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News / Business / Clark County Business

Clark County nonprofit Restored & Revived changes hundreds of lives

Leader uses experience to help formerly incarcerated people, those recovering from substance-use disorder

By Alexis Weisend, Columbian staff reporter
Published: January 23, 2024, 6:09am
7 Photos
Shannon Eagen-Anderson, background left, and Jahnea Lecouris of Couve Cleaning tackle a cleaning job Jan. 12 at Vancouver Bolt &amp; Supply.
Shannon Eagen-Anderson, background left, and Jahnea Lecouris of Couve Cleaning tackle a cleaning job Jan. 12 at Vancouver Bolt & Supply. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Many think of Jahnea Lecouris as their best friend. For some, a mother. For others, a role model. She’s stood by many people during dark times, helping them to recover from trauma and addiction.

But there was once a time in her life when she was heading down a much different path.

She was addicted to drugs, in and out of toxic relationships, and arrested many times. She served four years in prison.

Once she was released from prison, she steered her life in the right direction with all her strength. Now, she’s helping others do the same.

You Can Help

To Get Help

  • To receive services from Restored & Revived, go to its website at www.restoredandrevived.com and fill out an application.

After she moved back to Vancouver, Lecouris became a business owner. Then she founded a nonprofit to help formerly incarcerated people and those recovering from substance-use disorder. And then, she became a business owner again, this time helping to employ women in recovery.

“She’s very humble. She just has a heart to serve people and to help people, specifically people who have been incarcerated and single moms,” said Angela Potter, a friend whom Lecouris helped through addiction treatment. “Without her, I don’t think I would have been able to stay clean.”

‘I was angry’

Lecouris was born in Portland, but she spent some of her childhood in Vancouver. At 8 years old, she was placed into foster care after she spent her childhood surrounded by heroin use and a motorcycle gang.

“That’s the life I was involved in,” Lecouris said. “Drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, motorcycles, partying all the time.”

She said she bounced to 17 different foster homes before her aunt and uncle gained custody of her, and she arrived back in Clark County.

“You would think at 9 years old, you’re getting a little girl that probably still loves Barbies and other things, but I wasn’t that,” Lecouris said. “I got here, and I was angry.”

Her addiction started in fifth grade when she started stealing beer and smoking marijuana, she said. In sixth grade, she got her first criminal charge: arson.

“I lit my school on fire,” she said. “I didn’t mean to do that. It’s not what the goal was. But nonetheless, that is what started my trips to being incarcerated.”

She spent two weeks in juvenile detention where she met other troubled kids who seemed to understand her. But those relationships only made her life more volatile, she said.

Never again

Fighting, stealing and lying became a regular part of Lecouris’ life.

When she became pregnant at 15, her aunt and uncle said they couldn’t handle her living with them anymore. She went to a maternity home for teenage girls.

The woman who ran the maternity home, whom she only remembers as Lois, spoke life into her, Lecouris said. Lois told her she didn’t have to follow the same path as the people from her childhood.

“I just remember when I was pregnant thinking and making a pact to myself: ‘I’m not going to be my mom,’” Lecouris said.

She got her GED, started working at Denny’s while she was pregnant, left her child’s father and found her own apartment. She changed everything in her life, thinking she would change with it, she said.

“I wasn’t doing anything to work on me. I don’t think I had a realization that addiction is a disease. I was never introduced to that,” Lecouris said.

She started drinking and smoking marijuana again. Soon, she was in another bad relationship and pregnant with her second child. Her drug use became more varied and intense when she was with her child’s father, she said.

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In the early 2000s, she racked up five different criminal cases and was sentenced at the end of 2005 to 48 months in prison.

“When I think about the kinds of things that I did, the people that I hurt and the things I put my kids through in my addiction … I just could never fathom doing that. I don’t know who that person was,” she said, her voice wavering. “I became who I didn’t want to become.”

She promised herself she would never be behind bars again.

