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10News Leadership: Women's Resource Center getting people back on their feet

Posted at 8:15 PM, Jan 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-06 23:17:27-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The Women's Resource Center started off as a rape crisis center but because of the need, has evolved into much more.

The evolution is so stark, it now just goes by the initials W.R.C. to highlight serving men and women. Zaria admits it’s been hard finding reasons for her and her one-year-old son Elias to celebrate.

“I chose the wrong person, wrong path,” said Zaria.

That's how they ended up at the Women's Resource Center or W.R.C. shelter.

“We keep food in here, most of it's donated,” said Deputy Director Jill Marshall. “We always have diapers, baby milk, etc…”

Run by government grants and community donations, W.R.C. has 21 furnished apartments for families, playrooms for kids and teenagers, an art room, and a gift room for birthdays and Christmas.

“We had 125 families, and 375 kids sign up this year,” said Marshall.

It also has counseling centers, laundry services, outdoor space, and most importantly, it has trauma-informed care and compassion.

“We do not need a police report,” said Marshall. “They come in and say I'm a victim of domestic violence and I need help.”

The organization serves about 1,700 families a year but gets three times as many calls. The goal every time, is to get people back on their feet.

“It takes a lot for me to speak up,” said Zaria.

While Zaria showed a lot of bravery to move in 6 months ago, she showed just as much bravery moving out. On the day we met her, she was transitioning out of the shelter 18 months before the 2-year maximum allowed stay.

“More scared than anything, but excited,” she said when asked about her feeling.

“If they don't get there, we blame ourselves,” said Marshall. “We ask what did we do wrong?”

“Anytime one of our clients or residents is able to find the strength to move on and have housing and self-sufficiency, this is why we do what we do,” said CEO Stephanie Miller. “Breaking that cycle so that it does not become an intergenerational problem is a really important aspect of what we do as well.”

The W.R.C. also has programs for domestic violence prevention and for perpetrators and says anyone who walks in the door is a hero.

“They really are, because once they leave and get transitional housing, they've been through a lot once they get here,” said Marshall. “It's a scary thing to leave and it's a scary thing to start a new life; start something new.”

And for those who are watching that need a place to go right now, don't worry, a space just opened up.

“It's worth it,” said Zaria. “They helped to the best of their ability. It might not be the help that you want but it's the help that you need.”

The shelter does admit that there is always more demand than what their capacity holds, but, they belong to a network of other shelters they work closely with.

So if you were inspired by this story, they say please do not hesitate to call whether you need to get out of a situation or you want to support their cause through volunteering or donations. They take money, even furniture for the victims.

Because of the consistent work in helping heal people and families, ABC10News and Lead San Diego are proud to select W.R.C. as the 10News Leadership Award winner for the month of January.

To nominate someone for the 10News Leadership Award, visit here.