Wesley House expands into satellite location in Philadelphia

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 8:03 PM CDT
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PHILADELPHIA, Miss. (WTOK) - The Wesley House has been serving victims of child abuse and sexual assault for years throughout East Mississippi.

Executive Director, David Schultz said they saw an increase in need in Neshoba counties leading to the decision to expand to the area.

“We already have trauma-trained therapists, that’s a unique niche. We have multi-disciplinary team individuals, that’s a unique calling. We have family advocates, another unique calling, and by being able to bring them here as well to be able to serve out of both locations we’re able to better serve the people of Neshoba County and surroundings,” said Schultz.

Assistant Executive Director Brandy Rae said roughly 30% to 40% of their services for child abuse and sexual assault have come from Neshoba or Newton County clients.

“It’s often a burden for families to travel. It’s also sometimes difficult for law enforcement or child protective services to get to meridian for forensic interviews. So we really wanted to make things easier for the victims and the families that we serve by having an office here we knew we could not only increase their access to forensic interviews but for therapy and they could much more easily access and finish trauma therapy which is so important for them to reach their journey for wholeness and healing,” said Rae.

The Wesley House hosted an open house Thursday to show the community the environment and services they are striving to provide.

“We want everyone to see that this is their child advocacy center and their sexual assault crisis center and we want the community to feel an ownership and an investment in it in themselves. So we feel like you can’t do that if you can’t see it. So we want them to come, see it, meet the staff, and really feel at home themselves so they can help us as we help the community,” said Rae.

The Wesley House is a non-profit organization and they received a grant through the office of interpersonal violence that allowed them to open the doors in this new location. Rae said although they have already started serving clients for therapy they still are in need of donations to sustain their mission.

“We have a goal of $40,000 just to purchase the forensic interview equipment that we need and then for like paint, and we need furniture for some of the rooms and things like that so overall to completely finish we need around $80,000. But we’re going to take baby steps and get the most important things first and we’ll just grow as we can,” said Rae.

To help with those funds the Wesley House is hosting its second annual ‘Heroes of Hope’ Fundraising Gala at the MSU Riley Center on April 14 at 6:30 p.m.