DeMOTTE— The Connection Center of DeMotte, located adjoining the Calvary Assemble of God Church at 15th Street and Orchid, has been open for awhile now but has just added some new features and plans to provide even more shortly.

The stated mission of the center is “Connecting People — Body, Sole and Spirit,” but what does that mean?

According to director Jeff Martin, the idea was to find a way to meet the needs of the community by providing services and facilities to help out.

“People have to be balanced,” said Martin, who is also an associate pastor at Calvary. “We talked about ways to meet people at their needs and help them achieve that balance; how could we become that help.”

To that end, the Connection Center opened initially with tutoring services and homework help to students from throughout the area. In addition to Kankakee Valley and DeMotte Christian youth, the facility has helped kids from Rensselaer, Kouts and Hebron.

The center continues almost weekly, to add on other services. Most recently, a non-profit medical clinic practicing family medicine and services such as physicals and wellness exams opened.

The clinic is run by family health nurse practitioner Desireé Samples, who saw her first patient in the facility on July 13.

The building that stands now, referred to as the Health and Wellness Building is but Phase I of the plans. In addition to the medical clinic and tutoring, it is open for counseling services, social services, physical fitness classes and as a banquet hall and catering center. In fact, shortly after COVID-19 hit the area and schools went to e-learning, it was the Connection Center that partnered with the Kankakee Valley School Corporation to find a way to provide lunches to kids and families that had depended on school lunches previously.

Phase II of the Connection Center, which Martin hopes to get started on shortly, is planned to have a recreation center, a cafe, a commercial kitchen, a rehab facility, including an elevated walking/running track, and child care services. The building is being planned to be able to host youth and sports camps, fitness classes such as Zumba and Silver Sneakers for senior citizens, and also provide conference and meeting rooms. They will also be working with Phil’s Friends to provide support for cancer patients.

The second phase was already scheduled to be well underway if not completed but suppliers pulled their contracts as the cost of building materials soared, necessitating a pause in the progress.

The labor will again be provided by the group called Mission America which consists of volunteers that travel together in their recreational vehicles to volunteer their time and building expertise to churches around the country.

Martin stressed that while the facilities are located at Calvary Church, it is a community-based endeavor and no membership in the church, or even attendance at the church, is required to use the facilities.

“We want to help build the Kingdom of God and we also want this to help people help themselves and now we have a start on the facilities to do just that,” said Martin. “The greatest thing has been watching the community come together to help. This is run on volunteers and donations and we can always use more of each.”

To volunteer, donate or just find out more information, go to www.demotteconnection.com or call 219-987-4280.

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