Climbing hills

In prison, Lecouris dreamed about the life she would have when she got out.

When she arrived back in Clark County in 2007, she immediately got to work. She started treatment and worked on repairing her relationships, riding the bus for 2½ hours each way to visit her daughter. If she missed the bus to meet with her sponsor, she’d walk up the hill to her meeting.

Reentering society after years in prison isn’t easy. Lecouris had to reapply for her driver’s license and struggled to find a job and housing with a violent charge on her record.

Second Step Housing, a transitional housing program, accepted her as a tenant, but she still couldn’t find a job.

In prison, she played Zumba videos and got other women to dance with her. She fell in love with fitness. After she was denied a job at a gym, she decided to start her own Zumba business and became a certified instructor.

Despite her accomplishments, her first Christmas out of prison was challenging.

“When you’re a single mom, and when you have a ton of mom guilt, it’s really hard around the holidays when you can feel like you can’t provide for your kids,” Lecouris said.

But gifts for her children were at her doorstep each day the week leading up to Christmas. The act of kindness inspired her to start collecting gift-stuffed Christmas stockings each year from her Zumba students — for children but also parents like her. She called it the Give 2 Give program.

She collected 40 the first year and that number tripled the next year. Last year, the program collected more than 360 stockings, in addition to 130 stockings for a juvenile detention literacy program.

Restoring, reviving

In 2018, Lecouris decided she wanted to do more to help people with backgrounds similar to hers. So she started the nonprofit Restored & Revived.

“I had no idea what it meant to have a nonprofit,” she said. “I took my love for people and my love for fitness, and I started just blending and molding them together.”

Restored & Revived, 9317 N.E. Highway 99, Suite-J, Vancouver, offers recovery coaching; peer mentorship; help getting housing after exiting prison; and help with legal services.

It also specializes in reunification, helping parents rebuild their relationships with their children through parenting classes, supportive visitations and therapeutic activities.

The nonprofit has many classes and workshops that teach job readiness, empowerment and effective communication. Last year, Lecouris started a program with Vancouver Public Schools that provides a community support group for students whose parents are incarcerated or have been deported.

Restored & Revived has changed hundreds of lives in Clark County, staff say.

“Our phone rings 24/7,” said Marcia Bachle, the nonprofit’s programs director. “Because maybe the community doesn’t know who she is. But the recovery community, the homeless community, the people that are hurting — they know who she is.”

Many of those people don’t just see Lecouris as a mentor or a leader, they think of her as a best friend, Bachle said.

A step further

But Lecouris’ journey doesn’t end with Restored & Revived. She started another business.

“I didn’t really mean to,” Lecouris said with a chuckle.

After she helped a friend clean someone’s house, she posted a photo of the finished product to Facebook. Suddenly, her inbox was overflowing with messages with requests for house cleaning.

At the same time, a hearing-impaired woman reached out to Lecouris for help. She was going through hard times and struggling to find a job. Lecouris said she could help her clean houses.

“I started realizing that I had another way to walk alongside a woman and get into their life, interrupt their life in a way that I can’t do in a group session,” Lecouris said.

So, she started Couve Cleaning last year. Every employee is a woman in recovery.

Alicia Doble has been working with Lecouris for six months as part of her cleaning crew.

When Doble started addiction treatment, she needed a job where she could put her recovery first and make it to her appointments every day. Lecouris understood why that matters.

“She told me, ‘No, I want you to have your treatment be your full-time job, and you can work with me when you can.’ She gave me a way to make money,” Doble said.

She said she feels so close to Lecouris that she calls her mom.

Lecouris said sharing her story helps her heal; she hopes it makes others with similar stories feel less alone on their paths to restoration.

“I don’t know why I had to go through a lot of the horrific things that I did go through,” Lecouris said. “But I know because of my experience, it breeds strength and it breeds hope. … It doesn’t have to have a negative purpose. It could have a beautiful purpose.”

Community Funded Journalism logo

This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.