WOMEN CHANGING WISCONSIN: Paula Jolly and Amanda’s House
Jolly’s daughter lost her battle with addiction at age 37, after relapsing during a drug court program
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - As a sober house manager, Paula Jolly noticed the cycle of women battling addiction due to rushing treatment to get back home to their children.
On New Year’s Day in 2020, Paula, her husband, and their daughter, Amanda, who had been struggling with substance abuse for 10 years, established the Mandolin Foundation, which would offer a place for women in recovery to live with their children. It would be the first of its kind in the area.
Amanda Marcoullier lost her battle with addiction on February 10, 2020, at age 37. Just months away from graduating from the Winnebago County drug court, she relapsed.
Paula Jolly credits the program for extending her daughter’s life and was determined to save other families from similar pain.
“Amanda was more than her addiction,” her mother says.
In March, 2022, the doors to Amanda’s House opened inside a former church on the east side of Green Bay.
”She was very nice, sweet girl,” Paula recalls, “and everybody that ever met her – when she was not using – always talked about how fun she was and how bubbly and happy she was.”
Amanda’s memory and Paula’s guidance offer hope to women for a two-year period, building lives beyond addiction.
Amanda’s House has served 15 women and 4 children since its opening, offering transitional housing and teaching life skills such as parenting and budgeting.
Michelle Klass is one of the women receiving help on her journey to recovery.
”Paula is absolutely an amazing person,” Michelle says. ”I’m getting along better with people, the relationships I’m building here, and learning to build relationships outside of here.”
Paula says parents of adult children struggling with addiction also reach out to her for support when they’re ready.
“Because we don’t want to hear that we can’t give our kids money or that we can’t give them gift cards and stuff like that. Those things don’t work,” Paula says. “If they need gas in their car, you go pump gas in their car. They need food, you buy them food, not gift cards.”
Paula also has words of comfort for the children whose parents battle substance use disorder.
“The hardest things that my older granddaughter said to me was, ‘Why did my Mom choose drugs over me?’ and it wasn’t like that at all,” says Paula.
”It’s no different than any other disease like diabetes, cancer, whatever long term. It’s forever. But you know, you can heal from that.”
The Mandolin Foundation was also named in honor of Amanda. Paula would call out to her by her first and middle names, Amanda Lynn, so quickly that people thought she was saying “mandolin.”
Amanda’s House is located inside the former Blessed Sacrament Church on N. Webster Ave. The church’s last service was held in October, 2021, and they allowed the Mandolin Foundation to move in that same month rent-free until the first of the year.
To learn more about the organization and how you can help -- or how you can receive support -- visit the Mandolin Foundation’s website.
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