TROY’s Phenix City Campus joins community effort for new transitional living facility for female veterans

Left to right: Vanda Zavala, Deputy Attorney General Beverly Gerbhardt, Angel Walker of the Macon-Russell Community Action and Dr. Dionne Rosser-Mims.

Left to right: Vanda Zavala, Deputy Attorney General Beverly Gerbhardt, Angel Walker of the Macon-Russell Community Action and Dr. Dionne Rosser-Mims.

Troy University’s Phenix City Campus has joined Mother Mary Mission and other community agencies and organizations in the effort to open a new transitional living facility for female veterans in Phenix City.

The ribbon was cut on the new Women Veterans Transitional Living Facility in Phenix City on Dec. 16. Located at the Mother Mary Mission on Seale Road, the facility has been in the works for more than two years.

Mother Mary Mission has a deep-rooted history in Phenix City, serving as the Catholic School in that area for over 50 years. With the school and convent being closed for some time and collecting dust, it was one of the school’s alumni Coach Frank Brown’s dream to see the property revived and used as a beacon of hope and healing in the community. Forming the Mother Mary Mission nonprofit, they began achieving this vision by remodeling and opening the gymnasium to host basketball camps and tournaments. “The vision is to have a community hub that is a one-stop shop,” stated the Missions CEO.

The Mission has now partnered with Troy University, Phenix City Housing Authority, Macon-Russell Community Action Agency, Feeding the Valley, Chattahoochee Valley Community College, Miracles of Faith, SOMA Foundations, Westrock, United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley, and the Russell County Veterans Association to bring this great vision into fruition. After two years, the convent has now been completely remodeled into a beautiful Transitional Living Facility for female veterans. With over 10 bedrooms, each has been decorated to accommodate a veteran and her children, if needed. The facility also offers amenities such as a large kitchen, laundry room, an interior courtyard with a garden, a library, a computer room, a chapel, and a large entertainment/living room sponsored by the Troy University Phenix City Campus. 

This facility will not just be a home for the veterans, but a safe place that will give them the tools they will need to thrive in the world. This six- to nine-month program will offer comprehensive case management services, job trainings, financial literacy training, educational support, health and well-being services, and much more. Residents will also receive digital devices with five free years of internet services. The Mission is set to begin receiving applications by March 2023.  

“I cannot express enough the need for this living space for our homeless female veterans. This is a wonderful opportunity to ensure that the women who volunteered to protect this country are provided a safe place to thrive and become a productive part of this community,” said Vanda Zavala, Coordinator of Student and Business Development at the Phenix City Campus. “Also, for those who have children, this is an opportunity to raise their children in a safe and carefree environment.”

Zavala has witnessed firsthand the challenges these women face as she served 10 years active duty in the Army followed by 11 years in the Army Reserve. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Mission. 

Dr. Dionne Rosser-Mims, Vice Chancellor of the Phenix City Campus, spoke alongside other community leaders at the ribbon-cutting ceremony and is helping to lead the charge for getting individuals to volunteer their time and talents at the Mission.

Dr. Rosser-Mims, herself the daughter of two Air Force veterans (her father served 20 years and her mother served 5), played a vital role is the facility’s creation. She is passionate about making sure everything possible is done to help the individuals who come through the missions’ doors.