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What has been done to help those in poverty and care for those who can no longer care for themselves? Poverty has been one of America’s toughest battles for decades, but it has also been declining since the 2007 recession. According to the United States Census Bureau, the poverty level has been declining for four consecutive years. In 2014, 46.7 million people were in poverty while in 2018, 38.1 million were in poverty (Denavas-Walt). It’s a significant change within those four years and a push forward to ending poverty in the next few decades.
Statewide, Georgia’s poverty level has decreased from 1.8 million in 2014 to 1.5 million in 2018 (Georgia 2014 Report). There is a change in Georgia’s economy and society for 0.3 million to be no longer in poverty. More jobs have been created; paying wages have increased. Most importantly there are organizations with the will and power to help those in need. Organizations helping and guiding people in poverty out and into society again have an impact on the decreasing poverty level.
In the Chattahoochee Valley, multiple organizations pull in the homeless and help them through a support system.
Through the process of helping them, a sense of loyalty and friendship is created. Damascus Way has helped women and children of the community by providing strong support through compassion and determination, and by doing so, form a bond between the employees and those seeking help. Communities have organizations that cater to those in poverty. The people of the community go out of their way to raise money to provide food, shelter, and care for the people in need of a support system. People need a push to better themselves and slowly breakout of their conditions, and organizations that sees the need to help the poor contribute to the declination of poverty each year. These organizations are crucial in providing a fully functioning support system for its citizens, and that is what a Columbus organization strives to accomplish every day.
The Valley Rescue Mission’s goal is to serve the men, women, and children” of Columbus, Georgia “providing… physical needs, promoting personal development”, and a life-changing opportunity. Valley Rescue Mission was founded by three Christian businessmen in 1963 and developed a plan to begin a rescue mission for the homeless in the Chattahoochee Valley. Since the establishment of the rescue mission in 1963, it has been extremely impactful to the community in more ways than people truly know. For four decades, the Valley Rescue Mission accomplished exactly what the three Christian businessmen envisioned when creating their plans. They have helped the men, women, and children in need by creating sub-organizations and constructing centers that provide help.
Shelters and addiction recovery programs were implemented at the start of the rescue mission and have bee redeveloping over the four decades. The purpose of the Valley Rescue Mission is simply to rescue the people who can no longer fend for themselves, who doesn’t know where to go for help, and who doesn’t have anyone to turn to. Valley Rescue Mission has organizations that branches off and tends to specific people such as women and children and men only centers. One of the Valley Rescue Mission’s branches is Damascus Way. Damascus Way’s primary care is for women and children. It’s a “[Safe haven] for women and children” (DeMarco-Jacobson), and it helps physically, mentally, and emotionally. Damascus Way has helped many women whose lives were turned upside down causing them to become homeless by taking in as many women and children to help guide their lives on the right path and supply a strong support system. Damascus Way takes in women and children who are homeless and restructures their lives.
Under Valley Rescue Mission, Damascus Way was constructed in 1997 to be a home for women and their children in the Chattahoochee Valley (Mission Statement/History). Since its construction, it has helped many women and children. The women who come into Damascus Way are women who has suffered from drug addiction, domestic violence, or other traumas and unexpected occurrences such as eviction. It functions as a temporary shelter with short term or long term programs that help the women overcome their traumas (Shelters). The organization has two support programs, transitional and addiction recovery. The transitional program helps women “resolve” any issues they have and “reenter society” as a new and refreshed person from the person who first entered Damascus Way.
The addiction recovery program consists of a “six phase developmental recovery program” to help women overcome the use of “drugs, alcohol, or [abusive) relationships” (Damascus Way). While the women are going through their recovery programs, the children are in the Children’s Ministry of Damascus Way. The goal of the ministry is to allow children to “thrive physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually” while being in “a safe and loving environment” (Shelters). Damascus Way has thrived to help women and children in many ways and allow them to step back into society healthier than before. However, Damascus Way takes in more women and children than they can hold. Since opening in opening in 1997, a plethora of women and children have been welcomed into Damascus Way, but recently it has become difficult in welcoming the women and children. Because of a lack of space in the Damascus Way shelter, “more than 200 women and children are turned away each month” (Johnson).
Damascus Way receives “eight to ten calls a day for women and children needing shelter”, but they’re full majority of the time. When they’re full, they try to contact other shelters with available space (Hunsinger qtd. in James-Johnson). Mothers in their 20’s with two children are the majority of the homeless population, and turning these women and children away increases the poverty rate among women and children (Johnson). To try and eliminate the issue, Valley Rescue Mission expanded Damascus Way by opening another women and children shelter, Women and Children Center. The center opened November of 2018 consisting of 54 more beds, a cafeteria, a playroom, and a chapel (Jones). However, with the new facility built, there are still women and children turned away.
The new center is constantly full, and the employees are left to only say no when there is no available space. They also try to contact other shelters, but when they are also full, the center has nowhere to put them (Lyde). It becomes frustrating when women and children in need are turned away because of a lack of space and it increases the homeless population. Nevertheless, Damascus Way still helps the women and children who are under its roof. Once they have entered the facility, the employees’ attention is on them. They build a relationship by “loving (them) and… helping the healing process start”. They “listen to their stories and (provide) warm meal[s]” to show those seeking help that they care (Oxford qtd. in Jones). Showing and giving support forms the loyalty between the employees and women and children, and that loyalty will mold into friendship. Damascus Way’s goal is to help women and children become better for themselves and society. The Valley Rescue Mission was created for a purpose, to help those in need.
Damascus Way has accomplished its purpose. It welcomes women who undergone traumatic experiences. Damascus Way is enriched with support. It allows women to enter with their children and go through recovery programs to better themselves and become one with society again. Although it continues to lack space for new women and children seeking help, this doesn’t stop them from continuing to help those who do have the chance to snatch space available. Poverty is a major issue in America and the world, but with organizations like Damascus Way who want to help the people in need, it can become an issue that no longer exists.
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