About 50 women attended the Community of Inspired Women’s first public MERGE event Tuesday at the Liberty County Performing Arts Center.
The event’s main goal was to inform women — specifically single working mothers — about resources within the community for watching children and keeping them busy during the summer.
The Community of Inspired Women started MERGE and other events in December 2012. MERGE, the group’s only monthly event, focuses on networking and discussing ways to feel inspired.
Seven community groups presented at the event: Dreams First, Liberty County 4-H, Simply Families, Inspirations Performance Studio, T.E.L.L., Exchange GTB, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Nu Omega Rho. Each group caters to children of different age groups.
Verdell Jones — a Liberty County Board of Education member, licensed minister and business owner— gave the welcoming speech and introduced the groups.
“There are seven particular groups that will be doing an elevator speech and share information about their programs. At the end, everyone will be informed and know that these people are out there and the resources are available,” Jones said. “If not to them, then maybe it can help someone they know.”
According to information provided by MERGE program coordinator Daisy Jones, within the Liberty County community, one out of three households is run by single women, and 53 percent of adults are women. Almost 20 percent of the county’s population lives at or beneath the poverty level.
Jones, who also is an employee of the Community Development Department, said the group’s programs are designed to “help women get from where they are to where they want to be.”
“This is about information, connecting people, helping people find resources and inspiring one another regardless of background, culture, ethnicity or socioeconomic status. We’ve been proving our concept by hosting events for a target audience,” Jones said. “The four components of our program are based on the vulnerabilities and issues of women in the community. So we’re coming together not to just talk about them but to also come up with solutions.”
New Hinesville resident Jana Miller said she never felt welcomed into the community until MERGE.
“My kids and I didn’t like it here. Finally, I come to this meeting, and I’m inspired,” she said. “I even plan to go to the next one. I now know of things my kids can do, too. I finally feel like I belong.”
Three other quarterly events by the group focus on different areas. “Cover Girls: Personal Power Workshop” helps women with grooming, public speaking and fashion inspiration; “Employment Enrichment Intensive” provides hands-on training in areas such as application process and interviews; and “Economic Stability” teaches women to become more economically independent.