McINTOSH COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - It won’t be long before a house being renovated in McIntosh County is changing lives, and an organization designed to save them.
"Right now,’’ says Lula Wilson, founder of Confidently Learning to Live Inc., “we just basically offer giving them resources, sending them to the right locations for things they may need most.’’
Confidently Learning to Live is a non-profit organization that counsels individuals dealing with domestic violence, bullying and low-self-esteem.
Eight board members, including six certified life coaches, offer guidance, advice and support.
"Most of the time finances are a big issue why they go through the violence,’’ said Wilson. “So, we try to educate them how to build their finances and how to build themselves so they'll be able to get a better job and they'll be able to take care of themselves.’’
"This organization is going to hold your hand through that process and see you through,’’ added CFO Michael Ransom. “It's going to give you the fundamentals you need to stand on your own two feet, it's going to give you the confidence to live and learn on your own.’’
And soon the organization will do even more.
CLTL is opening the first domestic violence shelter in McIntosh County, a home that will have eight beds and can serve up to three clients and one family at a time.
The home is being remodeled and is scheduled to be open by June.
"We want to utilize it for someone who doesn't have a place to go at the last minute,’’ said Wilson. “I was in that situation. There were times when I had to sleep in my car with my kids because I didn't want my family to know what was going on in my home.’’
The founder and CEO of CLTL is a domestic abuse survivor, as are most of her board members.
That brings a genuine perspective to the support they offer.
"Me being a part of it as a kid growing up, I was in the shelters for years, and pretty much I understand,’’ said board member Pam Johnson. “So, if you are a part of something like that, the best thing to do is not talk about it but be about it, get involved, see what you can do to help.’’
"The first thing I tell them is, look at me,’’ added Wilson. “I survived. And I'm no better than anyone else/. If I survived, you can survive. And it's time to create an evacuation plan.’’
And soon, for the first time in McIntosh County, there will be a place to evacuate to.
"We want it to be temporary,’’ said Wilson, “because we want people to get back on their feet and we want to have vacancies for emergencies as well.’’
"We’re going to be able to impact somebody’s life right away,’’ added Ransom. “Because when they’re in distress, the last thing you want to do is put them against the wall with where are you going to stay, where are you going to get your food from, who’s going to help coach you through this?’’