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Board & Staff

Sonshine TrocheD.E. Sonshine Troche, Founder & Executive Director
The unique life of "Sonshine" Troche is a testimony to God's mercy and grace. She was placed in a German Kinderheim at birth. Her German mother was young and her German father ran off. In 1973 Mom married Michael Wood, an American soldier and they moved to America. Sonshine’s new found freedom quickly turned into depression and anger, from being bullied by military kids. She started drinking beer and smoking "weed" just before age 11. She became an American citizen September 23, 1977. Six months later, she overdosed during school at age 13 and her stepfather had to choose between her and his Military career. She was sent to three families and went her way at age 16. Two years later, she began framing and hanging drywall and became a workaholic, an alcoholic and a drug addict. Two more overdoses and facing prison time, Sonshine surrendered to Jesus Christ on November 9, 1997. She started hiring former inmates. After a painful divorce she returned to Michigan City, IN in 2004. She joined the Christian Motorcyclists Association (CMA) Breaking Through Prison Ministry in 2005, and gave her testimony at the Westville Correctional Facility. Sonshine then met Katie in the Indiana Women's Prison(IWP) on Mother’s Day 2006, later sponsoring her. In February 2007, Sonshine earned certification in the Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT®) program. She began volunteering in the La Porte County Jail, February of 2008. In May of 2008, she graduated Ivy Tech Community College with honors in Business Administration. A meeting to discuss a women’s recovery home was held on September 22, 2008. For credibility, she worked for three years at Westville Correctional Facility as an Officer while growing Worthy Recovery Inc. On September 7, 2011, a one hundred year old, 4800 square foot building was purchased debt free. Six dumpsters and 78 weeks later, reconstruction started. Without state or federal grants and a budget of $600,000, the home was six weeks short of completion when a fire started November 24, 2015. The first floor was destroyed and rebuilt. MANY generous contractors and hundreds of volunteers, 504 community members in all, built Worthy Women Recovery Home for former female offenders in La Porte County, desiring God’s love and healing. WWRH opened May 10, 2016, ten years after Sonshine met Katie at IWP.
Board MemberDebbie Swisher, Board Vice-President
Debbie Swisher was born and raised in Coloma, MI. She married Mark in 1980, shortly after graduating with her RN Degree from Lake Michigan College. They have two grown sons and now have two beautiful grand children. Debbie has been an Obstetrical Nurse for over 35 years. From 1999 until 2012, Debbie worked in a high risk Prenatal Clinic providing medical care to women who struggle with poverty, homelessness, addictions and abuse issues. Little did she know how this would shape her heart and mind with a desire to volunteer in a Women's Jail Ministry. Late in 2012 she transferred to a private OB/GYN clinic where she continues to work as an Obstetrical Nurse. In the Fall of 2005, Debbie became a member of the Christian Motorcyclists Association with the Prayer Re Riders, Benton Harbor, Michigan Chapter. It was thru the CMA that she first found her love for prison ministry, going into the Indiana State Correctional Facilities to talk about her love for Jesus and the transforming power He has to change lives. Debbie understands the freedom that is in forgiveness and desires to share that hope with others. Although Debbie has never walked in the shoes of someone with addiction, she has walked in the shoes of their families, as she experienced the loss of her older brother from a drug overdose while in prison. Debbie began participating in the Women's Bible Studies offered to the female inmates in the La Porte County Jail in April of 2008, and shortly thereafter in September 2008, joined forces with Sonshine to co-found WWRH. Debbie is very detail oriented and contributes greatly as the Finance Chair, and to the policies and procedures manuals necessary to keep WWRH transparent and operating efficiently.
Trudy MenkeLinda Howell, Board Treasurer
Linda was born and raised in La Porte, Indiana. She married Tim Howell in 1989 and they have two children, Troy and Jaime. Linda started her career as a Clerk at the La Porte City Hall Water Department in 1982, and was promoted to the Water and Wastewater Bookkeeper. Linda received the Indiana Water Association Bookkeeper of the year award in 2012. She worked for the City of La Porte for 31 years and now works part time in Accounts Payable at Cadence Environmental Energy, allowing her more time to drive to Indianapolis to visit her three grandchildren and her daughter Jaime. Linda was President of the La Porte Exchange Club and an active member. She attends Agape Christian Church in La Porte, and also volunteers her time to help with bookkeeping and other various needs. Linda has gone on a Mission Trip to Haiti with longtime friends, and hopes to travel on another Mission Trip again. Linda has a deep desire to help former nonviolent female inmates reentering La Porte County upon release. Linda is doing her part to help our ladies find their way back into the community to be productive, drug free citizens and to learn the love of Jesus Christ, at the Worthy Women Recovery Home. Linda has served on the Board once prior in 2012, and is thrilled to have time now to help again. Linda’s hobbies include reading, antiquing, and craft projects.
Laura FrancesconiLaura Francesconi, Board Member
Graduating magna cum laude from the University of Indianapolis, Laura began her career in the banking industry in 1986, gaining experience in commercial lending and branch management in both private and mortgage banking. Laura joined Meridian Title Corporation in 1994 and, as a partner, served as Escrow Manager, Northwest Indiana President, and Chief Operations Officer. She is currently Director of Corporate Development and oversees the National Account Services division of Meridian Title Corp. A longtime resident of La Porte, Indiana, Laura has a strong commitment to community service and works with many area service groups. Laura has been married to Mark for 27 years and they have 3 children together. Her hobbies include reading, travelling, and antiquing/repurposing old items. She hopes to own horses someday!

Laura has supported WWRH for approximately 5 years, and now truly understands the mission after visiting the women in the jail with Sonshine. Laura desires to serve Jesus Christ by serving the imprisoned and those released. She is compassionate and will easily show our ladies the love and encouragement they need and assist them with proven programs and techniques to be better mothers, wives, employees or business owners, and responsible citizens in our community. "We must not forget about those who society has tossed aside. By helping these women make better choices, we help reduce the chances of them returning to jail, reduce the prospects of their children going to jail, and reduce the taxpayer burdens of housing women in jail." Laura is a vital asset to our board of directors, with 20 plus years volunteering in community organizations such as Tri ​K​appa, St Joseph School President, YMCA Board, Heavenly Night Banquet Fundraising Co-chair, Salvation Army Soup Kitchen, IU Health Hospital foundation, Greater La Porte Area Chamber ​Board, Kiwanis Club of La Porte, Builders Association of La Porte County- past member of board of directors, just to mention a few.
Trudy MenkeTrudy Menke, Board Member
Trudy Menke joined the board of Worthy Recovery, Inc. in 2015 after four years of volunteering in the organization's marketing efforts and sharing her skills as an executive coach and trainer in the areas of leadership and communication. Trudy believes the Worthy Women Recovery Home offers the greatest potential to intercept the addictive behavior of mothers before their children suffer irreparable harm and to increase the chances that the children of these mothers will make better choices as they grow up. Married for over 25 years, Trudy and her husband, Brian, were born in and have raised their two daughters in LaPorte County. Trudy also serves as a worship band member and treasurer of the First Christian Church of Rolling Prairie where they have been growing in their faith since 1992.