(Memphis) A home is about to open in Memphis that will help former prostitutes.
It’s called the Community of St. Therese of Lisieux.
The non-profit is patterned after a successful program in Nashville that has helped dozens of women stay off the streets.
WREG agreed not to disclose exactly where the house is, but it’s in Midtown, and four women are expected to move in by June.
“I am the founder, yes,” said Sandra Ferrell.
Ferrell retired from a career in IT and is now doing work of the heart.
“It’s just wanting to help someone who has not had the opportunities that we had.”
She’s opening a house for former prostitutes, a place where they can live and build a new life for free.
“It’s two years no rent and they have their needs met and the reason we are going with that amount of time is because it takes that long to begin to heal.”
When Sandra found out seven years ago that almost all sex workers have been sexually abused as children, she decided to launch this home.
She calls it the Community of St. Therese of Lisieux, named after a saint who helped Sandra with her own battles.
“I also was sexually abused as a child.”
Sandra says she’s partnered with the Shelby County Detention Center to select women who are ready for a change.
They will get medical treatment, job skills training, and help for drug and alcohol addiction.
They will learn how to live in the home together, “So it’s going to be a lot of work to teach the things we learned growing up as children. A lot of them didn’t have anyone that cared.”
Sandra says she cares and is learning others do too.
Almost everything in the home was donated by someone who wants to see these women’s lives bloom.
“Lisieux” means little flower in French.
Sandra says the goal is to have eight or more of these houses in Memphis in the coming years but the non-profit’s going to need money to do it.
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