Peace Place is a domestic violence agency located in Winder, Ga. Their mission is to fulfill survivors’ needs and devise a strategy for helping them in the most beneficial way. Their program is designed to address and treat domestic violence issues from all perspectives. This could be shelter, legal aid, help with a protective order or any other type of outreach service.
“We operate a shelter for women and children who are fleeing from abusive homes,” said Traci Bledsoe, Executive Director of Peace Place. “We provide everything for them, including food, clothing, toiletries, whatever you use in your daily life.”
Most women can stay in the regular shelter for 60-90 days. However, those who have a job but do not yet have the financial resources to live independently can live in a transitional unit. It has four apartments as well as a house for a larger family.
Individuals can stay up to a year and must pay a program fee to help with rent preparation. They are also required to contribute to a savings program and Peace Place will match whatever they put into their savings account at the end of the year.
“Our goal is to power them to be successful so that they can be independent,” said Bledsoe. “There are some financial planning classes, budgeting classes, you know basic life skills a lot of these individuals don’t have.”
Peace Place tries to connect survivors with any benefits they may require, such as Medicaid or a child assistance program called CAPS so that parents can go to work.
Therapy, support groups and individual sessions are also available as resources. Everyone is welcome to attend support groups held every Thursday at 6 p.m. in person at Peace Place or virtually.
With the assistance of their child advocate, Lou Ann Puckett, Peace Place also assists children who may be affected.
“Children can be affected too even if they haven’t been a direct victim of physical assault, they experience it,” said Bledsoe. “Statistics say that if a child just has one supportive individual in his or her life then it can really turn them around and go a great distance towards reversing issues growing up.”
Peace Place also offers a teen violence prevention and support program. Emma James, the center’s teen advocate, travels to different schools and clubs to demonstrate what a healthy relationship should look like. She teaches them how to recognize the warning signs of a potentially dangerous relationship.
There are many volunteer opportunities for individuals who want to get involved, such as working at an event, helping in the yard or working in the thrift store. Britta Lunsford, the volunteer coordinator, can be reached for more information.
To fund the organization, fundraisers such as the annual Gala are held. The Gala will be held in Jefferson, Ga. on Feb. 11. Dinner will be provided along with a dance, live and silent auctions. Tickets are $75 each, with a table costing $600. You can make a purchase through the website or contact the shelter via phone or email.
“One of the most important things for victims to understand is that it is not your fault,” said Bledsoe. “Everybody deserves to be treated with respect and kindness. That voice that is telling you something is wrong, listen to it, and reach out for help because there is help.”
For more information on the location for therapy and support groups, contact Laura Hyatt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“A victim may not even need to come into the shelter, they just may need someone to talk to,” said Bledsoe. “Just pick up the phone and call and we will help you.”
For those in an emergency, there is a 24/7 crisis line (706-387-0100) as their first point of contact for those seeking support of services or fleeing from abusive situations.
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