Partner Highlight

Associated Churches of Fort Wayne and Allen County

Associated Churches first became acquainted with the Clinic through their mutual service. “Because we serve a diverse population, the Clinic was already doing ministry in the same places that we were,” says Roger. “We were providing emergency food relief for the food bank and the Clinic was providing intake at the same location.” This put the Legal Clinic on Associated Churches’ radar, and thus, a new relationship was borne.

A Servant’s Heart

Deeply entrenched in the community, their mission is about seeing a need and playing an active role in meeting that need. “We have always said that we want to be the kind of church that if we disappeared tomorrow that our communities would feel the loss,” says Wayland. “We believe that to get to this place, you have to roll up your sleeves and start to serve your neighbors.”

Public Safety and the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office

Serious crimes and convictions only make up 15% to 20% of the approximately 45,000 charges filed every year. Therefore, for the MCPO, protecting the public means dealing with lesser crimes in a more innovative way. “The idea is if you can address those problems of criminogenic needs then perhaps you can get them back on a straight path. You can’t just address the drug problem; you can’t just address the alcohol problem; you can’t just address the mental health needs,” Andrew says. “You’ve also got to work with different groups and agencies so that you can help them find a better place to live, get a job—which is not just a job, it’s something that’s more career oriented for them. Try to help them keep their families together.”

Southeastern Church of Christ is Changing Hearts

Many of Southeastern’s programs begin in this manner, with a member of the congregation championing a cause they care about. Preaching Minister Greg York says of this philosophy, “So much of that stuff is better if you let it grow organically than if you try to impose it from above.” He loves when parishioners become excited about a new project. “If someone has recognized a need and is willing to lay themselves down to be part of the solution, then I want to support that,” Greg says. “And Russell clearly had a passion when he came to us.”

Celebrate the Life Ahead

Recently, Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic was honored at Exodus Refugee Immigration’s Celebrate the Life Ahead gala. We were given the award for Community Partner of the Year. Elizabeth Standiford, Director of Development and Communication at Exodus, says, “[The Clinic] is a true partner in upholding human rights and you have made such a difference for refugees.”

Strong Fathers, Strong Families

One of the Center’s main programs, “Strong Fathers, Strong Families,” is a three-week intensive course where fathers are taught about parenting, child development, child support, relationships, financial literacy, job readiness, anger and conflict resolution, and communication, along with a host of other things. Dr. McLaughlin says, “We are hoping in that three weeks to really try to give them everything we can holistically to help them assess and access responsible fathering.” Many of the young men that go through the program grew up without any strong models of fatherhood and find themselves struggling to juggle the many responsibilities that being a father brings. Dr. McLaughlin says, “We realized that fathers—especially teen fathers—were not dead beat; they were dead broke.”

Shepherd Community Center: Ending the Cycle of Generational Poverty

Over the years, Shepherd’s services have evolved to match the changing needs of their neighbors and to break the cycle of generational poverty. In a video on Shepherd’s website, Executive Director Jay expresses the importance of addressing both the physical and spiritual needs of their community, saying: “To try to preach a message of hope to a kid who’s hungry will never work.” Therefore, their approach is multi-faceted. Although Jeremy stresses that Shepherd’s primary focus isn’t just socioeconomic. He says, “Poverty is about a lot more than just money, and our goal is to try to holistically help our neighbors, and we truly believe that the greatest spiritual poverty is not knowing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.”

Serving the Least of These: Grace Church

Despite its outward facing nature, the internal benefits of Grace Care Center are vast and, more importantly, intentional. Committed to transforming their church body, Grace’s service-oriented endeavors also provide its congregation with new experiences meant to help increase both ethnic and socioeconomic diversity. Keith says, “We’ve had a passion for a long time of getting our people out of the comfy confines of Hamilton County and our suburban neighborhoods and inviting them further into different places in the world where they may see a different view of God’s kingdom.”

Legacy House: On Extending Empathy

As the brother of a homicide victim, as well as the brother of a suicide victim, Michael is no stranger to the pernicious effects such tragedies can cause. “I know what it’s like to grow up in a household that has experienced trauma,” he says. When Michael was only nine, his mother received the call that her older son had been killed. She was paying bills at the time. Michael says, “Every single time that she sat down to write a check in the years that followed, she was reminded by that act of the violence that the family had experienced.”

Freedom From Fear

Christine explains, “When you’re talking about a victim, this is someone who has been broken down by someone else … When a victim comes into the shelter, you’re sort of helping them rebuild that. Rebuild their confidence so they know some of the things we take for granted, like you get up in the morning and you do what you want. The victim doesn’t know they can do that because they’ve been under the control of someone else. So I think through the services that we offer the client is able to slowly break out of that shell. Break out and be empowered again and to realize that, ‘Oh, hey, I can do this. I am worthy and I am able to do what I need to do for myself and for my family without being afraid.’”

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