WINONA, MN (WXOW)—Carla Burton opened Grace Place 20-years-ago; she felt a calling to provide a safe place for new mothers after hearing about abortion riots in Milwaukee.
Over the years programming and logos have changed, but her mission has not. She has been able to help many women, like Stacy Norris get back on their feet.
Norris moved to Winona from San Antonio about a year ago to get out of a domestic situation.
"I wanted a safer place for my children and myself," Norris said.
A friend suggested she come to Winona, so she left everything behind and started a new life with her two children.
"I prayed about it and the Lord led me here," Norris said. "I know He is using me."
Now she works at Grace Place, helping with some of the programs that she brings her children to like the music class called Godly Play.
"Since I've been in Godly Play now with my two children we have a stronger connection than we've ever had," Norris said.
Burton said helping women who are in a time of transition is her mission.
"A shelter is more than a building a shelter is a community," Burton said. "Shelter is a place to practice social skills and to gain confidence; and when you have confidence you make better decisions."
Grace Place started out as a shelter, but since then they have sold the house they used for a shelter for money to invest into programming. Now that their programs are up and running Burton said they are ready to open shelters again.
She said she hopes to have four shelters where women could transition from a highly supportive environment, to being more independent and eventually an apartment of their own.
"All along the mentoring would continue coming around that family and protecting it for a while until its ready to stand on its own," Burton said.
Norris said the biggest thing Grace Place has taught her and her children is stability and trust. She said she isn't sure where she would be now with out them.
"I know for right now, even volunteering down the road, I don't know where the Lord is going to lead that, but I know He has big plans," Norris said.
Grace Place invites the community to their Grand Reveal event Friday, April 20th from 4 to 6 p.m. They will be kicking off their year long campaign of awareness and making a difference in the lives of families.
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