Ginger Horne and Becky Greene's selfless commitment to creating a safe space for girls captured the attention of Cingo. We are proud to award Ginger and Becky our Circle & Shield award, the Cingo way to honor the quiet heroes in our community.
Sisters Ginger Horne and Becky Greene remember their childhood fondly. The sisters were brought up in a loving home by parents who had the desire to love and serve others, characteristics they passed down to all of their daughters.
As adults, Ginger and Becky entered professions that brought them in daily contact with young women, and some encounters were eye-opening experiences. It became increasingly clear to them that not all families provided the same level of support they were blessed with as girls.
“Our parents raised us to serve and help others,” says Ginger, a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher in Telfair County, GA. “We were raised in a good home, and we want other girls to have a safe place, too.”
That conviction led them to create The Cleft, a nonprofit home in McRae, GA, for girls ages 13-18 who need somewhere to live.
Ginger and Becky, a nurse practitioner at the Telfair County Health Department, often encountered the same girls who were in need of a stable home life. Some were living on couches or with boyfriends — all outside the orbit of a stable home.
It was particularly disheartening to help one young woman who reached out for assistance after an argument with her family, Becky says. After helping her with food, clothes and emotional support, they had to return her to a place that was not a safe, stable environment.
“That was a Saturday morning in January 2016, and we started looking for a home we could use that very day,” said Ginger. “We saw how different life is for teenagers than it was for us. We wanted to help with the normal day-to-day activities that will help them be successful adults.”
They quickly discovered a 100-year-old home in McRae that had been restored, and jumped right in to make it ready for young girls. The two women bought the home a few months later. Members of the community learned about the purpose of the home, and the support was overwhelming, says Becky.
Much of the furniture in the home is donated, including the seven beds. A jewelry store contributed a dining room set. A school principal provided appliances. One woman added computers and printers, another bought rocking chairs for the front porch. A men’s group built a ramp for the house, and youth groups did the landscaping.
“The community has been amazingly supportive,” says Becky. “When we needed something, it appeared.”
The Cleft opened in October 2016, and a house mother lives in the home. Girls in need of temporary shelter come and go, and the home also provides a safe space for girls to hang out after school. A weekly Bible study is open to all girls in the community, and a closet stays supplied with hygiene products and clothes.
Ginger and Becky continue to be mission-minded as they dream about the future of The Cleft. They plan to expand services to allow young women in the foster system to be placed in the home.
“I couldn’t imagine living somewhere without peace,” says Ginger. “That’s what we offer here.”
To learn more about The Cleft, email [email protected]
About Circle & Shield
Cingo means to surround and secure — to protect. That’s what we do. And we have a lot of respect for those who take it upon themselves to make protection a part of what they do, too. That’s why we’ve launched Circle & Shield, our award to a member of the community who helps make the world a better place, a safer place.
Click here to nominate someone for Cingo’s Circle & Shield. We'll do the rest.