Tonawanda News — “The thing that keeps (domestic violence victims) staying with their abuser — or going back — is their inability to support themselves. For those individuals who have an idea, who have been providing services or products, this is a way to develop all the tools they need to become financially independent,” Young said.
Project Fresh Start gives domestic violence survivors “an opportunity to meet experts on establishing a business and gives them the best opportunity to have the information they need to be sucessful in that start,” she added.
John O’Malley, spokesperson for Verizon Wireless, said the company started the grant program a little over two years ago, but found that some applicants had trouble providing a detailed business plan and projecting sales.
“We found many times a survivor might have a great idea for a small business and a great passion but a lot of times she might be unfamiliar” with the nuts and bolts of starting and maintaining a business, he said.
At the beginning of the year, Verizon began funding the training programs — like Project Fresh Start — at domestic violence organizations throughout the state as a precursor to applying for a grant.
“We went to work with Everywoman Opportunity Center Inc. to fund the development of their Fresh Start program that provides training and ongoing coaching,” O’Malley added. “We want to make sure the programs are viable and successful.”
Morgan said what she appreciates the most about Project Fresh Start is how flexible and open-ended it is. Workshops and programs are offered at no cost to participants and there’s no requirement to take specific classes at specific times.
“I began this process in March and I’ve taken six workshops since then and a few meetings at Buffalo State College for online marketing,” she said. “As my situation changes, so does the program ... it adapts to each individual.