“That was a very tragic night,” said Stephanie Summers, the center’s executive director, as she spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Griffin Wednesday. “It did destroy the facility. We were very uninsured.”
With the help of a $309,000 FEMA grant, a new center was eventually built.
The center currently has five women in its Woman of the Well (W.O.W.) program and could house seven more to reach capacity. Its shelter currently serves eight women and children, with enough room to house another eight women and children comfortably, Summers said.
What’s lacking, however, is a play area for those children. And that’s where the Kiwanis Club comes in.
According to co-chairman Brennan MacDowell, this year’s Kiwanis One Day project — to be held on April 6 — will move a play area from Meriwether Homes to the Christian Women’s Center, courtesy of the Griffin Housing Authority.
MacDowell said the One Day project revolves around refurbishing that play area and then installing it at the center’s location on School Road.
Summers said it is efforts by organizations such as the Kiwanis Club that allow the Christian Women’s Center to serve women and children in need.
“In order to embrace and support our women, we depend on our community,” she said. “You guys are a vital part of what we do.”
Illustrating what the center does, one of the women currently at the facility shared her story with Kiwanis members.
The woman said she was sexually, physically and emotionally abused by three members of her family at age 11. She said she started using drugs and alcohol two years later and had a baby at age 16. After a year, she gave the baby up for adoption and became involved in prostitution, where she was raped twice. On Dec. 27 of last year, she arrived at the center.
“That was the greatest day of my life,” she said. “Being at the Christian Women’s Center has really helped me (realize) what the true meaning of salvation is.”
The woman has committed to stay at the center for one year, but just the approximately 70 days she has already spent there have changed her mindset.
“I learned that prayer is powerful,” she said. “I don’t have to go around looking for love and acceptance anymore. I’m amazed at what God has done for me.”