as is kind of the community connector. She is very real,” Renae Byre with First District Health Unit said.
“If you’re having a bad day, no matter how bad of a day she’s having, it’s amazing to see how much she cares about people in the community and she’s willing to go above and beyond for people, beyond belief,” friend and Embrace ND member, Keith Reimche, said. “She’ll put people before herself.”
When first asked, Keith described Heather as a friend.
After our interview, he admitted that he was wrong to say that. What he really meant, was family.
“She’s just an awesome, wonderful person,” he added.
“This is a very tough subject to work on and she just makes you feel like there’s no guilt or shame about it,” Byre said.
“The nice thing about it is, the group is real,” said Leier. “It’s authentic.
I need to adjust what my hope lies in, versus my wishes, I guess. I think those are a little bit different.
They can come in with any problem, lay it out on the table, and no one’s going to say that they’re worthless. Our motto is ‘you are more, you are more than a negative label.'”
Embrace ND is also in the works to become a non-profit so that it can expand its reach.
KX News is will be featuring women making a difference all month long in March.
To nominate a woman you think should be celebrated, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org