MAKE A DIFFERENCE: Families in Northwest Dayton need our help!

The Hope Center for Families was created with the mission of equipping individuals, children, and families in Northwest Dayton and the surrounding area with the resources, tools, and opportunities to achieve self-sufficiency through a four-pillar pathway approach – Education, Economic Mobility, Health & Well-Being and Community.

A number of service providers, including Dayton Children’s Hospital, Mini University, Sinclair Community College and the non-profit Omega Community Development Corporation, have come together to make the project a reality. Located on a 30-acre property in Dayton View purchased by the Omega Baptist Church in 2005, the center is marking its one-year anniversary this month.

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The overall goal is to help reduce poverty that persists from one generation to the next. Intergenerational poverty disproportionately impacts minority and poor communities facing system-wide barriers that often trap them in poverty for multiple generations.

To date, the multi-phased development has also included opening the Omega Senior Lofts, affordable senior housing. Future plans include a dedicated space for outdoor recreation, a community garden, soccer field, amphitheater, and a worship center.

“As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Omega CDC and the first year of operations for the Hope Center for Families, we revel in the community impact achieved but recognize that our ‘Journey to Hope’ has not been without its peaks and valleys,” says Vanessa Ward, president of Omega CDC. “With our celebration comes the acknowledgment that for too many residents in Northwest Dayton, their schools are failing them, neighborhoods are unsafe, housing is unaffordable, and job opportunities are too few. To these challenges, we say, “HOPE is RISING!.” The Omega CDC is committed to serving as community builders and brokers to ensure that marginalized voices are heard.”

“Over this past year, I have gone from a homeless, unemployed, single mother to a version of me I didn’t know existed anymore, and I can’t thank you enough,” says one participant who worked with the staff to create a plan for achieving self-sufficiency: “I have managed to get a job paying more than what I wanted, with better benefits than I wanted; I have my own home where my kids can be free and safe, I am still in school, and thanks to the Hope Center’s financial literacy classes, I am building my credit, budgeting, and saving for my family’s future.”

Credit: Reginald Worthen

Credit: Reginald Worthen

Another important Omega CDC project:

Each week during the school year, Omega CDC also offers a Scholars of HOPE after school program at Fairview Elementary and Edwin Joel Brown Middle Schools. “With a dedicated staff of certified teachers, part-time lead and support teachers, and volunteers, we partner with Dayton Cooks to provide a hot meal each day, and a strong academic and enrichment program,” says Ward. “Enhancements to the program, such as planned field trips, and mid-year replacement of worn uniforms, hats, scarves, gloves, coats, socks, and underwear, are not funded but are greatly needed by many of the children.”

Here’s a list of items that are needed at the Hope Center and the after-school program:

  • Diapers and wipes
  • Nonperishable food items for emergency food supplies
  • $25 - $100 gift cards (Visa, MasterCard, stores, restaurants, gas)
  • Monthly/weekly/single-use bus passes
  • Snacks (non-peanut) for the afterschool program
  • Donations for field trip transportation for afterschool programs
  • New books for students
  • New School Uniforms - all sizes
  • New hats, scarves, gloves, coats, socks and underwear
  • Gift cards for teachers
  • Breakfast for teachers or parents/caregivers

Donations can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday – Friday. You’re asked to call 937-723-8254 to drop off items at the Hope Center for Families,1816 Harvard Blvd., Dayton, OH 45406.

Other ways to help:

The Omega Community Development Corporation is hosting a “Hope Rising Gala” celebrating 25 years of service to the Dayton Community and the Hope Center for Families’ first year of operation. The dinner will be held from 6-9 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 14 at Sinclair Community College.

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Keynote speaker is Geoffrey Canada, president of the Harlem Children’s Zone which The New York Times called “one of the most ambitious social-policy experiments of our time.” The mission? To end intergenerational poverty in Central Harlem and lead the way for other long-distressed communities nationwide and worldwide to do the same.

Tickets to the fundraiser are $125 and up and must be purchased in advance: omega-cdc.org.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Meredith Moss writes about Dayton-area nonprofit organizations and their specific needs. If your group has a wish list it would like to share with our readers, contact Meredith: meredith.moss@coxinc.com.

Please include a daytime phone number and a photo that reflects your group’s mission.

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