By Lindsay Ward

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A brand new center that opened up earlier this year is making a difference. At the Light of Life, women and their children who are at the lowest point in their lives are given a chance to start over.

Many are feeling lost, broken or alone. Not knowing where or who to turn to, the pain from abuse and homelessness can be overwhelming.

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It’s something Lisa Coleman sees often.

“We had a woman that we interviewed yesterday. She wanted to sleep. She just wanted to sleep,” said Lisa Coleman, the shelter and day center supervisor.

Lisa works within the Light of Life’s new Women’s Center, which opened up a few months ago. They can house up to 18 women and their children.

“We accommodate with the amount of kids. And we don’t put a single woman in with a mother with kids,” said Coleman.

She says they can take care of everything: clothing, food, transportation, even finding a job. More importantly, women can get clean and healthy here. That’s through their shelter-plus.

“That program is before you transition out of the shelter — is 6 months. So they’ll be on the unit for six months, but they’ll be going to treatment from here,” said Coleman.

In the Light of Life, there’s a room called the Women’s Outreach Center. It’s on the first floor. This was done on purpose to make sure it’s separate from the men. It’s where women can eat dinner, use a computer or shower.

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“I’m grateful that I’m in a position that I can do something,” said Lisa.

Patience and a lot of understanding are needed, and Lisa learned that when she graduated from the program 27 years ago.

She battled a serious drug addiction.

“I didn’t know how to be a mother. I didn’t know what to do with my kids. I didn’t even want to touch them. I didn’t want them to touch me,” said Coleman.

There wasn’t a center at the time, but with the program, she got healthy and learned to love again. Lisa also remained with the Light of Life by volunteering before she took a leadership position.

Lindsay Ward: “Lisa, when women come into this room, what do you want them to know, how do you want them to feel?”
Lisa: “At home.”

It’s something so many women don’t have, but want. And for Lisa, when they get it and are back on their feet, the feeling is amazing.

“That is so great! Because pain shared is pain lessened,” said Lisa.

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It’s a lesson we all could use, as many of us work through our own challenges in life.