Where there’s a will there’s a way is a proverb that means if someone is determined to do something, he will find a way to accomplish regardless of obstacles.
I have always had the will, but the way has sometimes been a struggle. I am a true believer that with “God All things are Possible”, and it has been proven repeatedly.
Despite the most difficult moments that I have gone through, my efforts have always been blessed, with Fresh Spirit Wellness for Women, Inc., with supporting friends, colleagues, and clients, but it has not always been an easy path. I have always had faith and perseverance and this is what has kept me striving for success and accomplishments. My will is and has always been to help people! I have always had a helping spirit! Every occupation that I have had was one in helping and providing services for others. After being a survivor of a ten-year marriage to a physically abusive spouse, and losing a baby as the result of a senseless aggressive beating in a horrific act of domestic violence, a scarring experience no woman should ever have to suffer; I saw a need to open a safe environment for women, youth and families challenged by the crisis of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
Fresh Spirit Wellness for Women Inc. opened in 1997 as a non-profit organization. We have assisted thousands of women, couples and families in overcoming and healing from toxic and abusive relationships. I am truly adamant in supporting victims and has been an advocate for domestic and sexual violence victims for over twenty-two years. During the last twenty years, I have sought a variety of ways to help me help others. It became apparent to me that there was an entire population of victims left without a means to navigate through the system of domestic abuse assistance. I quickly realized there was minimal help for people who did not need shelter but needed other support. Generally, organizations that offer domestic abuse recovery services and support for victims who do not need a shelter are virtually nonexistent, so after a period of healing and recovery, I decided to provide the type of service that bridges the steps between not needing a shelter and not being able to afford the private counseling needed to help with healing. Domestic violence affects all walks of life and if a woman does not need shelter, she is more likely not to go to a shelter for other services. It was my desire to successfully assist those in need, Fresh Spirit Wellness, Inc. has assisted thousands of clients each year with domestic violence counseling, therapy, case management, safety plans, support groups, protective orders, crime victim’s compensation and more. Most people do not know that these services exist outside of a shelter. We have also worked with the local shelters to provide emergency shelter. In cases when a shelter was needed but a bed was not available, Fresh Spirit Wellness, Inc. placed clients into partnering hotels through our “Safe Night Program.” Fresh Spirit Wellness, Inc. is currently providing clothing, food, diapers, gas cards and other non-perishable items needed during the hotel stay to keep the client and children safe until a shelter becomes available. I am pleased to be able to help others, however, the struggle comes when you want to do something for others and don’t have the funds to do so… Where there’s a will there’s a way! We know that we could not do any of this without donations and our annual fundraisers. Thanks to those that have contributed in the past. Your contribution has benefited numerous individuals and families. I am truly grateful for all the efforts to assist me, but the task is ongoing. In order to continue to support, counsel, and encourage the clients I have a continual task of raising money to promote Fresh Spirit Wellness, Inc. goals and purpose.
was founded as a Faith-based non- profit organization established to restore and empower women and youth. has a special passion and dedication to assist victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse and their families, through counseling, empowerment coaching, educational classes, group therapy and workshops, and financial assistance. Even though, we are a non-profit organization funds are very much needed to sponsor our clients. The services are absolutely free for the clients, but the professional and licensed staff employed to provide the consistent services needed, our safe facility, the utilities and many other bills to operate the organization is not. The funds are also used to raise awareness of the tragedy of domestic and sexual violence and allow us to provide the services, private individual abuse counseling sessions (for men, women & youth), classes and workshops to overcome the learned behaviors from abuse and toxic relationships. I believe that… Where there’s a will there’s a way, so I keep working to provide needed support and praying that assistance will be provided to help me.
On many occasions, I was promised monetary support and volunteering support which failed. It’s fair to say that I may have been a little naïve about what was to come. I knew it would be hard work, but I didn’t quite realize how hard. I guess I thought that since it was my passion to challenge Domestic Violence to the max, and it is such a needed cause that everyone or at least most would have had the same charge. Many had the heart to want to help, but not the “gong ho” that I expected. The other expectation I had was ongoing support from like-minded friends, family and colleagues to give of their support, time and or money. You know, the kind of situations where people rally around you to welcome a new idea into existence, the kind of situations where there are regular meetings, fresh ideas and suggestions on how to move the goals, vision and purposes forward because they had the ability, resources and connections to do so and they knew my heart and intentions were pure. I expected the bond with my cohorts to strengthen week after week, month after month and year after year. What happened next fell entirely short of what I had imagined the struggle to be. I was disappointed that some were willing to support but because of their different responsibilities were not as willing to commit fulltime as I was! That, I at least understood! I was utterly and more disappointed when there were people, church members, pastors, city political representatives that are in my circle that could have made a quick call, announcement or an easy referral that could have made all of the difference in the world but did little to nothing. I had to realize that most people are inherently good. They are on their own journey, and although disappointment can feel personal, it’s often not. The other person’s expectations are simply different from mine. I had to resolve to do what I had to do and focus on what was manifesting, what was working and good and leave those disappointing thoughts behind. I had to recruit new volunteers and sponsors on a regular basis. I also had to start a training program to expel upon the expectations of Fresh Spirit Wellness, Inc. what it is and what is needed to operate and function to the utmost.
