‘She embraced me’: Nonprofit helps at-risk women learn independence

CHARLOTTE — Latisha Womack has come a long way since moving to Charlotte on her own as a teenager more than 10 years ago.

“I lost my mom when I was eight years old due to breast cancer,” she said. “And my father, he was there. But he wasn’t really there as much as I would like him to be.”

Womack said she was depressed while having adult responsibilities at a young age.

She managed to enroll at Central Piedmont Community College where her college advisor, Tracey Questell, became like family.

“We just grew a bond,” Womack said. “I call her my mom. A lot of ladies call her ‘Mom.’”

Questell said that after years of working as a counselor, she felt a calling to help young women going through tough times.

“I felt like God spoke to me and said, ‘Serve my daughters. Help my daughters.’ That women needed help,” Questell said. “And so I began to start mentoring women. That’s where it started.”

She launched a nonprofit called Healing Vine Harbor, which helps with clothing, housing and workshops to learn independent living skills and much more.

“She just embraced me, and she embraced all the other girls,” Womack said. “All the other ladies that had similar backgrounds, like me, just in trouble, in need of direction and guidance.”

Many women don’t know how to separate themselves from toxic relationships, she said.

“I learned how to break away from bad relationships,” Womack said.

She add that she learned valuable skills, such as saving money, managing a budget and preparing to find a place to live.

She credits the support with helping her go from renting rooms in other people’s houses to owning a home.

Womack said she is one semester away from graduating from nursing school.

“I just want to work with women and just do oncology,” Womack said.

She wants to work with women who have cancer because of her mother’s diagnosis.

Questell said the nonprofit is proud of the women they have served.

>>Watch Channel 9′s LIVE STREAM wherever you are, at this link

“They want to become independent and we help them to get there,” she said.

“I’ve seen people just flourish under her wings under her program,” Womack said. “So just get involved volunteer, donate, you know, and it makes a big difference. It helps ladies like us.”

If you would like more information, visit Healing Vine Harbor.

VIDEO: Habitat for Humanity uses city ordinance to help build affordable housing