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Emergency Shelter in Cumming Helps to Enrich the Lives of Young Women

By Courtney Clark

At risk girls in Georgia can find a safe haven in Cumming GA at Jesse's' House, an emergency shelter that has been serving the community since 1998. Formerly known as the Forsyth County Youth Shelter, Jesse's House provides basic needs, round-the-clock care, and perhaps most importantly, emotional support.

In 1996, Kennesaw State Students produced a needs assessment that resulted in the opening of Jesse's House two years later. According to the website, the shelter's mission is "to provide safe and structured care in a nurturing environment to at-risk girls in order to adequately prepare them for life."

Over the years, the shelter has grown to meet the needs of the community. Today the shelter can serve up to 12 young girls with no maximum-allowed stayed. Each girl is given an individual bedroom, a library/computer lab, a game room, and a common room that allows the shelter "to serve approximately 70 youth annually."

Jesse's House provides a haven for girls needing shelter from unsafe homes. Executive Director Amber Black explains, "Each young lady that walks through our door has her own unique story." Youth come from traumatic environments and are often victims of abuse. To help them heal, the organization provides treatment plans for a variety of diagnoses such as PTSD, ADHD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, and more. Treatment plans cover medical, dental, and mental health needs as well as educational and behavioral goals.

Ultimately, Jesse's House aims to teach girls how to obtain a successful future. Youth are enrolled in educational programs and are provided with tutoring, clothing, and enrichment activities. Those who help at the shelter assist girls in developing basic life and living skills. Black goes on to say that mental health is a top priority: "Needs are assessed and met through coordination of counseling services, psychological evaluations, and medication management."

The emergency shelter is grateful to the Forsyth County community and beyond for assistance in funding. About 40% of the organizations income is made up of grants, private and corporate donors, community civic groups, and churches. The rest is thanks to the Department of Human Services/Department of Family & Children Services and the Forsyth County Juvenile Court.

However, although donations are not only appreciated but are necessary, volunteers are an important part of the shelter's success. As the website explains, anyone 21 years of age or older can volunteer "as an educational tutor, a mentor or as a leader for activities. Or, you can assist our staff with domestic work such as facility maintenance, groups keeping or meal preparation."

Jesse's House has been helping the Forsyth County community for almost two decades. With contributions from residents and businesses, the shelter can continue to provide support and meet needs of young girls, preparing them for a successful future.

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About The Author

Courtney Clark graduated from Flagler College with a BA in English and Creative...

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