Women starting over

Published 1:08 am Tuesday, December 30, 2003

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
Women in Renewal, a Niles area women's shelter, has recently received an award letter of $10,000 from the United Way of Southwest Michigan.
The donation will help the shelter for battered women with their daily operations and general upkeep.
Women in Renewal is a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring wholeness and well being to families affected by domestic violence.
The organization is currently made up of three programs, two of which are fully functional and one that is still in the works.
The functioning programs are the shelter which is called Polly's Place and the Renewal Institute which is a non-residential facility that serves as the educational arm of the organization.
The tentative project is a center called Mary's Inn and will be used to help teens who are facing unplanned pregnancies.
The organization formed in 1996 is located on an eight acre estate that was donated by Ronald and Pauline Westman, who still provide some funding to the shelter.
Many of the buildings on the property are very old and did not pass recent fire inspections, so they can not be used for the purposes that the organization wants.
Rose is concentrating on knocking these old buildings down and replacing them with new facilities that would serve as a home for administration, counseling and Mary's Inn.
She recently met with the Niles Township officials regarding this plan and should hear back from them within a week.
The new facilities would allow them to have much more room for their organization to operate.
Women in Renewal is currently providing shelter for three women and four children.
The residents are allowed to stay for a maximum of eight weeks.
In addition to providing shelter, the program provides individual and group counseling and health, parenting and nutrition education.
Rose said 80 percent of the residents relocate and try to start something new, while the other 20 percent go back to the situation they were in before they came to the shelter.
She said they do their best to help the women find jobs and housing and sometimes they even extend the eight week stay.
In addition to the United Way's award letter, they have also received donations from Whirlpool, the Upton Foundation and Walmart.
The shelter also receives a lot of help through volunteer work.
Last year, a group from Sawyer came to the shelter to help out for a week.
Rose said that they patched the roof, cleaned the gutters, cleaned the yard, did some painting and made repairs to the barn.
Women in Renewal always welcomes help, whether it be through donations or volunteering. For more information, call (269) 687-9822.