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  • Administrator 7:20 am on December 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Congo, , Refugees and Immigrants,   

    YWCA’s Community Program Services 

    YWCA’s programs have been restructured. All previous community programs have been combined under on umbrella now, and are known as: Community Program Services.  Workers are referred to as case managers rather than advocates, as they were formerly known.

    About YWCA: YWCA assists those who have come out of domestic violence situations. Also, they provide counseling to children who have witnessed domestic violence, and help them to get on with their lives.  They are also meeting with refugees, including some recent arrivals from Congo.  They offer ESL and other programs.

    Update share by Kelsey Cottrell, YWCA/HHH at December 2, 2011 agencies luncheon.

  • Administrator 2:48 am on February 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: home ownership assistance, , Refugees and Immigrants   

    PCC Program Helps Newly Resettled Refugees Who Want to Buy a Home 

    One innovative way PCC serves our community is through the Individual Development Account Program. This program is for refugees who have resettled in the area within the past three years, and want to buy a home. Qualifying individuals who are employed are eligible for matching grants which will go into a savings account whose funds are targeted for downpayments, closing costs, etc. In some cases, a portion of the savings can go toward secondary education costs or buying a car, both of which help with employability.

    Update shared at January 2011 Agency Meeting
    Trish Feightner, Fort Wayne manager of Pathway Community Connections

  • godsbooklover 12:08 pm on October 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , Refugees and Immigrants, , , ,   

    Minutes for Monthly Social Service Agency Luncheon, September 24, 2010 

    his social service agency networking/information sharing meeting, hosted by Inasmuch Ministry, takes place on the last Friday of each month, January through October, and the first Friday in December, at Broadway Christian Church, 910 BroadwayLunch is provided and there is no cost to attend.  (Thanks to ladies from  Broadway  for providing the delicious food today!) Please feel free to invite others whom you think would benefit from these hour-long, casual and informative luncheon meetings.

    Debbie Schmidt from Catholic Charities will be next month’s speaker on Friday, October 29, 2010.

    Speaker: Tim Smith, Salvation Army (SAFortWayne.org)

    2901 N. Clinton Street

    Tim first gave us a brief history of the Salvation Army’s founding by William Booth in London in 1860. Many people, he said, are not aware that the Salvation Army is actually a Christian church denomination with its own worship and doctrinal statement. Booth, a Methodist, had a desire to serve the London poor, who were often either not welcome or not comfortable in conventional churches. He opened a store-front church and mission, and used military terminology which is still employed today (e.g., church members are “soldiers,” and staff members have rank such as Captain or Major, based on seniority and level of responsibility).

    The Salvation Army, which is active in 110 countries (18,000 centers, including hospitals and schools), has had a presence in Fort Wayne since 1886. There are two distinct components to the Army’s work here. The more familiar one, to many people, is the Thrift Stores, where donated items are sold in order to fund the Adult Rehabilitation Program. This no-cost residential program is for men battling drug and alcohol addiction, and lasts up to six months.

    Tim is a part of the other component, the Corps Office, which is the social service wing of the Army. Located at 2901 N. Clinton, they offer various forms of year-round financial assistance, as well as seasonal programs.


    1) On Tuesday mornings, clients may come without an appointment to ask for help through the CURF (City Utilities Relief Fund) program, which is administered by the Salvation Army, which takes and processed applications on behalf of City Utilities. Applicants must have a current denial letter from the Township, and they can receive up to $150 toward their bill once in any six month period.

    2) On Monday mornings at 9:00 AM, prospective clients may call to make an appointment for assistance with rent. (Assistance with gas and electric bills has been suspended at this time due to lack of funds, but they hope to restart it soon.) Any help with rent or utilities can be given only once every 12 months.

    3) Bus passes are also given out, three all-day passes at a time, to be used for medical or employment purposes. They will be given up to three times, at three-week intervals, after which no more may be given for three months.

    4) A food pantry is open Tuesday and Thursday from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. (The food comes mainly from Community Harvest Food Bank and Associated Churches. Some items are purchased.) The first 30 families are assisted. A family received about a bag and a half of mostly non-perisable food, and can come back once every three months. Family income must be under 160% of the poverty guidelines, and a photo ID must be presented that gives an Allen County address. The Salvation Army provides information on how to apply for the Food Stamp program.

    All of this is highly volunteer driven, including internships and folks from IMPACT.

    SEASONAL PROGRAMS: (1,600 families were served last year. Due to an increasing need for services, the Salvation Army will now serve a family five years in a row, and then no more.)

