So, now you have a better idea of what’s available tangibly at the resource center. You can visually get a cup of coffee downstairs, hang out a little, check out some local artwork, listen to a little music, wander upstairs, and see better what’s inside. We’ve looked at the interior… now, let’s look at what the resource center offers.
First off, I think it’s easy to think that this will be a place that will offer emergency services. So, let’s clear up any misconceptions early on. The purpose of the resource center is not to provide emergency services (food pantry, emergency shelter services, etc). I do not feel equipped to focus my efforts on emergency services. If emergency services are needed, we will have information and contacts – real people we can connect folks to, who can intercept people with these needs.
The resource center is a “middle ground” for people. They may be in varying degrees of poverty: including the working poor – people making $7 and $8 an hour trying to survive, folks on unemployment, etc. Our focus will be to bridge the separation between the working poor… the just-making-ends-meet middle class… and the middle class. We’ve got a lot of programs and emergency services targeting homelessness and the indigent working poor – services that help people become self sufficient. Which is awesome! But, what happens next? We’ve gotten folks self sufficient, now what?
How do folks know how to make healthy choices? What do those choices look like? What is a healthy decision? Do you always know what is healthy for you? I don’t. I think many times, we think that once people are self sufficient… that’s it. That’s all they need… they’re fine now. They’re on their own. We’re on our own – you and me… we’re self sufficient.
But, it doesn’t stop there. Is it better being left alone with no guidance? I don’t like that for myself… and I don’t think that’s good for other people. So, let’s continue guiding, teaching, and empowering. Let’s continue to take an interest… and not just with the people we consider less fortunate. If you think about it, everyone at some time in their lives, go through some type or varying degrees of difficulties.
Let’s take a look at what’s being offered at the resource center…
I want to create an information hub… a place where people can access needed information, get answers to questions or be directed to a real person who can answer their questions. Information will be available related to neighborhood happenings and concerns, social justice issues that affect daily lives, and resources for job, housing, and food.
We will offer hands-on training classes (the heart of the matter) focusing on job and housing resources: GED classes, job training, how-to classes for do-it-yourselfers, the realities of homeownership and renting, and gardening. There will be a one-on-one mentoring program in place and classes to teach life skills.
Community space will be available for special speakers, non-profit organizations, churches, job networking groups, city meetings, neighborhood planning meetings, and garden groups.
There will be a reward program for using the resource center. More on this later.
Want to know more? In the next few posts, I’ll be pulling apart each one of these services in more depth.