Nicole Lawrence-OBrien - Founder & Executive Director
After many years of struggling with addictive behaviors, the pain became great enough that it caused me to realize that my life had become unmanageable. My recovery process began in 2007 when I established a relationship with God. In 2014 I founded Ruth's Way. We offer person person-centered support to assist others in building their recovery capital. I have a certificate in Alcohol and Drug Counseling, facilitate recovery-based training, and I am a Certified Addiction Recovery Coach, Recovery Coach Supervisor, and Certified Community Health Worker. As a trainer, I enjoy engaging with participants as they become self-aware, learn to facilitate problem-solving solutions, and develop skills to remove stigma while they promote wellness. I serve as the Training Chair and Ethics Committee for the Massachusetts Alliance for Sober Housing. I am a Recovery Court team member and participate in several community-based organizations and coalitions. Today I am married to a wonderful man, have two amazing adult children, and am a dog mom.
Amanda Houk - Secretary
Amanda Houk is a full time special education teacher who holds a Master’s degree in special education, and she faithfully serves as a leadership team member at Maplewood Baptist Church. She has been worshipping at Maplewood with her husband, Matt, the family and youth pastor, for 11 years. Prior to this, she attended Southeastern Bible College where she earned a degree in Bible and Theology & Elementary Education and Liberty University where she earned a master’s degree. Amanda’s leadership work focuses on outreach services, including her work with women’s and children’s outreaches and youth ministry. Amanda and Matt are also dedicated foster parents who have provided both short and long term placements for at-risk teens. Amanda mentors new teachers through her school’s mentoring program and has worked in special education for over a decade. Amanda has been serving on the board of Ruth’s Way since 2019. Amanda is passionate about Ruth’s Ways mission to help women on their journey to healthy lives.
Melanie is a graduate of Suffolk University, class of 2004, with a degree in Psychology. She worked in the legal system for 16 years before making a decision to change her career to work in the prison system. She has worked within the detox programs at Essex County House of Corrections and, most recently, at Billerica House of Corrections on a recovery program unit. To continue to learn how to help others, Melanie is working toward becoming a Certified Addictions Recovery Coach. She is eager and ready to help others reach their full potential in recovery.
I am a single mom of an 18-year-old son, who is currently in his first year of college. I graduated from Bay State College with a Degree as a Paralegal. After a few years, I decided to go back to school and get my nursing degree to provide a better life for my son. Throughout my 16-year nursing career, I've worked in a variety of settings such as Alzheimer's, HIV/HEP C, and Pediatrics units. For 7 years, I worked at a non-profit community health center in Salem, MA. I grew with the organization, from being a float nurse to the site manager. They offer services to everyone regardless of their ability to pay. They serve a very diverse community, and it was very fulfilling to help patients feel at ease knowing they were getting great care
without worrying about whether or not they could afford to pay for the services. Today, I still work for a non-profit organization, I just work at a nursing facility as an MMQ nurse. Although I am not directly involved in patient care anymore, I try to ensure patients are getting the best care possible.