COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - One local non-profit organization is hoping to combat crime and the growing opioid crisis by opening a new community center in Columbus offering free resources. The Grace Outreach Community Center opens this Saturday, July 13 in the St. Mary’s Shopping Center off Buena Vista Rd.
It will offer free resources including computer classes, HIV testing, and educational and financial workshops.
As a veteran, Grace Outreach Community Center Director Letisha Rice understands the needs of the veteran community. She also spent many years as a case manager.
“Going into patient’s homes and seeing that there’s a disconnect from the patients and the community, I wanted to be that bridge for the gap that was there," Rice explained.
Rice chose to have the community center in south Columbus because she says there is a high crime rate in that area.
“We should not run away from the crime, but we should run to the people and try to see what’s going on. Why are they committing the crimes? Is it because of lack of education? Lack of finances? And we need to take care of our own community," Rice said.
The center will offer professional development resources like resume writing.
“If we can help people get jobs, help people grow in their education, then I believe that the crime will go down in the area," Rice explained.
The center’s community coordinator, Chiquita Daniels, is working to get local businesses involved.
“My vision is to see us expand to the point to where we’re able to reach more than just the south side. That we’re over in the east and the west to bring everybody together," Daniels said.
The center will also offer resources for health concerns and group counseling sessions.
There is an open house this Saturday from 10:00am - 1:00pm with music, food, and free toys for the kids. The address is 3360 Buena Vista Rd., Suite 12.