After many years of struggling with addictive behaviors the pain became great enough that it caused me to realize that my life was unmanageable. My recovery process began in 2008 when I established a relationship with God. In 2014 I founded Ruth’s Way for Women to provide safe, quality housing and to assist women through their recovery process.  I have a Certificate in Alcohol and Drug Counseling, am a Trainer/Facilitator for several organizations, am a Certified Recovery Coach, Recovery Coach Supervisor, and Certified Community Health Worker.  As a trainer, I enjoy helping others learn and develop skills to assist others through their process.  I serve as the Training Chair and Ethics Committee for the Massachusetts Alliance for Sober Housing. I am a Drug Court team member, participate with several community based organizations and coalitions. Today I am married to a wonderful man, have two amazing adult children, and am a puppy mom to the cutest puppy.  

I am a nurse and currently pursuing a degree in child psychology on the path to become a Child Psychologist. Throughout my life I have witnessed drug and alcohol addiction in my family. This past April, I finalized the adoption of my 6 year-old niece. My history has given me a front row seat to see the devastating affects addiction can have on those we love. It is my hope that I can be a source of support for those in need and I look forward to serving on the board alongside those with a similar passion.

Yalinnette Velazquez

Amanda Lawrence

Richelle K. Smith is currently a staffing coordinator for a human service staffing agency.  Her experience includes Unit Manager of an emergency homeless shelter for women, Program Manager & Staffing Assistant for a health agency.  Richelle brings over 13 years of management and entrepreneurial experience, has a Master of Science in Management, Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and hands on experience in running a business as she co-ran a hair salon for 12 years in the greater Boston area. Richelle also wrote and released an album to iTunes in 2009.  Richelle has a genuine passion for people and prides herself with being a servant leader. She was recently nominated a public health hero, and has received many awards, and acknowledgments for community involvement/engagement. “Change is inevitable, growth is optional.”

​​As a Team Leader of Merrimack Valley Hope Mission, I met Nicole when we visited her recovery house in Lynn. I felt a strong connection to her and the passion she has to assist women in recovery. I have seen friends and family fall into addiction, one resulting in death and others still struggling. I am totally dedicated to Ruth’s Way for Women and Nicole to help in all ways to assist women in recovery and expand our outreach efforts. My background is in sales and marketing which I will utilize to promote the efforts of Ruth’s Way for Women.

Richelle Smith

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501(c)(3) Non-profit Organization

Brenda Haskell

​Andrea Cali

I have been in the medical profession for over 30 years, helping others in any way I can.  After spending time with Nicole at Ruth's Way I have observed the dedication and support offered to women in recovery.  I am truly blessed to be part of such an amazing organization.

I am a mom of a 14 year old son.  Throughout my 11 year nursing career I’ve worked in several places but have found a home in a non-profit community health center in Salem, MA.  We offer services to everyone regardless of their ability to pay. It is fulfilling to help my patients feel at ease knowing they are getting great care without being billed.

I have served as a ministry team leader at Maplewood Baptist Church for 5 years. This role includes co-leading adult small groups, teaching Sunday school classes and organizing outreach ministries.  I assist my husband with youth ministry and our CORE Youth Cares initiative. CORE Youth Cares provides teenagers with faith-based community service opportunities including Operation Christmas Child, volunteering with Bread of Life, Loads of Love, writing letters to members of our congregation serving in the military and 630 Salem Street (low-income elderly housing) special events.  I am passionate about discipleship, creative outreach and sharing the love of Jesus with others.

Nicole Lawrence-OBrien

Founder & Executive Director

I am currently a college student in the Boston area.  Everyone I know has been affected by addiction in one way or another.  I have always enjoyed talking with and helping people.  I hope to learn more about how to assist and work with women in need. 


About us

Barbara Russell


Amanda Houk