Another Way, Inc., which operates a shelter and life skills center for victims of domestic violence and rape in Chiefland, has received a grant from Walmart Foundation for $60,000 to support the continuation of its Economic Empowerment Program. The non-profit agency which serves Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy and Suwannee counties had been facing an end of funding for the program by another foundation when the Walmart Foundation came through with the grant. Donna Fagan, executive director of Another Way, said the agency serves about 900 to 1,000 individuals annually and about half of them will be served by the financial independence program. The grant will also allow Another Way to offer the program at its Lake City Center and to incorporate a financial education program for children. “Another Way has been providing our economic empowerment (S.T.E.P.S.) program for approximately four years” Fagan said. “This program has been hugely successful in providing financial literacy education to women in our shelters and outreach programs. We have been able to set up a computer lab (classroom) in Chiefland with previous funding and have one staff person to provide this education in both areas. This grant from Walmart will allow us to duplicate that space in Lake City as well as hire an additional staff person to conduct the classes in Lake City.” She said the program is available to current and past clients of Another Way. The S.T.E.P.S program consists of classes in credit establishment or repair, budgeting, resume writing, interview skills, general information about renting or purchasing property, insurance, as well as computer skills that include Microsoft Word, Excel and QuickBooks. “We help them do resumes, classes on interviewing and role playing interviews,” Fagan said. “The fact that we got this funding is just amazing to us,” she said. “One of the reasons that families that are faced with abuse is financial so if we can help them get the skills, help them with staying independent and safe. “We are not just a shelter anymore, those days are over and people still think of us that way but we offer a lot of programs to help people with life skills.” She said Another Way works with “building self esteem and building financial literacy and helping them feel better about themselves and making themselves marketable in an awful job market.” The program for the children, Fagan said, will have a future benefit. “This program is also going to provide age appropriate financial training for the children so they will be in a good place by the time they are adults.” Fagan said, “Our local Walmart stores have always been supportive of Another Way but we are so excited to receive the Foundation grant which will have a huge impact. Some of the major obstacles that we see our families face in trying to find independence and safety from abuse are financially based. I am confident that a long term financial literacy program, especially starting with the children, coupled with the other programs and services offered by Another Way will go a long way in assisting individuals and families who find themselves in an abusive relationship to have the ability to live independently of that abusive relationship.” This program is available to Another Way program participants whether they require shelter or not. To obtain further information on this or any service provided by Another Way please call 1-800-500-1119 to speak to a hotline advocate. Another Way provides 70 shelter beds at its shelter facilities in Lake City and Chiefland. Outreach offices are located in Lake City, Jasper, Mayo, Cross City, Trenton and Bronson.