We provide various services along with Domestic Violence support. Our youth programs have been a great success. We have provided services for at-risk youth (but not limited to) ranging in age from 12-18. We have designed programs and curriculum specifically for their age group dealing with issues such as: drug abuse, anger management, abstinence, peer pressure, teen pregnancy, teen parenting, character development, life skills, self -management skills, self -esteem, college prep courses, tutorials, and more. We have provided regularly scheduled after school and in school pull out programs to assist youth with their academic and personal development skills. Our P.E.A.C.E Program (Personal Empowerment and Character Education) is an interactive program that combines Self-management, Character Development, and Anger-Management Conflict resolution for both youth and their parents as we help them resolve communication, relational and behavioral issues. The P.E.A.C.E Program has successfully helped youth to overcome the emotional and behavioral challenges of students in middle and high schools, most participants were at-risk students referred by the courts.
It takes a team to serve and assist these programs. It takes dedication, prayer, and money to keep these programs going. As an ordained minister, an electrifying speaker, counselor, coach coveted author, and talk show radio & TV host, I use every channel offered to me to educate, to inspire, to empower, to recruit help and to request funding for the continuation of Fresh Spirit’s desire to help those in dire need. Even though my team and I have assisted thousands of women, couples and families in overcoming and healing from toxic and abusive relationships, there are many more to help. It breaks my heart to have to turn away those seeking help, whether it is financial support, counseling, shelter or safety. We do all that we can do to help! We write grants, do fundraisers and host events, because, with all we do, we can not do enough! It takes more funds than most can imagine. Lots of money is needed!
We assist these battered women to also overcome shame, guilt, codependency, resentment, depression, divorce, loneliness, anger, anxiety and much more. It is our goal to develop a positive self-image, a strong sense of identity and build self-esteem. We help women and youth to tap into their unlimited potential that may have been stifled due to the sick, abusive and compulsive behavior of others. We educate and empower women on how they can experience complete restoration and wholeness and become spiritually, physically, emotionally and financially well. Fresh Spirit Wellness for Women, Inc. is not a women’s shelter, we are an out-care program for women of all walks of life who are in search of healing and support. It is not a problem to live up to our goals, it becomes a struggle to provide support without assistance from outside entities. With help, we can transform the lives of participants through individual counseling, support groups, and personal coaching all designed to educate and equip individuals as they focus on their spiritual growth, personal development, and life management skills. Assistance is needed so that we can offer regularly scheduled workshops, seminars, retreats and conferences to help women, youth and families affected by domestic violence to set and reach their goals to heal, restore, and rebuild despite their challenges. We want to continue to provide a safe supportive wellness center with a structured environment as the women and youth development and recover from the effects of toxic relationships, and dysfunctional childhoods, also to continue to provide support and services to churches, schools and various organizations as they assist abused families. We want to continue to provide clients with case management regarding professional counseling, job placement, legal and medical needs, financial and housing assistance to improve their quality of life.
With organized fundraisers and Community Service Outreach Projects for Abused Women and Youth such as the Legacy Awards benefiting Domestic Violence Survivors, the Coat Drive, and the “Joy with a Toy” Christmas Toy Drive, we have supported and put smiles on many faces. I truly get a self- reward with an inner self- appreciation when I can lead such campaigns to benefit others. I followed my own advice, I went through my coat closet and, found four coats to donate that I don’t wear! Some of the ladies that were serviced in shelters had fled domestic violence scenes in fear of their lives and did not bring coats with them. They were thinking of staying ALIVE. It was our pleasure to help them stay warm! Fresh Spirit Wellness for Women, Inc. gave away 100 bikes for Christmas 3 years in a row for children affected by domestic violence. It was as exciting for me to give the toys as it was for them to receive them. This community effort was recognized and interviewed by TV Station UHN and interviewed by TV Station 13 Eyewitness News about the toy drive, the bike drive and what Fresh Spirit Wellness for Women, Inc. does to help those affected by domestic violence in the community. I am pleased with the results of our efforts. Again, I must thank the team of Fresh Spirit Wellness for Women, Inc. and the contributors for assisting in helping us to achieve our goal.
