When Brandi Moran walked through the doors of the Wheeler Mission's Center for Women and Children, she was a different person.
"I was a person who didn't know who I was. I didn't have any purpose, but what I did know was that I wanted to be a mother to my children. I wanted to be a person of integrity. I wanted to help others," she said.
Today, she does all of those things while working with other women who walk through those same doors.
She calls it her saving grace.
"I don't look at it as a job, I look at it as, 'What can I do for someone else today?'"
For 125 years, the Wheeler Mission has been a saving grace for men, women, and children in Indianapolis.
"We are thrilled to be in this community since 1893 and to see the impact that Wheeler has had on those here in the community of Indianapolis," said Rick Alvis, President and CEO of the Wheeler Mission.
The Colts have been a trusted partner since 1984.
"Since the Colts' arrival in Indianapolis 35 years ago, the Indianapolis Colts and the Irsay family have been an integral part in the life of Wheeler Mission and those we serve," Alvis said.
With 93 beds, Wheeler's Center for Women and Children offers emergency shelter and long-term programs for homeless women in Indianapolis – but it's not enough.
"Sadly, many women and children will never find help at Wheeler because all of our beds are full every night," Alvis said. "And because every bed is full, many women seek other alternatives like doubling up with family, friends, or sleeping in their car or sleeping under a bridge or in an abandoned house."
In celebration of their 125th year, the Wheeler Mission announced their Building for Change campaign in hopes of raising $1.25 million over 125 days to support the expansion of the Center for Women and Children.
The Indianapolis Colts and the Irsay family have donated $100,000 to Wheeler Mission to help expand its Center for Women & Children, the city's leader for emergency shelter and long-term programs for homeless women and women with children. The $100,000 Irsay gift is supporting Wheeler'sBuilding for Change Campaign, an effort to raise $1.25 million over 125 daysto go toward a larger campaign that will expand the center on the city's near eastside. This year marks the 125th anniversary of Wheeler'swork in Indianapolis.
On Tuesday, the Colts threw their support behind the project with a gift of $100,000.
"As we say, it takes a village to raise children and I think this is just one of the ways we can be there for the women in the community that really need us," said Kalen Jackson, Colts Owner and Vice Chair.
But they can't do it alone. Ending homelessness is going to take teamwork. Which is why the Colts brought in one of their most trusted partners.
"It's really about partnership," said John Corbin with Huntington Bank. "If the community comes together, we can solve this problem. But it will take us all."
Included in the plans for the Center for Women and Children is 164 new beds, including 30 apartments for mothers and children, which will take their capacity from 93 to 257. They also plan expansions to their childcare, dining, medical and mental health facilities, as well as increased staffing.
When the Colts came to Indianapolis, they changed the landscape of the city.
"We're proud of how big our city has become, but you can't forget about these sectors of your city and how it impacts everyone, especially those moms," Jackson said.
Thirty-five seasons later and they're still changing Indianapolis for the better.
"We want to understand. We want to try to be there. And we're going to continue to be," Jackson said. "This isn't a one-time gift. This isn't the first gift we've given at this level. And it won't be the last."
For the Irsay family, it started with football.
"Of course, we love the game of football. It's so fun," said Jackson. "But a lot of the value and beauty of that fun is that we get to be able to do wonderful things like this. That's a huge part of why we do what we do. It's not just a game, it's so much more than that."
In the end, what it's really about is people.
To support the Wheeler Mission's Building for Change program, go to:https://wheelermission.org/wheeler125/?utmsource=Wheeler125&utmmedium=wpage.