OAKLAND – The Bible tells the story of Leah, a plain-looking, sad woman who faced difficulties and felt unloved all her life, second-best to her beautiful sister Rachel.
When Michelle Moyers enlisted volunteers to help her establish a half-way house for women in Oakland, she named it Leah’s House.
The biblical Leah was the mother of Judah, through whose lineage Jesus was born.
“In the midst of her turmoil God was showing her that He cared about her,” Moyers explained. “That is our goal, to show that no matter how destroyed our lives seem, God still has a plan.”
Plans for Leah’s House are coming to fruition Friday with a ribbon cutting at 2 p.m. to officially open the facility. Visitors are invited to return on Saturday for tours of the home from noon to 3 p.m. The address is 37 Oak Street, Oakland.
The ministry seeks to help women ages 18 and over who are coming out of prison, dealing with addictions, behavioral problems, or just displaced. Leah’s House can accommodate 12 or 13 women, and has a full time “house mother” on duty.
“It’s a 90-day program that will provide the women with Bible-based classes and daily life skills to assist them in becoming spiritually alive, mentally sound, socially adjusted and emotionally balanced,” Moyers said.
The non-profit ministry is funded by donations and fundraisers, like a recent auction that brought in $1,800. All staff members are volunteers.
The program is free to the women.
Moyers expects one applicant to be accepted into the program as soon as it opens next week. Others are in the process of making application.
The board of directors includes Moyers, the president; Amanda Doty of Oakland, vice president; Angie Taylor of Charleston, secretary-treasurer; Cynthia Scallion of Pope, assistant treasurer; educational board members Robert and Ruth Reed of Oakland, Joey and LeAnn Williams of Batesville, and Mary Johnson of Oakland; fundraising committee members Laura Stephenson and Brenda McCoun, both of Charleston.
Leah’s House is a vision Moyers, 60, has had for 20 years, she said, explaining that she had suffered drug addiction as a teen.
“I turned my life around and I’ve always had a desire to help other women,” she said.
The residents of Leah’s House will be required to attend all classes and activities, and abide by all the house rules. They will have opportunity to complete GED’s and get help pursuing a college education or finding employment.
Board member LeAnn Williams is a psychiatric nurse and Mary Johnson is a retired teacher. Other volunteers will help with life skills training, Bible study and even arts and crafts.
“We want them to become women of influence in their homes, the work place and the nation,” Moyers said. “We believe God has great things in store for these women, a future and a hope.”
To volunteer, make a donation or apply for admission to Leah’s House, call Moyers at 662-703-9806.
By Rita Howell