But on the other end of the line is a joyless voice. A desperate person, broken by life, is reaching out for hope.
It’s a story Roth has heard many times — and never takes lightly. She does little talking as she nods her head and listens intently to the caller’s needs. She tells the caller to come in and get a voucher for clothes, a box full of food and sign up for counseling service with a faith-based counselor.
Several calls a day come in and each time Roth tells the callers to have hope and keep striving to improve their lives. She knows this first-hand. Her spirit was once broken as well, and Center for Hope helped her put the pieces back together. The mission statement for the center is to provide service to those who cannot serve themselves in the north Georgia and Chattanooga communities.
“Our goal is to furnish those individuals, families and organizations who do not have the ability to obtain adequate help, the professional tools necessary to accomplish this task,” said Shay Love, marketing volunteer with Center for Hope. “Our primary focus is a faith-based organization that will include professional and multi-educational counselors, community leaders, pastoral counselors, grief specialist…that will empower those who need direction in life’s ever changing environment.”
This goal is accomplished with donations from local businesses and individuals. More specifically, the center survives with the money raised at yearly fundraisers. The fourth annual spring banquet on March 2, at The Colonnade on Battlefield Parkway in Ringgold, will be the first fundraiser of the year for the Center for Hope. Guest speakers include coach Mark Mariakis from Ridgeland High School and CEO Roger Forgey with Hutcheson Medical Center. The evening will also include a musical performance from Michael Lee Stancil, along with a silent auction. All proceeds from the event will go to benefit the Center for Hope.
Between table sponsorships, ticket sales and donations, the Center for Hope has a goal to raise $35,000. This number is based on what the center needs to operate and continue providing quality services to the community.
“People are so broken and need help,” Roth said. “Therefore you need fundraisers.”
The Center for Hope is the largest faith-based counseling center in northwest Georgia, according to Roth. Choosing to have Christianity as the center of the ministry means it is not state-funded and relies on donations to help those in need. The highly credentialed counselors assist people of all ages with issues like grief, depression, anxiety, substance abuse and even ADHD. All the people receiving services are counseled biblically whether they accept Christianity or not, Roth said.
The center opened in its current location on the Hutcheson Medical Center campus in Fort Oglethorpe in 2009. Roth was one of the first people to be counseled and she testifies to the massive change she underwent in her life and ultimately a change of heart.
“Because of the things going on in my life I was ready to commit suicide,” Roth said with a grave expression on her face. “My father committed suicide and I figured for me not to be here would be better for everybody.”
Through the counseling services, Bible studies and community involvement, Roth began to embrace life and learned to accept and love herself.
“It’s all about finding Jesus and knowing the change He can make in your life,” Roth said. “It’s not for everybody, but even if it’s one person, then that is why we do it.”
Roth has seen the change in those who receive counseling services. When people are new to counseling they come in with hollowness in their eyes, defeat evident in their demeanor, she said. Before long these same people are transformed. They begin to smile and chat with Roth. They come in with a new haircut and new clothes, gaining the ability to embrace life with all the challenges it may bring.
“There is no hope left in their lives and then all of a sudden they start to come in with a smile,” Roth said.
There are a total of six counselors between the Center for Hope in Fort Oglethorpe and Project HOPE located off U.S. 27 in Summerville. Two children’s counselors are also available by referral.
The Ark, a thrift store in Fort Oglethorpe and another ministry of the Center for Hope, has clothing, shoes and household items for sale at reduced prices. Anyone can purchase items at the Ark, but Roth gives vouchers for people in desperate need for clothes for their children or household items for people who have been burned out of their homes. The Ark is currently accepting donations of spring clothing. The Ark is in the Battlefield Centre shopping center, two doors down from Hamrick's, across from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School.
For more information about how to get involved or donate to the Center for Hope call 706-866-0917 or email to email@example.com.