It takes $40k a month, close to A HALF A MILLION DOLLARS a year to operate Fresh Spirit Wellness for Women, Inc., non -profit organization. Many people don’t understand what it takes to do what we do. We have had several contributors and sponsors in the past to help us. We have written letters, sent out flyers, made verbal announcements, used social media, reached out to foundations and organizations to solicit support. Some have graciously supported us on numerous occasions, some have made one- time financial support to events and everything is so appreciated. I am grateful truly, for all that have supported us with money and time! Every dollar counts and allows us to continue assisting women and children affected by domestic violence. To the reader: if you have never donated, donate today… it’s for a great cause! It is never too late! I thank those that have referred us to various foundations that through partnership has assisted us in our community efforts.
I hurt every time I hear, read or I’m asked to speak for those killed in Domestic Violence situations. Domestic Violence is very real and those going through it need our assistance not our opinions and judgment. There seems to be a war on women… and statistics show that the fatality of black women is the highest. It is my personal quest to help to stop this war! I have taught classes to help point out the signs of domestic violence. The classes taught are to educate females and males. These classes focus on the awareness of toxic situations that will help and prevent violence in the family. I have seen so many tricks to lure women and young girls for evil doings (sexual, physical, verbal and emotional abuse). All the kidnapping and trafficking of women and young girls is JUST AWFUL! My heart aches each time I learn about it. The domestic violence homicides cases have increased over the years! I feel that my hands are tied because I cannot fix this problem. I know that I am only one person, but I also know that if I can save one victim from death and/or can support them through survival, then that’s a huge blessing and victory! I have received the Community Unsung Hero Award for my advocacy towards Awareness against Domestic Abuse. I have a made-up mind to continue to fight for those who can’t speak for themselves.
In my opinion, *LAWS NEED TO CHANGE IMMEDIATELY* **NO BAIL SHOULD BE GRANTED**to the abuser. I speak with legislators and prosecutors on subjects such as this on a regular basis. I am busy every day fulfilling God’s plan for me to help and serve! I took a training course and committed to doing support groups for females who were victims of domestic violence but are in jail for defending themselves. I am overjoyed to be able to have the opportunity to go in weekly and encourage them. I reiterate that even though they were abused and are now in jail that there is still life after domestic violence and that they can and will overcome! I like seeing the smiles on their faces when they are provided with hope and enthusiasm. Dr. Conte’s House of Healing is another program designed to help the victims of domestic violence. It provides temporary independent living for the homeless or struggling due to abused situations. It is a secure and safe place that is comfortable with all the comforts of home. More places such as this is needed. It is a dream of mine to have a larger facility for housing, for counseling, and for training purposes.
I reflect to the statement written earlier… Where there’s a will there’s a way. Every time I had a problem or ran into a “pothole”, when I did not see a way, God has made a way! I like the following quote… “When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal, you do not change your decision to get there.” –Zig Ziglar What do I do when something stands in my way? First and foremost, I pray for directions. I have the will to be a “fixer”, but when resistance get in my way, I work harder, I research the problem, I seek assistance, I prepare for success even if I don’t succeed the first time. I am a huge fan of setting big bold goals, and I think big, but I must stay focused on what my purpose is. Starting Fresh Spirit Wellness for Women, Inc. was a wonderful thought, it had a smooth beginning, but on down the line crisis after crisis arose. Some people will attempt to throw you off your game and distract you from God’s greater plan and vision for your life. I had to learn to discern the enemy and release them to their own devices while I remained “FOCUSED” on the greatness that lied ahead! I have always said God takes you through…where He wants you to be a blessing to! I am thankful for opportunities from setbacks, every time obstacles get in the way to destroy my plans, God’s plans bring much more than ever imagined!
In conclusion, I am willing to do the work that it takes to rid family violence, to establish and maintain the safety of the victim, to provide appropriate legal consequences to the batterer, addressing the emotional impact on the the victim and the problems and consequences as a result of the abuser. I believe that this can happen one victory at a time… Where there’s a will there’s a way!