    1) Tools for Schools–School supplies are collected through area stores and businesses.  1,714 children were served this year, receiving a backpack, pens, pencils, paper, folders, etc. Monetary donations given to Tools for School go toward purchase of whatever supply is lacking among items donated.

    2) Christmas Assistance–(elec. copy on website…link to it)

    This is a partnership between Marine Corps Reserves’ Toys for Tots and Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program (not the same as Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree) to provide toys and clothes for children through age 14. They will be taking applications on October 12 – 15, and 19 – 22, at 2901 N. Clinton Street, on the following schedule:

    Tuesdays, last name A – F; Wednesdays, G – M; Thursdays, N – R, and Fridays, S – Z. (The 18th is for anyone requiring translation assistance.)

    3) Youth Center After School Program, 3:00 to 6:00 pm, Monday thru Friday during the school year. Volunteers, college students, etc. offer tutoring/homework help, games, crafts and snacks. Free

    4) Summer Daycare, 8:30 am – 3:00 pm. $55 a week. $65 if the child stays until 5:00 pm.


    Emergency Disaster Services. Give aid to survivors, help recovery workers. All Salvation Army workers take an eight-hour class in disaster assistance.

    Adult Rehab Center. Alex Velasquez is in charge… a men-only drug and alcohol residential six- month program (or longer if needed). It includes job skills training–certifications can be earned (forklift, etc). Recidivism rate is down here, noticeably. Free. The Thrift Stores fund this program.

    Clothing Assistance. Limited. They take some referrals from other social service agencies. Client gets a voucher and the agency is billed for whatever clothing is selected.


    ComeTogetherFW.com is a new website which should be up and running by December 1st. Non-profits come together and share information. Share resources, communicate, ask questions.

    Celebrate the kick-off of Money Smart Week with a free event happening next Thursday, October 14 from 7:30 AM to 1:00 PM at the City-County Building.  The Money Fair will offer many activities, presentations and information booths and displays on how to be money smart, including:
    –How to Save Money
    –Stretching Your Dollar
    –Budgeting and Saving
    –Improving Your Money Management Skills
    –Getting a Bank Account
    –Getting Help Applying for Unemployment and Food Stamp Benefits.


    Loretta Inman of Unto Others let us know that during the second week in October (Tuesday through Saturday) they will celebrate Customer Appreciation Week at the Unto Others Thrift Shop, by offering a complimentary brown bag lunch to each shopper.

    Lisa Smith of Arbor/IMPACT says they are still collecting plastic bags, yarn and fabric.

    The Mental Health Association would like to provide Christmas gifts for institutionalized mentally-ill or developmentally disabled people. The community can choose to adopt one or more. Contact Jane Dawkins for more details (jdawkins@mhaac.com).

    Ken Yahne of AIM Services, Inc. joined us for the first time. AIM is a 501(c)(3) corporation “created for the purpose of fostering human dignity through experiencing the value of work.”  AIM currently concentrates on providing good-quality, reliable cars at extremely low prices  to those who are marginally employed and can’t otherwise afford reliable transportation.  Many of the working poor haven’t got good credit and too often the “buy here/pay here” lots sell cars at high interest rates with limited or no warranty.  AIM “accepts donated cars, spends what is necessary to repair  to the point of being safe and reliable, and sells them to the target audience at a “private party sale” price, or less (typically  under $1,500.00).  If you have a vehicle to donate, please contact Ken at kyahne4468@frontier.com.

    Eldon Claasen. International House. Tuesdays from 1:00 to 3:00 pm they host a refugee club for women. They also provide tutoring in English in families’ homes.  For more information on programs for refugees, click here.

    Inasmuch‘ Christmas program sign-up will be November 9, 11, 16, 18. The first 100 (one hundred) families will be served.

    Lauren Nichols noted that all for One productions‘ season opener,  An Inspector Calls, should appeal to those who are passionate about social justice. It will be performed in the theater at the downtown Allen County Public Library October 1st through 10th. Click on the link  for more information.

    Sue Walstra,  MD, of Clinica Madre de Dios, gave us a hand-out with the updated hours and services, as follows:  Located in the lower level of St.Patrick Parish’s School at 2120 S. Harrison St., the volunteers have provided primary care alongside Dr. J. Carlos Espinosa, Medical Director, since April 14, 2009.  Clinica’s hours are:

    Walk-ins Tuesday 8:00 – 11:00 AM

    Diabetic Clinic 4:00 – 8:00 PM the first Tuesday of each month

    GYN Clinic 5:00 – 7:30PM the second Thursday of each month utilizing the Indiana BCCP Program BP/Cardiac Clinic will be staffed by Dr. Mark O’ Shaughnessy monthly as needed with the date and
    time to be determined.

