Building Community Through Our Community Center

 
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Bridging For Tomorrow’s new Community Center officially opened over the summer, hosting our food pantry and one of our summer clubs. Our staff and volunteers have worked hard to create a space that brings people together and makes them feel welcome. We asked our neighbors what they would like to see in the new space. With their input and the help of our volunteer leaders, we were able to launch two new programs this fall: an ESL class and a Zumba and Nutrition class.

Not only do these programs teach valuable life skills, they are cultivating a strong sense of community among the participants. Students will arrive early to practice together and linger after class is finished to talk. We can already see the difference that these programs are making in the lives of individuals who felt like they were in crisis. One woman who recently lost her job said that the Community Center has provided her with so much. In addition to the food that she’s received through the food pantry, she is thankful for the relationships she is building here. Knowing that she isn’t alone gives her strength and hope for the future.

Evelyn Franco, our Director of Community Programs, is excited about the impact that these programs are making in people’s lives by enabling us to walk alongside families and empower them to accomplish their goals. She is inspired by the participants’ motivation to succeed and desire to give back to others. Evelyn’s hope is that the Community Center will continue to grow and one day we will be able to offer computer classes, finance classes, and support groups. With the continued partnership of our volunteers, donors, and neighbors, we’re confident that we can make this vision a reality.

 
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I have a lot more energy, feel more motivated, and have higher self-esteem. I don’t feel as depressed. I feel it’s changing my life little by little. Simply being around new people and being able to share stories of our lives, I feel helps you handle problems better.
— Monica, Zumba & Nutrition Participant