WAXAHACHIE — Inspiring improvement and accessibility to resources throughout the community, local Waxahachie resident, Dr. Mackie Owens, is adding two new programs to her business, Mackie Owens, PLLC.
“I’ve created two different things, which includes CONNECTed, a social work management system, and another thing I do is called the RESET System for DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) first offenders,” began Mackie Owens, founder of Mackie Owens, PLLC. “My business is healthcare advocacy, and I work with home health agencies, program evaluations, seminars, training, writing grants for nonprofits, and now I’m adding these two programs to my business."
What started as a work inquiry for Owens while serving at Hope Clinic for 15 years, soon presented itself as an essential community need.
“People still call me and ask for information because I was the ‘go-to’ person when they would call. So I kept a resource guide that people had access to the resources that they needed,” Owens explained.
“There’s a lot of help available in the Ellis County area, there are food pantries, clothing to little or no cost, there are homeless shelters, and resources out there for people, but they just don’t know about them."
From the same mind that brought about and helped founded Hope Clinic, Daniel’s Den, Promise Child, and the Navarro College scholarship for nontraditional students, Owens is shaking things up again with a resource guide and DWI program.
“I found that many people who are a part of the vulnerable population do not have access to the internet,” Owens explained the guide’s intended audience. “There are all kinds of help in Ellis County that people are not aware of, and so when you need help, most people hesitate to ask.”
Owens recalled an example when she first recognized the need she received help from First Baptist Church’s S.O.S. program.
“Some people don’t know about it but the second Saturday out of every month they send a crew out to people who need help,” Owens revealed. “There's no criteria; you don’t have to be poor, a widow, or a single mom, it’s just for people who need help.”
“So they came to my house recently and helped me out. Well, most people don’t know about that and how you can just call First Baptist and ask for help, and they have people that will come,” she said.
“I would have never thought to ask somebody to help me out when I needed it, but those are the types of things the resource guide is designed to do. Things that you have a need for and you don’t have any idea of where to turn,” she confirmed the purpose.
In a compiled guide that serves the elderly and non-technology users, Owens guarantees the free list will provide information from reputable organizations, such as Baylor Scott and White Medical Center – Waxahachie, Meals on Wheels, and other health agency resources for the entire community.
“It will be free and available in many places like the senior center, doctors offices, churches, hospitals, and everywhere I can think of to take it,” Owens articulated.
“But the thing about resource guides is that there not always accurate and not always kept up-to-date, but this one will be,” she affirmed the six-month cycle revision.
The guide will provide not only contact information but also additional details pertaining to the organization.
“Let’s say you have to go to Hope Clinic and you have to bring some paperwork with you for your application. Rather than making a trip there, especially when you have limited gas, and then you find out that you were supposed to bring those documents,” Owens described a common predicament.
“Whereas, if you have the resource guide, it tells you exactly what you need to take and exactly where it’s located. Even if people want to, they can put a map on their page, that way it’s an easy access,” she noted.
What started in early June 2017, Owens plans to deliver 5,000 copies throughout Waxahachie at the end of July 2017.
As for the second avenue offered by Owens’ business, the RESET System is a program to help reduce sentences for first-time DWI’s.
“Usually the first time someone gets a DWI, it’s a shock and they are like, ‘I don’t have a drinking problem,’” began Owens. “But it’s a good indication that perhaps you might have a drinking problem.”
“So the RESET System is a set of modules that runs about 12 to 15 weeks, depending on the individual, and it is to help assess the person to find out if they have a drinking problem. If they do and want to participate in it, then they go through the program,” she depicted.
Being a recovering alcoholic of 35 years herself, the drinking and driving issue is close to Owen’s heart as she completed her program’s coursework in 2015.
“At the time I sobered up, I didn’t know I was an alcoholic,” Owens recalled. “I knew I had a lot of problems in my life, but I didn’t realize that it was alcohol. And a lot of the times, alcoholics and drug addicts don’t know they have a problem until they stop doing what they’re doing, and then it becomes very clear to them."
“It became clear to me many years ago, and I’ve wanted to do something about it since because DWI is such a huge issue that causes damage to other innocent people. And there’s a lot of ways that this program can be used to prevent DWI’s, but you have to have it okayed by the elected officials, and I’ve been working towards that,” she mentioned.
Related to similar programs in Dallas and Fort Worth, Owens hopes that the RESET System will qualify as a curriculum that allows an offender's sentence to be reduced.
“When I first started working on it and went to a couple of judges and presented it to them, they were very excited about it,” Owens told of the program’s possibility.
“The judges and the attorneys like it, and now I’m just waiting on the DAs (District Attorney) office,” she informed of the program’s pending legal status. “So we’ll see.”
As for the future of helping those in need within Waxahachie, Owens is using her past successes to venture into two new areas for the good of her community.
“I love this community, and I think the projects will continue as long as there is a need. I want to do something that is of benefit, so I’ll keep doing it as long as there’s a need and I hope people will join and help keep it going,” Owens concluded.
To connect with Dr. Mackie Owens or help support the CONNECTed or RESET System, email DrOwens@RESETsystem.org or call (214)-399-7088.
Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer