Prince George’s County resident Pamela Price, 56, remembers her best friend standing in her living room, desperate for help — a victim of domestic violence.
But rather than wallowing in frustration due to her inability to offer any assistance, she decided to redirect her life, developing and founding a Christian nonprofit, now two years old, that provides assistance for domestic violence survivors — and many other services.
“The entire organization, the Life Ministry Foundation (LMF), is based on things I’ve experienced after becoming a single parent,” said Price, whose children, now 25 and 36, have since graduated from college and embarked on their own careers.
“Domestic violence is a painful experience in itself. But the pain I felt when I couldn’t do anything to help someone I loved, that was painful as well. I remember getting down on my knees, trusting in God, and waiting for answers. God gave me a vision that began a seven-year planning process. The Foundation has become my profession. Our mission is to help those in need. And I’m going to stay on this path and this walk for the rest of my life,” said Price, a former strategist and business development expert for Lockheed Martin who now resides in Germantown, Maryland.
Domestic violence has ravaged the lives of many women and children in Prince George’s County, particularly in recent years. According to a Capital News Service report, between July 2014 and June 2015, the murder rate for victims of the crime, resulted in the county have the third-highest rate in the state. Despite that high rate, many failed to report assaults, resulting in the county having the fifth-lowest of reporting domestic violence incidents in the state.
Since opening their doors two years ago, LMF has expanded its services and focus. Now, with Price and her team hard at work, they want to open a safe haven — a home — that would accommodate up to 25 families in Prince George’s County.
“The Aspiration House is my latest vision from God,” she said. “We want to provide mentors, counseling for mothers and children, a place they can feel safe and secure. Partnering with other organizations, we want to teach them about finances and other skills so they can get back into a normal pattern and way of life.”
But of course, finding such a house, either rehabbing a current edifice or constructing a new one, takes money. That’s where entertainer Sheila E. enters the picture.
On Saturday, Sept. 16 at Howard University’s Cramton Auditorium, Sheila E. will lead a star-studded evening beginning at 7 p.m. in order to help raise funds for LMF and Aspiration House. The night includes a tribute to Prince and hits from Sheila E.’s recently released album, “ICONIC Messages 4 America.”
The concert will also include Maryland’s legendary go-go band, Ayre Rayde and the Northeast Performing Arts Group.
Sheila E., sexually abused at the age of 5, says she carried shame and pain with her for many years. Music, she says, served as a powerful tool to heal her wounds. Now with her own foundation, and by helping others like LMF, she’s been able to make a real difference in the lives of others who suffer.
“Victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence need to know that what happened to them was not their fault,” she said. “That was the toughest part for me to realize. We all have to move forward and release the guilt and shame so we can be our best ‘me.’ It’s a process. But it’s possible to heal.
“The Foundation is doing some amazing work,” she added. “It’s truly commendable and I am very honored to be part of their work, their ministry and their outreach to so many in Prince George’s County and other parts of the U.S. Sometimes victims want to use the excuse that no one ever helped them. But it’s all about being willing to take one step at a time. Exposing those who hurt you, asking for help, talking about your experiences with others.”
Price says the work of the Foundation does not exist in a small box.
“What we’re doing is bigger than me — bigger than our organization. We’re not in a box because God is not in a box. We’ve had a clothes line project that allow people to hang dirty T-shirts that describe their pain. And we help whoever seeks our aid.”
“As for this benefit concert, which is part of a series of concerts, it’s being held so we can raise funds to assist women in need. We want to remind them what they used to aspire to be. We want to help redirect their thoughts, help them get back to their dreams and visions. We will announce the development of our plans for Aspiration House October 20 at an event in Morgan State University.”
For general information, call 301-769-6348 or go to www.thelmfoundation.org.