Editor's note: Jonetta’s last name has been changed to protect her privacy.
COVINGTON, Ga. - 4Sarah, a faith-based nonprofit located in Conyers, has changed the life of a former Newton County prostitute.
In 2017, Jonetta Smith was on the way to see a client when she was robbed on the street. She called the police to report the crime, and when the Newton County Sheriff's Office arrived, she was arrested and charged with prostitution. She had been arrested two times by NCSO before finding the path out of the industry.
"I was doing it to take care of me and my baby," Smith said.
Smith had found a way out of the prostitute industry through 4Sarah.
4Sarah helped Smith by providing her with resources and a mentor. She was also given a scholarship, offered quarterly by 4Sarah, to help her get through college.
Smith has since graduated from college with an associate's degree in information technology.
"They [4Sarah] are angels," Smith said.
Kasey McClure founded 4Sarah in 2005 with the mission to empower change in the life of women and girls working in the sex industry.
Not a stranger to the industry, McClure began work as a stripper in Atlanta at the age of 18, and she continued to work in the industry for the following six years. She walked away from the lifestyle in 2003 when she found the support she needed through her church and husband, but it was not an easy change in her life. She struggled financially and almost fell back into the industry.
McClure became pregnant with her daughter, Sarah, and it was her pregnancy that kept her away from the industry. It was her pregnancy that also led her to create 4Sarah.
"I did not want to expose her to that lifestyle," McClure said. "I wanted to be a better mom, a better person, for her."
Sayuri Smith-Timmons, 4Sarah care team coordinator, was once in the same position as the women and girls she now helps. She previously worked in a strip club before reaching out to 4Sarah for help. 4Sarah gave her the help she needed to get away from the industry.
Smith-Timmons was a two-time recipient of the 4Sarah educational scholarship, and she has since published a bible guide for exploited women.
"Just reaching out to a program isn't going to change them, they have to want a different life," Smith-Timmons said.
4Sarah offers an assessment house, a short term living environment, to pregnant women and women with children. The nonprofit also offers intervention programs to connect exploited women and girls with a system of care.
For more information about 4Sarah, visit http://4sarah.net or email 4SarahInc@bellsouth.net.
Editor’s note: A correction has been made to this story to change the former job title of Sayuri Smith-Timmons. The Covington News sincerely apologizes for this error.