KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Nearly 700 women wanting to make a difference gathered to do just that at the 8th annual Women’s Fund of East Tennessee women’s luncheon at Lakeshore Park.
\The mission of the Women’s Fund is to help every low-income woman in our region of East Tennessee and beyond to become self-sustaining.
The Women’s Fund does research and provides grant money and other support to agencies in our area that empower women and their children.
One of those places is Restoration House of East Tennessee.
It was 2012 when Restoration House opened with a splash in Knoxville, part of ABC’s “Extreme Home Makeover”
It helped fulfill the dream of Daniel and Mandy Watson, who founded Restoration House in 2005 to help struggling single moms and their kids by giving them a place to live, get one-on-one mentoring and learn life skills.
One of those young moms celebrating that day was Cortny Bean, who had just given birth to son Braxton, and almost gave him up for adoption because she didn’t know where to turn.
For Cortny, Restoration House literally restored her little family.
“I wouldn’t be living this life if it weren’t for that and the foundation of the Restoration House empowered me to do that. I didn’t have that empowerment before – that wasn’t the foundation I was brought up on,” she said.
Now, Cortny is a real estate agent and board member.
Along with community leader Susie Whitener, also co-chair of Thursday’s Women’s Fund luncheon, Restoration House benefits form the Women’s Fund.
“Cortny’s an inspiration. She completely made herself vulnerable to change. She recognized that she wanted to do more and be better, and I can’t imagine the guts that took and the perseverance she had,” Susie said.
Daniel Watson saying the Women’s Fund is affecting powerful change in many lives.
“It’s not gonna be easy and it’s not gonna be quick but the Women’s Fund is willing to dig in and we’re thankful to be invited to the table to dig in with them,” he said.
“It’s allowed me to forgive myself,” Corny said. “And grow as a person…and I love that..I think it’s great.”