FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — Carleah Summers has been through many hardships but has never let them define her, better yet she has let them motivate her into helping those through the same hardships she has once experienced. With her creation of Andrea’s House, she is changing lives one mother at a time.

Carleah Summer is no stranger to overcoming adversity. As a woman in recovery herself, she knows firsthand how hard it can be to overcome an addiction.

That’s why she started Andrea’s House to empower and bring hope to women recovering from addiction.

“I got sober and entered recovery when my son was 10 months old so I remember the struggles of being a mom in early recovery, and I remembered all the hurdles and the obstacles that I had to overcome,” Carleah Summers said. “So I’ve really committed and dedicated my life to helping mothers get their children back in their life instead of being away from their children.

Andrea’s House is a faith-based non-profit organization that changes the lives of mothers who are dealing with substance abuse. The house gives women the opportunity to get through their recovery stage in an ideal living location that decreases the chance of relapse early on.

“To be a mother in early recovery was very tough and I thank god every day for my family, my friends, and my recovery network, Summers said. “If it was not for those, I would not for those support systems, I would not be where I am today. There’s such limited resources for mothers in recovery. and it’s such an underserved population that it really is more difficult than I think most people realize.”

“I had a crack cocaine addiction and in July I was arrested and my son was 11 years old at the time and he was taken to cps custody and I came home in October and I contacted currently to try to get into here to try to get my son back,” said Heather Tons. “I’ve seen her change lives like mine personally, she puts like her heart into her work and she really cares about us and what happens with us and our children.

Carleah has been able to teach other women about themselves and life through her empowering spirit. She lives by the saying if nothing changes, nothing will change which she tries to apply to every person that walks through the door.

“Most of the women that comment, they’re damaged or beaten down, they’ve just given up, they feel defeated and so my job, as I see it, is to definitely start with letting them know that they matter and they can do this, if I could do it, they can do it,” Summers said.

She makes sure to carve out personal time with each woman that she brings under her wing and helps them accomplish things that they would struggle to accomplish on their own.

“CPS had a list of 31 things that they wanted me to accomplish to get my son back. since I’ve been here for four months, I have accomplished all 31 things,” Tons said. “She goes to my court dates with me, she speaks up for me at every court hearing and I just don’t know what I would do without her.”

Summers also plans to run for state senator and use her work with Andrea’s house to bring more awareness to the resources that are out there for struggling women and their children.

“So in my run for state senate, I’m really really looking to bring light to and some attention to what these mothers face in early recovery and so what I’m looking to do is knock those barriers down and make it easier for mothers to be in their children’s lives while at the same time achieving long term sobriety,” Summers said.

Programs that offer women the services and treatment to get back in their children’s life is limited, but Summer plans to expand her services to other counties and other states.