Resource center offers counseling, prom dresses

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published May 25, 2016

FARMINGTON — Detroit resident Jessica Billings, 39, wants to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

At Another Day Resource Center, 22512 Orchard Lake Road, Billings talked May 10 about how she came to the realization of her purpose.

“My eyes are completely open. I never thought I would be where I am at today. Through my journey, I am growing closer to God. He is opening my eyes to abused and neglected children and just loving on them and just being there (with) a smile and a hug. Feeding the homeless, mentoring children. I feel like the lessons I’ve gone through is to help others.”

Billings, who overcame a drug addiction and sought post-abortive counseling, said her life turned around two years ago when she met Cynthia Lietz, director of the nonprofit Another Day.

“I call her my mentor, (but she is) much more,” Billings said. “We are close in age, but I consider her like a mom.”

Lietz has counseled countless women from a Christian perspective. She assists them with programs and outreach on purity, abstinence, truth and health, as well as a program that assists mothers and fathers with material goods like diapers and clothing. 

The nonprofit organization, which began in 2008, is helping the community in another way, with Prom Dress with a Purpose, a program that lends gently used prom dresses to young women in need. The prom dress program is aimed to help offset the costs of prom. Until the end of June, Another Day is accepting new and gently worn prom and formal dresses of any size. On the prom dress program’s flier, Lietz quotes Proverbs 31:25: “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”   

“A scripture that goes along with what we try to instill in these girls, Lietz said.

Lietz, who used to run a crisis pregnancy center, said she felt inspired to shift gears. 

“I felt the Lord tell me, ‘I want you to do more,’” she said. “I stepped out in faith and (have) been a 501(c)(3) since 2008. Last summer, I was telling my husband I want a facility. ... Within a week, we found this one,” she said of the Orchard Lake Road building.

Now the Farmington Hills wife and mother of two adult children said she counsels mothers and goes out into Detroit to help homeless veterans and others. Most recently, she and her hockey family — who are heavily involved in Another Day — will use their ice hockey charity event, Wings on Fire, to honor a family friend who committed suicide. Her son also makes documentaries that financially assist Another Day.

Inside Another Day, Lietz sat near the dozens of poofy, frilly, bright and colorful prom dresses she hopes young women will wear to their prom. 

“We need to help these girls,” she said. 

She was originally concerned in the beginning that they would not have anything for the girls to twirl and sway in.

Lietz said the prom dress program idea began when a woman went in Another Day around Christmastime and wanted to donate two prom dresses she had.

“She said, ‘I know you’ll figure something out with them,’ and I thought, ‘We should help girls with free prom dresses,’” Lietz said.

After that, others came in with five to seven dresses at once — some of them still have the tags on them, and if they have been worn, they have only been worn once, she said.

When the prom dresses come in they are cleaned, and the girls may pick them up the day before prom; they are asked to return the dresses the day after prom.

“First, we were going to give them away, and we thought, ‘You only wear it once,’” Lietz said, adding that people can simply call up and ask for a dress. “I don’t even ask for financial statements. If you call me and say you are in need, I care.”

Picking out the dresses is by appointment only, and once a dress is selected, the wearer will have to sign a contract to borrow it and return it.

Lietz hopes to use the dresses again for homecoming in the fall and to make the program an annual thing.

The inside of Another Day resembles a flower garden, with decorative wreaths that Lietz made, flower arrangements that her mother created, sports-themed potted plant stands, white bouquet-like flowers hanging from the ceiling, and many other baubles and inspirational sayings displayed throughout the center.

“My mother is very crafty,” she said, adding that many of the items are for sale to help with the costs of the center. “I learned a lot from her; she is the definition of a Proverbs 31 woman.”

Lietz said the center is a starting point for the community.

“Our biggest need is financial donations — everything we do is free of charge.”

Lietz, who described the center as the “Gideons of Farmington,” cited Judges 7, saying that while her organization is small, it is mighty.

“I feel as though Another Day Resource Center is like Gideon … because we’re just little, but we are helping other big organizations. I see great needs,” she said. “I try to meet needs in simple and practical ways — Christ centered. One person can make a huge difference.”

Billings said that difference for her came in the form of a friend, Lietz.

“She has helped me through a lot of my deep-rooted issues, and she has really awesome advice, and no judgment,” Billings said.

For more information on the prom dresses and other programs, call (248) 469-6607 or go to www.anotherdayresource.org.