A new organization is setting out to help victims of sexual abuse and trauma in the Tracy community find healing through a faith-based program.
Marcia Kirk, a member of Good Shepherd Community Church, 306 W. Eaton Ave., created the Ruby Project Foundation, a nonprofit set to open in December that will help adults who have lived through abuse.
Kirk, who said she experienced sexual abuse and other forms of child abuse from the time she was 4 years old, looked for a faith-based healing program for abuse survivors in Tracy but didn’t find one.
“After searching for my own healing and connecting with organizations in the Bay Area, which is where I’m from, I made a commitment to stand up an organization where survivors of sexual abuse, child abuse, domestic abuse and human trafficking can go to for therapy, healing arts and biblical counseling at no cost,” Kirk said.
The foundation has been two years in the making and will operate from a building belonging to Good Shepherd Community Church, where Kirk’s husband is a pastor. It will officially open Dec. 6 with a ribbon cutting by the Tracy Chamber of Commerce.
“We wanted to make sure we had the right tools, the right people in the right places, and now we’re ready to launch,” Kirk said.
Her plan is to provide counseling, no-cost workshops, case management and art therapy with a biblical perspective. Drawing on her background in information technology, she intends to offer some workshops and group counseling online for people unable to attend in person.
She has recruited two counselors so far and a group of volunteers. The foundation will also partner with WorkVine 209 and UNeed2 to teach technical and job skills that can include resume writing and information technology.
Kirk said the Ruby Project Foundation has a working relationship with the countywide Women’s Center-Youth & Family Services, Manteca-based Supporting Others As They Rise and other organizations to receive referrals to the program for people in need.
An online store selling fair-trade goods is in the works to help fund the organization.
As the official opening date approaches, Kirk, who will be one of the counselors, said more help is welcome. Training is available for those who want to get involved.
“We do have a small team,” she said. “We’re always looking for volunteers and those interested in helping expand our vision and our mission.”
She stressed that the Ruby Project Foundation is not a crisis center, because many programs already offer crisis services. Instead, it is designed to help people with long-term recovery as they move forward with their lives.
“What I have found is, what happens after? And the trauma just doesn’t go away,” she said. “As a survivor, I recognize that, and we want to walk with them to help them get on their feet. Provide people and emotional management just to make sure their spiritual health and their being, they’re doing OK.”
Although the foundation has close connections to a Christian church, its resources will be offered broadly to people in the community regardless of their religious affiliations.
“We want to open the doors to everybody,” Kirk said.
She also had a message specifically for survivors of abuse: “You have a voice. Don’t be ashamed of your past. We are here. There is a group of survivors, like myself, and we want you to have a platform to know that you no longer need to be there. We are here for you to help you move forward.”