Renaissance Recovery helps mothers recovering from addiction find hope through friendship

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- When it starts warming up outside, it's time to head to the water, blow up the floaties, and light the grill up.

"We're just here to have a family day, and just enjoy the kids, and the moms, and have a good time," said Shonjrell Ladner, Ms. Tennessee America 2016.

Meet Ms. Tennessee America. She may have been a little overdressed for a day at the park, but she was there to be a friend to a special group of mothers.

"Some of these moms they come, they feel beaten up, drugs take a toll on their outward appearance as well," she said.

The Renaissance Recovery Group put the day together.

"We certainly treat a unique population in dependent pregnant women and recently delivered women," said Jeff Skinner with the Renaissance Recovery Group

Volunteers like Shonjrell Ladner help the women feel welcomed back into society.

"I feel like by giving them a makeover, a change on the outside. They're a new person on the inside and outside. People are more open to give them a better chance," says Ladner.

Every single volunteer that comes and helps out at Renaissance Recovery brings something different to the table. One of them can actually tell these mothers she's walked down that same hard road that they're currently on.

"I delivered my baby in 2014 on the side of the road. I'd used drugs the whole time I was pregnant. Everyday, it's like I was losing a little bit more hope," says Brittany Hudson.

Then she hit the bottom.

"Just decided I didn't want to live the life I was living, and I wanted to be a part of my daughter's life and I picked up all the broken pieces I had made now I'm on a different journey," says Hudson.

What started as an opportunity to show Volunteer Spirit later turned into a job for this young mom.

"Me telling my story is the way of helping somebody else," said Hudson. "I know that in the end result if I save one person than it will be worth it."

Renaissance Recovery is always looking for more volunteers to help the women in the group. You can learn more about the group on

An event this weekend will help Renaissance Recovery. The first Knoxville Baby Shower and Kids Expo happens Saturday at the Expo Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be educational workshops for parents, new and fun products to help stimulate your kids' minds, plus shopping for gifts. Tickets are $15. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Renaissance Foundation.