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WOMEN'S SELF-HELP CENTER OPENS AFTER 3-YEAR EFFORT

After three years of planning, a self-help women's center opened at the Center for Spirituality and Creativity on East Second Street last week.

The Rev. Maggie Monroe-Cassel, spokeswoman, said the Burchard-Barry-Wilcox Self-Help Women's Center is named for three local women.

"The names are from three women in our congregation who died and left money that we are using to start this center for women, hopefully a place where women will help women move along in their lives and learn and grow together," Monroe-Cassel said.

The center will be temporarily housed at the 516 E. Second St. location.

Monroe-Cassel said one of the services the center will offer is low-income housing at a nearby home at 508 E. Second St., which was bought by her church, the Judson Fellowship, an American Baptist Church.

"We're renovating that house, and it will be two apartments for low-income women," she said. "We're working with the city, which is providing us some funding along the way to renovate that house."

She said the center will also work to create economic opportunities for small businesses and train women to be part of the local work force.

"We have some of the items from that project here called "The Candlestick Project," a micro-enterprise opportunity for women to learn a new trade -- stained glass in this case -- and to make some money while they're doing that," Monroe-Cassel said. "We're hoping to provide some computer training. We're hoping to provide some life-skills kind of programming."

Anyone who wishes to become involved in the women's center, by donating money or time, can call 483-6877.

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