Greene County trade school and nonprofit will be led by Life Enrichment Center founder

A new trade school and nonprofit in Greene County will be led by the founder and director of the Life Enrichment Center in Dayton.

Founders of the newly formed nonprofit Emerge Recovery and Trades Initiative announced this week that Jeff Sorrell of the Life Enrichment Center in Dayton will be the executive director. The trade school and nonprofit is at 2960 W. Enon Road, which is the former site of the Greene County Career Center.

The Life Enrichment Center is a nonprofit community center that began serving underprivileged residents in Dayton in 2002, providing hot meals, clothing, education, training and other resources. Sorrell called what the Life Enrichment Center does a “holistic approach to helping people change,” and said that his new role will be that on steroids.

“This is so exciting for me. I get to be on the ground floor of something again,” Sorrell said. “This is going to impact thousands and thousands of lives in Greene County. The organization is going to be a difference maker.”

Sorrell said he is from Xenia, so returning to work in Greene County will be like coming home.

Sorrell said the transition from the Life Enrichment Center to the Emerge Commerce Center is expected to take place throughout the remainder of the year. Sorrell said he had planned to step aside at 20 years with the organization and feels it is time for “fresh ideas.”

“I’ve taken it as far as I can and I want the Life Enrichment Center to not just survive but thrive when I leave,” he said.

Kip Morris, CEO and part owner of Five Star Heating and Cooling Group, Chris Adams, who owns Narrow Path Plumbing, and Doug Van Dyke, owner of Van Martin Roofing, bought the property at an auction in March.

All three of them have strong ties to the Miami Valley area recovery communities and have spent years building their companies with the help of people in recovery. Sorrell was convicted on drug charges when he was 21, but said after that he committed his life to Christ. Sorrell said the group was drawn to him because they have similar backgrounds and a “heart” for serving the underprivileged.

“I’ve never felt like you should let your past define your future,” Sorrell said.

Morris said the group got in touch with him recently when they heard he was transitioning away from the Life Enrichment Center in the near future.

“I toured the Life Enrichment Center in 2014 and was really impressed by what he had done,” Morris said. “He’s a special individual who has an amazing ability to take a project from thought and bring it to fruition. I was impressed by him and the Lord put him on my heart. He knew Chris and when we all got together it seemed like it was meant to be.”

Sorrell will handle all the day-to-day operations of the property, which is 48-acres in size and includes several buildings, a large outdoor campus area and a four-acre scenic freshwater pond in rural Greene County.

In addition to training in plumbing, roofing and HVAC work, with real-world work experience in those respective fields, the property will have a men’s recovery center and a women’s recovery center that will include separate temporary housing on site that will include a program for adults leaving foster care.

Area businesses can join the endeavor and will be offered low-cost rent in the building discounted business services. Businesses are expected to offer paid or unpaid internships for the people completing on-site recovery.

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