    All specialty clinics are by appointment by calling 260-420-1433.  Clinica’s dream is to not be needed because everyone has affordable health care. Clinica’s most pressing needs are ongoing funding and more MDs, DOs, NPs and support staff to expand our hours to serve more people.

    The clinic will be having a Fall Fundraising Festival on Saturday, October 23, 2010, from 2:00 to 10:00 pm.  There will be music, food, arts and crafts for sale, kiddie games, PLUS Clinica tours with free blood pressure/height/weigth/BMI checks.  Tickets are $4.00 at the door.

    Wayne Township Trustees. Healthy Cities Health Fair and Veterans’ Stand Down includes a winter coat drive.

    Vincent House clarified that they use the same worksheet as Section 8 (30% of adjusted gross, or at least $150) for determining amount of rent charged to its residents. The residents pay their own utilities. About three houses are available right now.

    Cassie, Mollie, Becky–YWCA October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. “Flowers in the River” (the second annual event took place on Thursday, September 30)  is a way for survivors of domestic violence to commemorate those who have been helped by YWCA services last year, and symbolizes hope and a new path for their lives. YWCA’s office is at 1610 Spy Run Avenue.

    Debbie Smith–Homeless Task Force. would appreciate it if all applicable agencies would fill out the survey she has passed out a couple of times, so that they can better link their clients and volunteers to other appropriate organizations.

  • godsbooklover 1:50 pm on August 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , Refugees and Immigrants, , , , ,   

    Minutes from Social Service Agency Luncheon on August 27, 2010 

    This social service agency networking/information sharing meeting, hosted by Inasmuch Ministry, takes place on the last Friday of each month, January through October, and the first Friday in December, at Broadway Christian Church, 910 BroadwayLunch is provided and there is no cost to attend.  (Thanks to ladies from  Broadway and The Chapel for providing the delicious food today!) Please feel free to invite others whom you think would benefit from these hour-long, casual and informative luncheon meetings.

    Next month’s meeting will be  Friday, September 24, 2010 at noon. Our speaker will be Tim Smith of the Salvation Army

    There was no speaker this month. Here are all the attendees, with any updates they provided in our round-table discussion time:

    Alyn Biddle, Inasmuch Ministry: Update on the Edge: We’re still learning all the difficulties of renovating an old building. The elevator installation alone is both costly and fraught with red tape. On the plus side, we have enough funds to do about half of the needed work right now. We still need to raise about $200,000. When the Edge is finished, Inasmuch will be able to serve up to 72 clients at one time (we are quite full now when half that many show up). We have a new brochure available now which details the project. We’re aiming for moving in by June of 2011.   Click here to read our August newsletter.

    Lauren Nichols, Inasmuch Friday secretary and Artistic Director of all for One productions, inc. 2010-2011 season ready to launch. Three of the four plays this season deal with social issues with relevance to our community. Click on the link for more information about professional-quality, thought-provoking, values-rich entertainment at terrifically discounted prices ($40 season ticket for adults!! That’s a 33% savings over at-the-door prices).

    Sue Ringle, Veterans Affairs. Reminded us of the upcoming Veterans’ Stand-Down on October 22, 2010.

    From the Veterans Affairs website: “Stand Downs are one part of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ efforts to provide services to homeless veterans.  Stand Downs are typically one to three day events providing services to homeless Veterans such as food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits counseling, and referrals to a variety of other necessary services, such as housing, employment and substance abuse treatment.  Stand Downs are collaborative events, coordinated between local VAs, other government agencies, and community agencies who serve the homeless.

    The first Stand Down was organized in 1988 by a group of Vietnam Veterans in San Diego.  Since then, Stand Downs have been used as an effective tool in reaching out to homeless Veterans, reaching more than 200,000 Veterans and their family members between 1994-2000.”

    Plans are being made to hold walk-in hours for homeless veterans on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. This program is still pending. At the moment, veterans can go to the 5th floor of the VA hospital for social services; homeless vets can go there to make an appointment for assistance, if no one is available to help them at that time.

    Pat Arnold, Catholic Charities. They are networking with all priests/parishes in the diocese and with all the townships, to avoid duplication of efforts in services, and to provide fuller services to the community.

