DEMOTTE — The Connection Center of DeMotte held their open house Sept. 20, inviting members of the community to see the progress that has been made in creating their outreach center.
The building that is used for the Connection Center has been renovated from the original Calvary Assembly of God church, which sits on the same lot. Renovations were begun in the summer of 2020, and they have been completed thanks to the efforts of the Church Mobilization program through the Assemblies of God.
During the open house, associate pastor Jeff Martin revealed the work and collaboration that had gone into establishing the center’s health, counseling, and social services offices, sharing the center’s mission of providing healing for the community’s “body, soul, and spirit.” He spoke of the hope that he and other administrators held that the center could become a place where people came because they knew they could be helped.
“The biggest stereotype we have to overcome is that this is ‘just a Calvary thing,’” said Martin. “We want people to know that this is here for the community, and we’re here to help. People get embarrassed, wondering what other people will think, but there’s no need for that. This is our ministry, and we’re here to help people.”
As a part of their ministry, the center has been holding after-school programs and providing social services since they opened their doors in January of 2021, as well as beginning to host art, dance, and exercise classes in their banquet hall.
Members of the community volunteer their time and experience to the Connection Center, providing them with the ability to offer support to the community. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, teachers volunteer at the center to provide students with tutoring in a variety of subjects, as well as homework assistance.
Counseling services are provided by Randy Schrock, a licensed mental health counselor who has worked in Jasper County for over 20 years. In the center’s social services office, Tabitha Hart serves as the case manager, providing resource referrals and navigation.
“I just walk alongside them, whatever that looks like,” said Hart. “That’s my heart. I’ve helped people work on getting government assistance and housing, as well as something as simple as working on resumes.”
With the addition of the medical services office, Desireé Samples, a board-certified nurse practitioner, has joined the center as a member of their staff. Through the clinic’s services, patients are able to receive affordable care, regardless of insurance status. These services include vaccinations, wellness checks, and acute care services.
In the upcoming years, the Connection Center hopes to further expand their outreach, planning construction for a secondary building that will house a gymnasium, conference rooms, and a cafe. This work is being planned in the hopes of providing members of the community with a safe space to learn and grow, according to organizers.
The Connection Center is located at 1317 15th St SE, DeMotte, in the Calvary Assembly of God parking lot. Appointments for any of the Connection Center services are available for online booking at their website.