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As we embark on the season of gift giving and receiving, let’s take a moment to appreciate some of the community-wide gifts that benefit residents of Louisville and Southern Indiana. If you haven’t appreciated these gifts as much as you could have, now is the time.

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In 2009, Wayside Christian Mission’s property on East Market Street was purchased for what would become the Nulu development, and the nonprofit was looking for a new home. The Holiday Inn, at Second Street and Broadway, was in foreclosure, so Wayside purchased the 12-story building and began using it for dual purposes: as a revenue generator and as a training facility for its women in recovery. Wayside renamed the building Hotel Louisville. “It has been a very beneficial exercise born out of necessity,” says Chief Operating Officer Nina Moseley.

The women in Wayside’s recovery program live on two of the hotel floors and spend most of their time participating in 12-step meetings or attending classes where they learn about the hospitality industry, nutrition, and parenting. The hotel itself provides recovery participants with real-life work experience in housekeeping, catering, security, and hotel management.

Rooms on five additional floors are rented to the public. Overnight guests are served a free continental breakfast at the Waycool Cafe, while non-guests can purchase breakfast, as well as lunch and dinner. The three large ballrooms at the hotel are frequently rented by businesses, churches, and civic organizations for meetings and events. Many of these local entities appreciate the quality of service they get at Hotel Louisville without spending an arm and a leg.

Moseley says working at Hotel Louisville is a powerful psychological boost to the women in the recovery program. “As they work through recovery and provide good customer service and are learning skills, you can see their self-esteem rise,” she says. Moseley says numerous women who have completed Wayside’s program have gone on to work at the Omni, Marriott, and Galt House hotels.

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