After five years in Waterville, the Joy Center for Women's Ministries plans to move to South Toledo in an effort to expand the center and its reach.
The center, a branch of the non-denominational International Center for Women's Ministries, aims to assist troubled women through peer counseling and a strengthened relationship with Jesus.
"Our local mission is to restore, renew, resonate, and release the lives of women through Jesus Christ," Director Barbara Triggs said.
Ms. Triggs, who opened the center in 2007, said she anticipates it will serve as a greater resource for women in South Toledo because of the area's higher population compared with Waterville.
"Out here, I don't think more people are apt to come to a ministry for help because they don't think [the volunteers] are professionals," Ms. Triggs said.
During the move, the center is temporarily at the Open Door of Delta, a faith-based community center in Delta, Ohio, that offers multiple support services under one roof.
Ms. Triggs said her organization's work in Delta has helped her realize the need for a center for women's ministries in Fulton County in addition to Lucas County.
"We're seeing people in Delta right now," she said. "We've had four new clients come in and they're all from Fulton County."
As a result, Ms. Triggs said the organization plans to open a center for Fulton County separate from the Joy Center sometime soon.
The Joy Center is run by peer support volunteers who must attend 14 two-hour training sessions before they are allowed to counsel.
The women who seek help at the center are assigned a support volunteer who can relate to their particular struggles.
Ms. Triggs said the women face issues as varied as parenting problems, death, and abuse.
"There's a lot of abuse, like abuse within the marriage, sexual abuse, abuse from the past," she said. "With things that happen in the past, we know that if they don't dig all of that stuff up, they're going to become someone they don't recognize."
Wilma Miller, a peer support volunteer at the center for about two years, decided to offer her assistance there after her husband died.
"If I could help somebody else through what I have gone through, then I would do that," she said. "I had some experience to give."
Ms. Miller soon realized she had advice to offer on more topics; she is currently counseling a woman on parenting problems.
Ms. Miller said she receives great satisfaction through helping women face their problems and reach their goals.
"This has been what I have enjoyed the most," she said. "I have talked people through a lot of things, and this is something I'm really enjoying, meeting people where they are."
Reova Meredith founded the International Center for Women's Ministries in 1989 after she and a group of others saw a need among women for emotional and spiritual healing.
"Our vision is to serve as an integral social service in the community, providing emotional and spiritual health to the women in the area," Ms. Meredith read from the organization's mission statement on Wednesday by phone from her office in Bloomington, Ind. "We will acquire the necessary resources to minister to more women through professional-level volunteers."
There are 30 centers in eight states and four foreign countries, including China and Honduras.
Ms. Meredith said she anticipates the Joy Center's move, which has been in the works for about five years, will have a positive impact on women on both sides of the counseling equation.
"They have volunteers from the south side of Toledo that drive down to the center now," Ms. Meredith said. "There's also a tremendous need on the south side of Toledo, and Barb has a very deep heart for the needs that are there."
To complete the center's move from Waterville to South Toledo, the organization greatly needs resources, Ms. Triggs said, both in the forms of funding and volunteers.
The group plans to rely solely on donations from individuals and churches. Ms. Triggs did not specify an amount needed for the coming move.
"We need the churches to understand what we are trying to do, and we need support from the community," she said.
The Joy Center has scheduled a community information meeting Aug. 11 for those interested in assisting the center. It will be from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Toledo Heights branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, 423 Shasta Dr.
Contact Mel Flanagan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6087.