Charleston Women Summer 2024

81 | | rent, utilities, cleaning supplies, coffee and other shared items. Financial assistance can be provided when needed. “I will never turn a woman away because of money. Every woman deserves a safe place to live,” added Bonnema. Bright Spot also runs weekly house meetings in which residents discuss the past week’s challenges, celebrate their successes and plan for the next seven days. Bonnema and her staff provide a wealth of other services to residents, including help with resumé creation or finding health insurance. “Getting sober is hard enough without having help with the little things,” said Bonnema. “Something like getting your driver’s license back or opening a bank account can be overwhelming. They can give up because they don’t even know where to begin.” And that could be catastrophic; this is truly life or death. “It’s important to remember that addiction doesn’t discriminate,” Bonnema says. “It’s not life circumstances that create the disease. The disease was already there in every addict. We serve girls as young as twenty, women with children and older women. There are lawyers, therapists and women who were once homeless. It can happen to anyone.” Bonnema added, “Bright Spot means everything to me. When you watch someone who has been through addiction find a sober way to live, it’s beautiful. It’s like watching the light turn back on inside of them.” Charleston Women in Philanthropy Nicole Bonnema of Bright Spot Sober Living COOPER RIVER PHOTOGRAPHY by Rachel Basye Portraits, Art & Real Estate