Today we’d like to introduce you to Marigold Edwards.
Marigold, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I came to Georgia and Atlanta Metro after an illustrious international career as both a business professional and a Christian minister. Unexpectedly, within two months of my arrival as a newlywed; coming to be a blessing, I found myself in a domestic violence situation and had to flee for my life.
Family violence doesn’t seem to discriminate, I feel I am proof of that. I had a very difficult time and I went through a lot of distress, my family and support over 4000 miles away in another country. I was truly blessed however with the provision of God who provided me with the help of wonderful people (essentially strangers) and organizations in my locality who supported me tremendously and to whom I am so grateful. Because of my faith in God, fortitude from my many years in business, ministry, and leadership I was eventually able to get back on my feet. Once recovered I found out that one of the shelters, I had stayed at was closing. I did everything I could to save this vital resource that was a life saver for me and others in our time of trouble.
Unfortunately, despite my best efforts it closed, and all the women had to leave, and the building was emptied and put up for sale. The shelter was the only facility of its kind for single women in crisis so when it closed, I worked hard and was able to re-open it. With the help of God and the support of my mom, family, friends and the community I succeeded. Since that time, I felt led to switch my business career and concentrate on social care ministry. Even though I am not currently salaried (I live by the grace of God and help from my community) I run the shelter full-time. I am passionate about my work which is helpful when working in the challenging environment of social care ministry.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has been both smooth and rough, I have had wonderful blessings and great challenges one challenge being the family violence I experienced. Doing business in a new country has its own unique challenges. One of my big challenges was getting used to living in another country where everything was different to what I was used to. As an example, although the language was English, the word usage was completely different to my country of origin and it took a lot of getting used to. Learning the systems of administration and culture in another country was a tremendous learning curve (and I’m still learning) but I was assisted by the grace of God and my prior experience of working in so many other countries. Finding myself unexpectedly alone doing business in a new country was difficult. Problems are a normal part of life and I have come to a place of acceptance where they are concerned.
When I am faced with a business or personal struggle or problem/challenge I just get on with solving it or in some other way dealing with it. I have learned from experience that it usually turns out just fine. One of my smooth experiences is the community support for my business, there is always help and support available as needed. Currently, we are doing a book fundraiser (jcfreedomhouse.com/events) for the shelter with my first book ‘The 12 Success Lesson – the only book you ever need to read on personal achievement’. All stratus of my community has been buying the book and the funds are very much needed as we have a big goal of purchasing our shelter building or losing it in a few short months. Another of my smooth experiences is the willingness of community volunteers to help out at the shelter and with fund-raising.
Please tell us about JC Freedom House.
JC Freedom House’s mission is to provide health and healing to people and organizations. Its flagship program is its shelter for women in crisis. Its other services include training workshops, intercessory/healing ministry and healthy living groups. Thanks to the amazing support of partners, community and many others, the shelter is in its 3rd year of operation. During this time, lives have been completely transformed! So far over a dozen women in crisis have been provided with safe, stable housing for up to a year.
• Four for the full 12 months
• Five children received outreach support
• 4000 bed-nights were provided
• An above average, 8 out of 10 of the women transition to permanent or semi-permanent housing
• Women regained parental rights to their children
• New jobs were obtained
• Outreach clients were provided with practical support and assistance
• Therapy Services were provided (group & individual)
• Financial literacy training provided
• One woman went from a college semester GPA of 1.8 to a GPA of 4.0!
We are most proud of the lives that have been transformed from crisis to hope whether it is in our shelter or our other programs. What sets us apart from other social care organizations in the main is that we are user-centered, it is the users of our services that shape the services we provide. Our aim is continued excellence.
What were you like growing up?
Growing up I started out very shy; this changed as I grew in life experience. I always loved being outdoors and was very close to my God, family, and friends.
- Our greatest need right now is for individual or organizations to give a tax deductible donation of any amount to help us save our shelter building (we are raising $155,000 to purchase it).
- For just $10 readers can support our book campaign and buy a great read while helping to purchase our building to keep the shelter open (jcfreedomhouse/events).
- A great way readers can help is by becoming one of our ‘Life Saver’ monthly donors (jcfreedomhouse.com) By giving a tax deductible donation of just $25 or more a month they provide a woman in crisis with a night of safety with a bed, food, clothing and other necessities.
- Website: jcfreedomhouse.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Charity-Organization/JC-Freedom-House-749439742059741/