A Northwest Indiana Life in the Spotlight: Amber Hensell-Hicks

Amber-Hensell-HicksBorn and raised in Northern Indiana, Amber Hensell-Hicks jumped from La Porte County to Porter County in 1980 where she and her husband raised their two sons and founded the organization Frontline Foundations.

Frontline Foundations was launched in 2007 by Hensell-Hicks and her family in order to help those with struggling with substance abuse. Frontline is a certified addiction services outpatient treatment provider that offers vital support through recovery workshops, peer-to-peer group sessions and individual treatment. Recently, Hensell-Hicks and her family have expanded their foundation to include their original office in Chesterton and a new office located in Valpo.

"I would never want people to think that this is just me doing all of this," Hensell-Hicks said. "It's every member of my family, and a huge host of wonderful people behind me, volunteering far more time that is required. They are what makes this all possible for our clients. It started as a family thing, and we're eight years in and still going strong."

Hensell-Hicks serves as the Founder, Executive Director, and full-time volunteer at Frontline Foundations. Their staff and services work to help adults from the age of eighteen through adults in their thirties. Their programs are designed to be tier specific – so there are different programs directly targeted to different age groups.

"There was a huge drug epidemic in adults in their late teens and twwenties, and my family and I wanted to do something to help – something big, something that would leave a lasting impression," Hensell-Hicks said. "So, that's when we started Frontline Foundations. In the past few years, we saw that danger moving to the thirty-somethings as well. These are kids and families that I've known for years and I just wanted to help."

Now that they Hensell-Hicks has opened a second location, she has had the chance to expand the programs offered through Frontline. In the new Valpo office, Hensell-Hicks and her staff focus more on the actual clients, how the programs are helping them, and what kind of progress their clients will make in the future. In the original Chesterton office, Frontline works more with art. Here, their clients have the opportunity to express themselves artistically as a form of therapy. In the fall, they will be hosting an event called Hope Chalk Art, where they line the streets of Chesterton and create chalk artwork for the competition.

"We like to encourage our clients to express themselves creatively, like this," Hensell-Hicks said. "It's a wonderful therapeutic experience for them. Then, when they are finished, if they choose, they can have their artwork auctioned or sold for a profit. It's great to see them work at something and create something new, fresh and wonderful. When they're working, I can actually see them growing into a new person."

In her free time, Hensell-Hicks enjoys spending time with her family, hiking anywhere and everywhere.