Group that helps violent crime victims needs help of its own

Justice Coalition's fundraiser will help keep doors open but more funds needed

By Ashley Spicer - Reporter, anchor, Roxy Tyler - Web producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - An organization that’s been around for 24 years is facing some financial troubles and is doing everything it can to stay afloat.

The Justice Coalition helps victims of violent crimes through the process of grief and navigate the court system.

It held a fundraiser Saturday trying to raise enough money to keep its doors open to those in need.

One mother said she needs the help the Justice Coalition gives.

Rosie Brooks White’s daughter, Sahara Barkley, was shot and killed at a BP gas station last year. Since then, she says, the Justice Coalition has been there every step of the way.

"They offered counseling services, emotional support (and) mental support," Brooks White said. She is still going to court seeking justice for her daughter, but she is never alone.

"We have so many court dates, and go in and go in and go in and to get to court and turn the corner and to have an advocate from the Justice Coalition sitting there waiting to help you, it’s so critical," Brooks White said. "Having Jo and them there, it makes a big difference. It’s like a sense of relief."That support staff is struggling through and it was afraid it couldn’t even pay the bills this week."

That’s why it held a fundraiser in St. Augustine to bring awareness and money to keep their mission going.

"There is so much in operating costs. I mean, it is a business and without donations and community support, it’s really tough," said Robert Bracewell, with the Justice Coalition

"I’ve received text messages from victims asking, 'What are we going to do without you?' and I just tell them we are here, 'We are here for you,'" said Victim's Advocate Jo-Lee Manning.

St. Johns County is one of the eight counties the Justice Coalition serves. The group is hoping they can pull through this tough time.

The Justice Coalition raised about $13,000 to $14,000 during Saturday's fundraiser but the nonprofit will need much more money to stay afloat. 

Robert Bracewell, with the Justice Coalition, said the children of Mike Liles donated $10,000 in their dad's name. Lile's wife was victim of violent crime twice and died in the second attack.

Mike Lile's later took over as executive director of the Justice Coalition to help the group that helped him and his family through the pain and suffering of his wife's death.

After working tirelessly for the Justice Coalition, Mike Liles died of natural causes. Now his children are doing what they can to help save the organization that helped get his family through some of their darkest days.

If you missed the fundraiser but want to help the Justice Coalition, you can donate here.

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