Tampa woman finds meaning in helping others out of poverty

A woman who couldn't find satisfaction in her high paying job or fancy house began helping others in Tampa Bay.

Kita Morgan and her daughter Jamila know what it's like to be at the doorstep of homelessness.

"I was literally living in my car with my daughter and me and my family and I weren't getting along," Morgan said. 

In her despair she met Julie Wood, who changed her life for the better. Wood is the founder of Just Initiative. They help find housing and provide social service programs for families in need.

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"We really want to see thriving neighborhoods that have community cultivated, suffering alleviated and poverty eradicated," Wood explained. 

Her road to help change the plight of undeserved families started when she was in her 30s. 

"After having a nice house, having more money, more position at work, whatever, all of that, it just felt like it was meaningless," Wood shared.

Kita Morgan and her daughter Jamila were living in a car at one point.

Kita Morgan and her daughter Jamila were living in a car at one point.

At 39 years old, she made a drastic decision.

"Left the suburb, left my house in the gated community, and moved into a 600 square foot house with my ten-year-old and in the middle of an area that was high poverty and high crime," she recalled. 

Her mission was to live a simpler life and live in solidarity with people in poverty. 

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"And it's completely changed my life, like just getting out of the rat race and really trying as much as I can and as much as I can figure out how to lay down my life for other people," Wood said. 

Wood feels more fulfilled by helping people in need.

Wood feels more fulfilled by helping people in need.

Julie's initiative has been a life-changing experience for Morgan. She's working and is also back in school studying to become a crime scene investigator.

"The house has mentally growed me, spiritually growed me, and has helped me basically get back up on my feet," said Morgan. "I have returned to school."

Wood said  she also has learned an important lesson. 

"It turns out to be life giving," said Wood. "When you stop trying to build your own self up, and you start building up your fellow man." 

Wood is now 52 and has helped lots of families find self-sufficiency through Just Initiative. 

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