By Rebekah Duntz, photos by John Hilton
Tucked in the western side of Historic Titusville is an old building right next to the train tracks. It has character and a certain beauty to its painted windows. To a large number of the Titusville community, Parrish Medical Center and the North Guild of the Women’s Center, the newly renovated building represents hope.
When inside the building, the place is beautifully decorated with art and inspiring phrases line the walls. This building feels like a home — it’s safe.
In June of 2009, Yolanda Garvin arrived at work and was shot four times by her husband, who she’d had a restraining order against. This shocking event kick-started a chain reaction from the Titusville community — there was a call for action.
The Women’s Center’s presence was needed in North Brevard and in May of 2010, the organization announced the opening of a new branch in Titusville. Office space was provided by Parrish Medical Center and services were offered for free to women in need.
Another large effort was made when they were able to convert an abandoned home into the Ravindran Family Domestic Violence Safe House at Parrish Gardens, which received its first residents in March of 2012.
Now, four years later and with the help of countless volunteer hours and generous donations, the Women’s Center has opened its newly renovated building to the public. The building, located at 400 Julia Street, is much bigger than the previous office space and this allows for the Women’s Center to host many more services to women and children in need of help.
“Over the last four years, we’ve definitely grown,” said Candice Tate, the Lead Victim Advocate at the Women’s Center.
The 5,200 square foot facility was bought by Parrish Medical Center and is leased to the Women’s Center for a very low cost per year.
In addition to Parrish Medical Center, other companies donated free labor and materials for the remodel project. Loyd Contracting contributed just over $21,000 in remodeling to the Women’s Center, Home Depot donated hardwood flooring and John Marmon’s Flooring laid it for free. Town & Country Painting pressure washed and painted the exterior of the entire building, and Sharon James Design remodeled and planned the interior for free.
Thanks to generous and determined helping hands, the total cost avoidance for the remodeling project was over $30,000.
Everything on the inside of the building was donated from various sources.
“We are blessed,” said Sharon James, Fund Development Director for the Women’s Center.
Now that the Women’s Center has a larger facility in North Brevard, they can expand their services to include even more. This will incorporate workshops like self-defense and financial planning. Advocates work on providing help every step of the way during recovery, from counseling to emotional support during the legal process. So far, the Titusville Women’s Center has served over 2,000 clients.
On May 31, the grand opening event called Jazz, Jeans, and Jewels was ultimately a celebration of hope for the community. Tours were given of the building, hors d’oeuvres were served and money was raised for services. Because of the Women’s Center, many women and children can leave behind their painful pasts and move forward to a better, safer life.
The main goal is to give women and children a life of self-sufficiency and safety. The Women’s Center is dedicated to changing lives for the better, forever.
Titusville Women’s Center: (321) 607-6811
Melbourne Women’s Center: (321) 242-3110