Southern Oklahoma nonprofit helps families in five counties

By: Christine Nicholson Email
By: Christine Nicholson Email

ARDMORE, OK -- Emergency shelter assistance, job placement services and life skills classes can make a huge difference to families in need. For this Mom's Everyday Home segment, we focus on those who are without and a southern Oklahoma nonprofit willing to help.

Helping those in need who want long-term change is only one of the objectives at The Grace Center of Southern Oklahoma. Executive Director, Lesley Dvorak says the nonprofit does more than serve as a day center for the homeless.

"Our overall mission at the Grace Center is to prevent homelessness in the community and lift people to a more self-sufficient lifestyle," said Dvorak.

Grace's Resource Center is a five-county referral program servicing Carter, Johnston, Love, Murray and Jefferson . Resource Center Director Paula Peterson says rental, utility and gasoline assistance are among the services offered.

"If we're not able to assist than we try to find other resources that are out there and available that we can help them in their situation," she said.

The facility also offers emergency shelter and partners with 20 area churches.

"Whenever people do go to churches asking for assistance, they send them here," said Peterson. "We screen them, they apply for the assistance and we verify their situation and then try to help them in the best way that we can."

With the goal of giving families "a hand up, not a handout", staff at the Grace Center of Southern Oklahoma, believe homelessness can end in our generation.

T-3 at Grace is an independent living program for teens aged 14-18 that's youth focused and youth driven. Its goal is to help teens achieve independence and successful transition to adulthood to reduce their chances of returning to poverty.

Finally, Grace offers a Day Center to uplift through education and assistance like access to phones, mailboxes and professional wardrobes. Those who apply for aid are required to attend life skills workshops like Job and Home Placement, Parenting, Money Management...even coupon classes. All are designed to empower clients to achieve higher goals.

"We're just trying to do our best to help them with more than just paying a bill and putting a Bandaid on their problem," Peterson said. "We're trying to have them better their situation."

Dates and times for classes, workshops and services vary. But if you or someone you know is in need or if you'd like to help contribute to changing lives at the Grace Center, call 580-226-2878. You can also visit them online at the website below or search "The Grace Center of Southern Oklahoma" on Facebook.

Regardless where you live, the Grace Center believes that personal change can be accomplished by addressing the problem and finding realistic solutions.

11 A St. NW
Ardmore, OK 73401
Career Workshops by appointment at 580-226-2878
Job Readiness Class: Thurs 1:30-3p
Money Management Class: Tues 6-7:30p; Wed 1:30-3p

For stories like this and more visit texoma.

*Some video provided by The Grace Center of Southern Oklahoma and Abby Powell.

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