    Sharon Gerig, Fort Wayne Rescue Mission–Sharon is now the Shelter Supervisor, in addition to her work with the younger homeless men. The Shelter has been overrun recently, with huge nightly populations. The short-term program for those seriously looking for work and a place to live has 26 men in it. Beyond that, many men this month are sleeping on mattresses in the chapel some nights…which usually only happens in the winter. They are also seeing more men with mental illness, which they are not equipped to handle. They refer to Parkview Behavioral Health, but often the men are assessed and sent back. Budget cuts in the news lately will affect the Mission.

    In other news, Charis House—the women’s shelter’s new facility–is now open, and is already full to its 76 bed capacity. Unfortunately, there is often no shelter for single women, since beds are first given to mothers with children. Charis House is regularly serving up to 130 people for breakfast/lunch, and from 175 to 240 for dinner. The old Charis House building is being repaired to sell.

    For more information about the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission, including their upcoming golf outing, click here.

    Jamie Martin, Vincent Village, Inc. There are openings in the after-shelter programs (a few houses are available). Renovation is beginning on the downstairs of their main facility, which will affect all the residents and where meals are served. It will be a bit chaotic for awhile. After the downstairs renovations are finished, the upstairs will be done, a few rooms at a time. Vincent Village is also starting a daycare program.

    Suzanne Giant, Community Volunteer

    Lisa Smith, Arbor Education &Training, IMPACT. They are still collecting plastic bags to be crocheted into homeless mats; now they’re collecting yarn again for the hats/scarves program. Everything is going well. Contact Lisa at lisaasmith@arboret.com if you have material to donate, or a project for their trainees to complete.

    Chris Maciejewski, Unto Others They need more volunteers in order to add hours of operation.  Contact director7@frontier.com to find out about volunteering with Unto Others.

    Cassie Haugli, YWCA. She is part of the Steps to Success program, working with Mollie

    Mollie Cripe, YWCA, mentioned that they have a Burmese advocate at the YWCA. They hold ESL and citizenship classes for Burmese immigrants. The Y also holds diversity dialogues once a month. This is a safe place to meet in our community to freely discuss what one has observed and/or experienced, and to learn more. The schedule of topics for the rest of the year is available here.

    Debbie Smith, Homeless Taskforce. Debbie shared that she recently showed a Reading Rainbow episode on homelessness to a Sunday School class, about a penny drive. She observed that even little children can get excited about how they can help. Debbie passed out a survey for agencies to fill out, which can be mailed to a P.O. Box at the City-County Building, or emailed to Debbie or Jackie Young at hope4homeless.fw@gmail.com. If you didn’t receive an agency survey, please contact that email to receive one.

    Debbie also passed out flyers for an important upcoming event: “link up”..Monday, September 13 from 10 AM to noon in the Omni Conference Room at the Fort Wayne City-County Building. This is a networking and connecting even for any agency that deals with homelessness in any way. Revisions to the ten-year plan to end homelessness will be reviewed. For more information contact Dr. Mary Etheart at etheart.hope.house@frontier.com OR Debbie Smith at hope4homeless.fw@gmail.com.

    Martha Casselman, Love in Deed Sharehouse. Everyone is invited to the OPEN HOUSE on Friday, September 10, from 4:00 to 7:00 PM, to tour their new larger facility on Bluffton Road in the former Clark & Mitchell building.

    On a weekly basis, Sharehouse fills bulk orders of paper products, cleaning supplies, etc. at a 19 cents/lb. processing fee. Payment to Sharehouse is by check or money order ONLY. They do not accept cash or credit card.

    In addition to regular weekly bulk orders, Sharehouse gets occasional shipments of goods on a one-time basis. (For example, right now they have a large number of bicycles.) To make these goods available, Sharehouse holds a “U-Pick” day, something like a flea market. The next one will be on Wednesday, September 15th. Representatives from non-profit groups can come and choose goods for their ministry or for their clients.

    Martha would like to see much more consistent volunteering by partner organizations Sharehouse requires organizations to volunteer three hours in order to either a) receive a bulk order, or b) attend a U-Pick. That requirement could increase depending on volume of product purchased.

    God has been blessing Sharehouse with many more goods ever since they have moved to their larger space. For example, a retail store recently donated new baby furniture which had been on display, and couldn’t be resold because someone had thrown away the boxes and paperwork. Sharehouse will put disclaimers on each item (e.g., bouncy seats, bassinets, strollers, etc.). Sharehouse goods do not ever have a warranty on them.

