MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On Wednesday, Dec. 9, WCCO is hosting a phone bank as part of our “Trees of Hope” series.

WCCO will be raising funds for Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge.

MnTC helps thousands of people overcome drug addiction and lead healthy and productive lives. There are even opportunities for patients to work for the nonprofit once they have completed the program.

Kelly Macalus is a grandmother who now spends her days working with women in MnTC’s 13-month in-patient treatment program, but she is also a recovering addict.

“I came from the era where children should be seen and not heard, so you didn’t dare tell anybody because nobody would’ve believed you probably, anyway,” Macalus said.

By the time she was nine, Macalus was living with a terrible secret.

“There was always alcohol in my house, so at night I would just drink alcohol before I went to bed,” she said.

A family friend who lived with Macalus’ family in White Bear Lake sexually abused her as a child. It was a secret that would not go away even as she grew up, got married and had three sons.

“It was a double life. PTA during the day, drugs, you know, in the closet,” Macalus said.

When her marriage ended in divorce, Macalus’ drug abuse got worse. She ended up homeless and addicted to meth. She also lost contact with her children.

“My children never gave up on me, they just didn’t want to watch their mom die,” Macalus said. “I walked into a church, Eagle Brook Church one night and said, ‘Help me, I’m going to die,'” she said.

The church led her to MnTC, where she began to cope with the traumas of the past in order to have a brighter future.

“They don’t give up on you, they see what and who you can be,” she said.

Sober since 2009, Macalus has been working with women patients of MnTC ever since.

“I get to go to work every day and see lives change just like mine changed,” Macalus said. “I get to see that light go off in their eyes.”

Macalus is now a proud grandma to five children who will never know her as an addict

“They just know me as ‘Nana’ that prays with them, plays with them, takes them to church,” Macalus said.

MnTC relies mostly on private donations. Organizers say treating one patient at the in-patient facility costs about $1,500 a year.

Go to WCCO’s Accomplish MN page to find out how to help.