YWCA to show off new building renovations
by Geoff Folsom
gfolsom@cherokeetribune.com
April 26, 2012 12:20 AM | 3056 views | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CEO Holly Comer shows off one of the 12 new two-bedroom apartments that were part of a $4.5 million renovation of the YWCA of Northwest Georgia in Marietta. The apartments, which will provide for women who are victims of domestic violence or sex abuse, are part of the 2-year-old $5.4 million capital campaign the YWCA has raised so far.<br>Staff photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan
CEO Holly Comer shows off one of the 12 new two-bedroom apartments that were part of a $4.5 million renovation of the YWCA of Northwest Georgia in Marietta. The apartments, which will provide for women who are victims of domestic violence or sex abuse, are part of the 2-year-old $5.4 million capital campaign the YWCA has raised so far.
Staff photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan
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The YWCA of Northwest Georgia will show off its newly renovated building to supporters and volunteers at a celebration tonight.

The agency, which serves victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, spent more than $4.5 million renovating the half-century-old building, located at 48 Henderson St. in Marietta, near the intersection of Whitlock Avenue and South Marietta Parkway.

YWCA Chief Executive Officer Holly Comer said that is part of the $5.4 million the agency has raised so far in its 2-year-old capital campaign.

“In this economy, that’s pretty good,” she said.

The renovated building includes 12 new residential units. The two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments average around 1,000 square feet and were built on the site of the YWCA’s old indoor swimming pool, which was closed in 2007. Comer said the agency was able to build the apartments for less money because of discounts on furniture, cabinets and other amenities.

“It’s just like they’re living out in the community,” she said.

The apartments are available to women coming out of abusive relationships, Comer said. The YWCA helps women with child care and other needs, like transportation, while living in the apartments. Women pay up to 30 percent of their gross adjusted income to live there.

The residential units will replace the apartments the YWCA currently leases in the area.

The renovated building also includes a large conference room that be divided into three smaller rooms. It features artwork from metal sculptor Marygrace Bianco, a former Marietta resident who was sexually abused as a child.

The building also features a renovated child therapy room filled with stuffed animals.

“We feel it is important to work with the children to eliminate that cycle of violence,” Comer said.

Comer estimated that between counseling, group therapy and housing, around 1,000 women and children will use the renovated building in a year.

One woman who was assisted by the YWCA said she is impressed with the rebuilt facility. Christy, who asked that her last name not be used, came to the YWCA’s shelter in August because it offered more services than a shelter she stayed at in northeast Georgia.

Christy said she escaped a man who she’s been married to for a year.

“He blacked my eye and broke my nose,” she said. “I couldn’t even sleep. He would wake up in the middle of the night and be mad about something I said earlier.”

When she came to the YWCA, the organization put her son in daycare, helped her look for a job and gave her a prepaid cell phone, Christy said.

“Anything you need, they have a way to find it,” she said. “They just have a real good support system.”

The YWCA is looking to raise $7 million in its capital campaign. Comer said its next project is to renovate its domestic violence shelter. Comer said the shelter, the location of which the YWCA keeps secret to protect victims, has 32 beds in 10 rooms, with only one bathroom for everyone to share.

“It’s 30 years old,” Comer said. “It’s seen better days.”

The shelter renovation would include a new dining room, a larger living room and activity rooms for children and teenagers.

Improving conditions makes it easier for women to heal from their abusive situations, Comer said.

S.A. White Oil Company President Kim Gresh, chair of the agency’s capital campaign, said it was important for the YWCA to complete one project before it could start another in order for it to avoid debt. Raising the remaining money will be among the topics discussed at the meeting tonight.

“Hopefully we can wrap this up pretty soon,” Gresh said.
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