LIMA — Wanting to help young women and new mothers in her hometown, especially those struggling, Cortesha Cowan returned to town Friday to officially open an agency to do just that.
Cowan returned to the Lima Empowerment Center at 608 W. High St., where a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Friday. The center opened in May but Friday was the grand opening ceremony. The Lima location follows the operation of a successful agency in Columbus by Cowan where she now lives.
“I was getting a lot of people reaching out to me for the past three years,” Cowan said. “Our goal is to support the community by bringing other agencies aboard.”
Coming back to Lima to open another agency for Cowan, a 1999 graduate of Lima Senior High School, was a natural choice, not just because people in Lima were asking her but there is such a need in her hometown, something she couldn’t pass up.
There are 7,000 Medicaid eligible women in Allen County who are below or near the poverty level. Only about 1,200 of those women are being served, said Jill Howard, the chief financial officer for both agencies.
“There is a huge population of young women who are not being served,” Howard said.
The agency is a one-stop shop of sorts with its primary focus being a day care center for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old. It will offer tutoring services, primarily during the school year, help teach young women life skills such as using battery cables to jump-start a car, and help young women look for jobs or get into college.
Lima Allen County Chamber of Commerce Vice President Cindy Tenwalde said bringing such an agency, which is a nonprofit, to Lima is great. There is a strong need here.
“To be able to offer affordable day care for mothers, working mothers, single mothers in the downtown area is a plus for our community,” Tenwalde said.
Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.