When Julia Richards was asked to pray about helping with the Marietta chapter of Helping One Woman, she did.
But, she said she wasn’t led to assist in Marietta.
“I really felt strongly that I was to start a chapter here in Cartersville,” said Richards, who is the director of the Cherokee Judicial Circuit’s Victim-Witness Assistance Office. “Even I don’t live here in Cartersville, my heart is really toward the people and the women of Cartersville. This is where I work, and this is where I’m invested in people. I want to do something in the community where I feel invested to give back.”
The group provides women with a way to get encouragement and support, which Richards said is very important.
“Just getting outside yourself and doing something together for somebody else is a really nice thing to be able to do,” she said.
Helping One Woman recognizes one woman every month who has experienced an irreplaceable loss. This week, the Cartersville group recognized its first recipient, Amy Hicks, who is raising a special needs son and is herself battling chronic veinous stasis in both legs.
“She just recently found herself to be a single mother, so she’s just really needing some encouragement right now,” Richards said.
At each meeting, the women attending give a $10 cash gift for the recipient, and all the money raised from the door prize goes to the recipient as well.
“Even though the money is nice during someone’s time of need, I think the more important thing really is the emotional support and the compassion that is shown,” Richards said.
Every woman attending the monthly meeting can nominate someone to be the next month’s recipient, and the current recipient will draw the name of the next woman to be recognized.
“People can be as involved as they want to be,” Richards said. “It’s not something that if you join you have to come every month. You can pick and choose which months you come. There are going to be a core (group) of people that are going to want to be a part of everything, then there are other women who will want to come to support the recipient, which is wonderful.”
This month, 25 women attended the Cartersville meeting, and Richards said she hopes the group will continue to grow. That’s something she thinks will happen as word continues to spread.
“I imagine it won’t be long until we’re exploding as well,” she said. “Helping one woman is not just helping one woman. It’s helping one woman, helping one community, helping a county, helping a state, and it just goes on and on from there.”