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Community Impact: Barrow Ministry Village

When Barrow Ministry Village started in 2012, its founding leaders wanted to focus on three key areas that lacked resources in the community: Food distribution, foster family resources and affordable counseling services. Over time, the Barrow Ministry Village has narrowed its focus to offering professional counseling, foster family support and support for grandparents raising their grandchildren.

Barrow County’s poverty rate is 20 percent – making it difficult for many people in the community to get professional counseling, even with medical insurance. Oftentimes, co-pays for counseling make it cost prohibitive, said Becky Lee, executive director of the Barrow Ministry Village.

“If you’re looking at paying your electric bill or getting counseling, there just wasn’t a good option,” Lee said.

Providing professional counseling services to those who otherwise couldn’t afford it is the greatest demand for Barrow Village Ministry, Lee said. The nonprofit organization uses funding it receives from the Victims of Crime Act Assistance (VOCA) grant to provide counseling services for victims of crimes that are recovering from trauma, child abuse, domestic violence and other issues. However, Barrow Ministry Village needed additional resources to support people in the community facing family or mental health issues that could be addressed through counseling.

The Jackson EMC Foundation recently awarded the Barrow Ministry Village a $12,000 grant to serve 50 individuals with counseling sessions.

Barrow Ministry Village uses licensed therapists who are either employed or contracted with the Winder-based organization for counseling sessions. Clients are referred to the organization by churches, schools and other agencies. For clients, their treatment plan includes goals that address their individual needs, whether they be emotional, psychological or physical.

“We help them build coping skills,” Lee said. “We help give them things they can do daily to reach their goals.”

For Lee, one of the most rewarding aspects at Barrow Ministry Village is watching people turn the corner in the healing process and using their newfound coping skills.

“Seeing people really struggling and then seeing them change after a few sessions is inspirational,” she said.

For more information about Barrow Ministry Village, visit barrowministryvillage.org.