The WAY Center Celebrates Another Annual Fall Fundraiser
by James Coulter
A young lady had been in a nine-year relationship with a man who considered her worthless. He forced her to quit her job and controlled every aspect of her life. They drifted from motel to motel and regularly got high.
One day, her boyfriend left for work and never returned. She found herself without a home, job, or money. She was scared out of her mind. The death of both her grandparents proved to be the breaking point for her.
She prayed to God and asked Him if this was the life she was supposed to have. God responded by opening doors of opportunity for her, all of which led her to The Way Center in Haines City. There, she turned her life around both literally and spiritually.
She accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior and was baptized. She lost 25 pounds, she has been sober for 74 days and counting, and she is currently seeking a career in criminal justice.
“All my hard work paid off and I am where I need to be,” she said. “My foundation has been laid and my future is amazing. I know I am love I am worthy and I am not disposable I am strong through Christ who strengthens me. Without you all I would not be standing here today.”
This young woman was one of many women whose lives were touched by The Way Center. She gave her testimony during its annual fundraiser last Thursday evening at Snively Ranch in Haines City.
Several dozen residents, business owners, and philanthropists from the Haines City community congregated at Snively Ranch on Thursday evening to learn more about The Way Center and the services it provides to local women and families in need.
Attendees were able to enjoy a dinner catered by The Cattle Company while listening to musical performance, a comedic keynote speech, and several testimonies from women who were assisted and supported through the non-profit organization.
Another young lady ran away from an abusive family. Even in a relationship, she felt alone. Upon learning that her one-year-old son’s father had been caught in a series of lies, she decided to reside in Florida, where she had originally left for vacation.
She was recommended The Way Center, and there she turned her life around for the better. She took several workshops about parenting to better develop her skills as a mother. She took an aptitude test that assessed her abilities. She receives child care vouchers, diapers for her son, and clothes for an interview. Most importantly, she re-dedicated her life to Christ and made the decision to get re-baptized.
“I would not now where I would be without you all,” she said to the staff members in the audience that evening.
The Way Center is a non-profit faith-based organization dedicated to serving women, children, and families in need. As their website states: “The WAY Center Mission is to provide a variety of spiritual and social services for families in need or crisis. Our desire is to work with our clients for a period of time to help them overcome obstacles that keep them from meeting personal, financial & spiritual goals.”
This year, The Way Center was able to purchase the building to their thrift store thanks to the generosity of their landlord and Polk County Sheriff’s Charities. They also invested in a new computer database to help streamline their case management services and internal communications, and they received additional training to handle situations concerning unemployment, human trafficking, and domestic violence.
“We want to see lives transformed through the love of Christ,” said LeAnn Price, Executive Director. “As the world gets darker, we are a light in the darkness and a beacon of hope for those who are lost.”
In-between his comedic quips about being unable to put his airline seat in its upright position during a recent flight and getting two six-inch sponges stuck in his stomach following a surgery, keynote speaker Mike Williams lauded how his life had benefited from organizations like The Way Center.
Williams grew up in Chicago in a family of five. One brother died on the streets, another died in jail, and two sisters became drug addicts. His mother offered to give him away to the mailman, who mentioned that his daughter was praying for a child for 12 years. Mike was taken into his new family, where he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
Sadly, tragedy struck when his foster mother became stricken with multiple sclerosis and his father had a car fall on him while fixing it, crushing his leg and breaking his back, and forcing him to become addicted to pain killers. Through such hard times, charities and organizations similar to The Way Center reached out to help him and his family.
“I know that everyone in this room is one tragedy away from life going crazy,” Williams said. “I am here tonight because of organizations like The Way Center. I am here because of people who said they cared…Everyone wants to know that through this journey of life [that they] matter and you can do that through The Way Center.”
To learn more about The Way Center, visit their website at: https://www.thewaycenter.org/