"As of today, we have served fifty-two people from Rutherford County and this includes a veteran's family. " reports Que'Tonnia Surratt, Chief Executive Officer of Empowerment Center Inc.
Founded in June, 2017, the Empowerment Center was established by Que'Tonnia and her husband, Jonathon Surratt, "To house homeless youth, young adults and young adults phasing out of foster care by providing a stable living environment, with productive living, to those who had no other options... Our housing program is designed to bring stability to the population of people we serve by raising the bar and offering solutions, by partnering with other businesses who will provide job placement, education and training for employment, life skills, and referrals to other community services." said Que'Tonnia.
Located at 548 US 74 Business Hwy. in Bostic, in what many of us know as the 'Old Moose Lodge', it is the vision of the Center to empower runaway, homeless, at-risk and mentally challenged youth. The Center is a place where runaways, homeless and at-risk youth, and mentally challenged youth can come to feel safe and receive shelter, care, food, education, counseling, and the life skills needed to maintain appropriate self-esteem. They offer a wide variety of programs that will assist and motivate them to become independent, self-sufficient and marketable. According to their website, www.empowermentcenternc.com, "No youth will be turned away from our assistance and if there is a situation outside of our scope, we will reach out to other providers." The Center also provides a 24 hour emergency shelter along with it's transitional and permanent living programs.
"As a brand new program, we do not have our 501 c3 status yet, therefore, we do not qualify for any local, state or federal grants. This, however, does not stop the vision that we have for the youth in this county. Jonathan and I decided to fund the entire project by our own means of finances that we personally have and by renting out the Empowerment Center Venue. Renting this facility for special occasions such as weddings, baby showers, and birthday parties will play a major role in us doing what we do in this county." said Que'Tonnia. "We are in need of continual donations. So far, Jonathan and I and our church, Kingdom Living Ministries (where Que'Tonnia serves as Senior Pastor), family and close friends have assisted with some of our needs, but the need in the community continues to grow."
"One of the joys of doing what we do was seeing a single parent who was homeless in July meet her goals within four months. As she followed our plan her baby got caught up on her shots, her other child is now attending Early Headstart, she has a job making over fifteen dollars an hour, she got her high school diploma and now she and her children are living in their own apartment. This parent will also participate in our homeownership program in the spring." said Que'Tonnia.
On December 16th, the Empowerment Center held it's first Christmas Gala at their new location with all proceeds going towards the families they serve in Rutherford County. That, along with their 'Tree of Hope' helped the center provide Christmas assistance for families in need.
With their mission; 'The End To Youth Homelessness...The Beginning To Stability', Jonathon and Que'Tonnia aspire to be a beacon of hope for those that find themselves without a home.
If you would like to help, the Center accepts donations of food and clothing from 9am-2pm every Saturday. Monetary contributions can be mailed to Empowerment Center Inc., PO Box 93, Henrietta, NC 28076.
If you would like to offer your services, please contact us at 704-419-1673 or 704-252-3907. "It takes a lot to help with a vision such as this one, but we are sure that we will be able to help meet the needs of the people in the community with great supporters and partners in this county."