    Andrew Hoffman, Neighborlink Fort Wayne. Innovative, web-based organization which captures the needs of clients from other organizations on one comprehensive list. Such needs as home repairs, auto repair, lawn maintenance, snow removal, etc. are listed, and then personally selected by volunteers who complete the projects–255 of which have been done already this year. Andrew mentioned the ongoing relationships which often develop between volunteers and clients as one of the most positive side benefits of the organization. A group of 15-20 retired men now get together 1-2 days per week to work on neighborlink projects. Volunteers choose directly what project to handle. This is an excellent resource for clients whose needs fall outside the parameters of social service agencies’ ability to help. Keep Neighborlink in mind when dealing with client homeowners who are physically or financially unable to do needed work on their homes.

    Laura Pflueger, Healthier Moms and Babies. This organization serves pregnant women throughout their pregnancy and up to the baby’s 1st birthday. Expectant moms should sign up before their 30th week of pregnancy. Services include one home visit per month. The program has openings now, but with school starting, they anticipate being full again soon, as area nurses refer pregnant high school students.

    **EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY: Laura herself is going on maternity leave this fall. She is looking for a temporary replacement, someone with social work background to work 30 hours per week/October through January. Experience in maternity counseling would also be helpful. If you or someone you know is interested, have them send a resume to: SEdington@fwmep.edu

    Marilynn Hormann , Community volunteer.

    Katie Elsass, Adams Township. They have experienced a decrease in traffic this summer. Katie expressed frustration regarding people who have received bad information about the Township. (This results in false assumptions about the Township’s willingness to help in specific situations.) If you’re not sure what services the Towship provides, please ask.

    They are required to abide by state statutes, which provide standards/guidelines for what services they are allowed to cover. Primary needs are food, shelter, clothing and medical. If the client has used available money to pay non-primary expenses, it is possible that the Township will have to deny assistance for a period of time.

    Please note: Adams Township gives out bus passes for job search, and also has in house computer job search programs.

    Debra Freeman, Adams Township. East Allen County Resource Center is seeking Board Members. There is a fund drive coming for a new playground (the Maplecrest extension project cut into the old one.)

    Tim Smith. Salvation Army. 1,712 kids were served through the backpack program last week. Most ever! Their Christmas program will be discussed next month.

    Laurisa Roper, CANI

  • Administrator 6:18 pm on February 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Refugees and Immigrants,   

    Love Community Center: Hours and Activities 

    Love Community Center
    Wallace Butts, director

    Hours: Mon-Weds 10am-8pm / Thurs 10am-7pm

    Fitness center hours:  5-8pm Mon-Weds, and 5-7 Thurs.
    Aerobics classes on Monday and Wednesday free to public.

    Career development programs available to help people in need get resumes built or transfer skills to a new job.
    GED preparation is available but requires weekly time commitments.
    Computer classes
    are also offered.
    Adult literacy and remediation
    is offered for adults wanting to go back to college.
    Reading Horizons program is helpful for adults who speak English as their secondary language. Clients have been able to make fast progress with this progress because of its audio and visual format.

    Contact Love Church, 422-8961, for more information. Update from Wallace Butts

  • Administrator 5:41 pm on January 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , health department, , lead, Refugees and Immigrants   

    Health Department Focuses on Lead Poisoning Prevention Education for Children 

    the Health Department has been focusing in on lead poisoning prevention.  Burmese children seem to have high incidence of lead poisoning.  Information is available in Burmese and English. (The Health Department provides free lead testing for children.) Update from Amy Hesting.

  • Administrator 9:38 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Refugees and Immigrants   

    Preparing Refugees for Higher Education 

    The Heritage Mission School is proud to have its first Ethiopian student graduating and looking at colleges. Update from Annette Mains

  • Administrator 9:23 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: All Nations Friends Center, , Refugees and Immigrants,   

    Programs for "All Nations" 

    Regular ongoing programs at All Nations Friends Center include:
    After school tutoring Monday through Thursday at 8 different sites.
    Summer activities include a week at Camp Lutherhaven. Update from Karen Blank

  • Administrator 9:21 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , League for the Blind, Refugees and Immigrants,   

    All Nations Friends Center Christmas Party 

    SW Lutheran Church and others are holding a Christmas Party Dec. 14th at the League for the Blind, 5821 S. Anthony Blvd.  All are invited.  Former refugees from Africa and Asia will be special guest speakers. Update from Karen Blank

  • Administrator 3:07 am on November 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Refugees and Immigrants   

    Heritage Mission: Boarding for Disadvantaged Children 

    Heritage Mission School provides boarding for disadvantage kids and is boarding many Ethiopian refugees.

    The school has an excellent children’s choir.

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