Christmas will come early for Dixie Callan.
Callan, 25, will get her sons back after the two were put in foster care by Child Protective Services nearly a year ago.
Callan remembers the day she and her boyfriend fought and the police came to the house. Then came drug tests and home visits and finally the day when the social worker told her to pack up clothes for Jayse, 2, and Joseph, 8.
“I remember putting in a teddy bear my grandma gave me into the suitcase,” Callan said.
Callan, who was addicted to methamphetamine, said it took her months to have the confidence to get help.
Her life has not been easy. She had a baby at 16. Her mother committed suicide when she was 17. She was in abusive relationships. Her grandmother paid her bills.
When a former boyfriend pressured her to take drugs, she did.
But today, Callan is drug-free and confident.
She was one of 175 women accepted into Step2 this year. Started in 1986, the Reno nonprofit provides treatment for chemically dependent women and their families. It includes addiction recovery, counseling and housing.
Step2 said recent state data show that approximately one in five women in Northern Nevada has a substance-abuse problem.
The program has a 60 percent rehabilitation success rate; similar programs across the country average a 17 percent success rate.
“Step2’s success is directly related to the length of the program and the wonderful community support,” said CEO Diaz Dixon. “We could not provide what we have without the generosity of this community.”
After living in Step2’s group home, Callan moved into one of 23 one-, two- and three-bedroom cottages run by the program.
Donations pay for the low-rent apartment’s furniture, which Callan can keep when she eventually moves out on her own.
“I’m so different than I was when I got here,” said Callan. “I love myself now.”
It was something that took counseling and the support from Step2.
Over the past two months, she has had overnight visits with her sons. She is working full time and wants to go back to school to become a special education teacher.
But for now, the greatest present this holiday season is spending it with her children.
“It means so much to have my kids with me,” she said. In the next few weeks, her sons, who were separated in two foster homes, will permanently move back in with Callan.
She said she is looking forward to starting traditions and being a mom.
“Just cooking breakfast and watching a movie are things I’m looking forward to,” she said. “I know I can take care of myself and my kids, now.”