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JUST ADD HOPE: Hope Harbor Home

READ MORE: JUST ADD HOPE: Hope Harbor Home
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- Hope Harbor Home is a domestic violence shelter in Brunswick County. It's helped thousands of women and children escape the pain and fear of physical and mental abuse. Because of the nature of the women's and children's situation, no clients could be recorded for this story.

"Assault on a female is one of the most cowardly things going," volunteer Terence Connelly said. "If I can come here and help out at hope harbor and relieve the advocates so that they can do their interviews rather than have to answer the phones here."

Connelly has been answering phones at Hope Harbor Home for four years. He and other volunteers are the first voice abused women and men hear when they call for help.

Jo Ann Mathews is on the Hope Harbor Board of Directors, but she volunteered for years before that. She worked as a court advocate for some of the clients and said that experience opened her eyes.

"It really made me aware of how many women are in a desperate situation, a domestic violence situation, and how they really need help and how you can help them overcome the fear and get used to what it's like going into the courtroom," Mathews says.

Mathews's main focus now is getting the word out about Hope Harbor and the thrift stores the charity runs as its main source of income. Volunteers mainly work in the four thrift stores throughout Brunswick County.

There are also opportunities to provide transportation to medical appointments and court dates, to help in crisis situations and to be a court advocate who gives moral and legal support to the battered women.

Executive Director Lynn Carlson says many of the women who are abused as adults grew up in abusive households.

"It's all they've ever seen," Carlson said. "We have the opportunity when they come to us to help them envision a life in which there are healthy relationships which don't involve verbal or emotional or physical violence."

Carlson says volunteer hours are a driving force behind the organization. She says empathy and a non-judgmental attitude are key in helping the clients.

"It changed my life," Mathews said "I can't say that I changed the women's. I tried to help them, and that's what you aim to do. Yes, it's a very gratifying situation to think, 'You know, these people do have a place.' Women have to understand they have a place they can come for help. They can't be so desperate that they stay in the situation. There is some place that will help them, and hope harbor home is that place."

"No, it's not just a woman's job," Connelly said. "it's a human being's job to come and help out in whatever way you can."

Hope Harbor Home adds hope by providing a safe haven for women and children going through the storms of life.

The Hope Chest thrift stores are in Leland, Bolivia, Holden Beach and Oak Island.

If you're interested in becoming a volunteer or you're in a domestic violence situation and need help, call (910) 754-5726 or visit ttp://www.HopeHarborHome.org.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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the truth about hope harbor

i could tell a lot of things but the thing that this place does is locks women and children inside their place in supply.they force the women to file 50b papers in exchange for their release,well is what they did to my wife last year,the lady behind all of it is Donna.their were constant threats made to my wife from hope harbor,they are supposed to help people not destroy them,i will bring this story out further to the public in the very near future as it details a lot more high up names and illegal judicial involvement.

Bad Place

This shelter is a joke! My friend had to go there with her 3 children and all they do is make rules and chores. They might take them to the court house if they are lucky, but the girl I know that is there doesnt even have clothes and she has been in there for 3 weeks and still doesnt have clothes! And how many thrift stores do they have???? THREE! Another one of the young girls that was there when she came there said that she had been there for two months and that they did NOTHING for her and she said she would take her little girl out on the streets before she would be a prisoner! I used to believe in these people and give to their shelter but all the people that run it do is sat on their buts and watch TV!! The state or somebody needs to check into this organization, my friends Mom has had to run back and forth to go get her daughter to take to store and she is disabled and now has no money for gas bc she has had to run from Wilmington to Shallotte back and forth!! This friend has three children that need medical visits bc they have been abused and they havent even had these children evluated, they had some lady come in and tell the girl how she needs to be organized!! Im really upset about the way this girl and her three young children have been treated!! PLEASE HELP