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DUNLAP, Tenn. - The former Family Dollar on Rankin Avenue will soon reopen as Serenity Pointe's new thrift shop, salvage store and counseling center.

Debbie and Gerald Morrison started Serenity Pointe about two years ago as a safe house for battered women and children. But Mrs. Morrison said it was too hard to have a secret home for them in the area.

Now she helps women and children find places outside of Dunlap, and the safe house is used for people who are homeless or just getting out of jail.

Marla Brumit is one of the people Serenity Pointe has helped. She began taking its classes while she was incarcerated. Now she is living at the home and transitioning into real life again.

"I'm part of a program that will help me go from years of incarceration to being able to handle society as a whole person," Ms. Brumit said.

Taking parenting classes and learning life skills such as cooking and laundry have helped Ms. Brumit's relationship with her 14-year-old daughter, she said.

"It's been a life-changing experience," she said.

The Morrisons said they developed the counseling center and programs to give people help with real needs they saw every day.

Meeting many people who were abused and homeless, they started seeing a common thread, Mrs. Morrison said - addiction.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Name: Serenity Pointe

Specialty: Thrift, salvage and counseling center

Grand opening: Jan. 28

Address: 15507 Rankin Ave., Dunlap

Contact: 423-949-7068, serenitypointe.org

HOW TO HELP

To support Serenity Pointe's work, send donations to P.O. Box 1929, Dunlap, TN 37327

"Let's go to the root, addiction. Let's heal them from within," she said. And healing can help the whole family, she said, remembering working with a mother who had four small children.

"If the mama don't change, then the four babies don't have a prayer," she said.

The center will have a counselor once a week for private and group sessions. A training room will be set up for classes aimed at recovery, financial education and overcoming co-dependency.

The Morrisons have supported Serenity Pointe with everything from weekly yard sales to "Angel for the Day" programs, where supporters give $29 to help one person with food and shelter for 24 hours. Everything they have from computers to electronics to signs has been donated to them by people in the community.

The new location will just expand those efforts, Mrs. Morrison said.

"This is not an effort that we had happen. It's an effort that God and this community made happen," she said.

Corrina Sisk-Casson is located in Dunlap. Contact her at corrinacasson1@aol.com.

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