CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - It has been almost eight years since the rescue of three Cleveland women who were held captive in a home on Seymour Avenue for nearly a decade.
One of the women who grabbed onto freedom that day is now 31-year-old Gina DeJesus, who is on a mission to make a difference.
That drive is what lead to the creation of Cleveland Missing and the Cleveland Family Center for Missing Children and Adults.
Think of a family who suddenly has a child or loved one go missing, and turns to the authorities.
While investigators work the black and white details, who is there to help the family in a color filled nightmare?
“The mission of the Cleveland Family Center is to assist families through the unimaginable of having to search for a missing loved one,” according to co-founder Sylvia Colon. “We want to be a ‘soft place for families to land.’”
The Cleveland Family Center has taken a major step forward in the past year with a physical offices, completely renovated, which will soon begin operations.
The office is located in the Pivot Center on W. 25 Street and Seymour Avenue.
If that area sounds familiar, it’s because the home DeJesus was held captive in, was less than a half block from her new office.
While Colon was skeptical of having their operations located so near Seymour Avenue, DeJesus insisted as a way to not run from the past.
The Cleveland Family Center is complete with offices, a bullpen where volunteers will work feverishly on a missing person case, a family room where those impacted can get away from the chaos and an area for media interviews to help get the word out.
On Thursday Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. the Cleveland Family Center will hold a virtual fundraiser to help pay for programs that will help families in crisis.
The fundraiser will include DeJesus and her parents, testimonials from the first two families to use the center’s services as well as musical performances by OPUS 216.
The goal is to raise $10,000 through the hour long event.