Founded in 2011, the Bridge of Grace Compassionate Ministries Center, a faith-based nonprofit organization out of Many Nations Church of the Nazarene, was created for the purpose of transforming lives through the power of Jesus. We seek to live and act compassionately and with love for the world following Christ’s own life and ministry and to be incarnations of the same gospel that Christ lived and preached.
The primary focus of all that we do is to strive to expand the horizons of people who find themselves lacking skills and support to move forward and who are overwhelmed with the circumstances of life.
To encourage confidence and self-sufficiency by empowering individuals and families through a Christ-centered approach that endeavors to meet the spiritual, academic, physical, and emotional needs of our community.
WHY ARE WE PASSIONATE ABOUT THIS MISSION AND OUR VISION?
We are passionate about this mission because we see lives being changed in our neighborhood every day. Hope of a better life and a better community is rising, as people are being empowered to make a difference. Our children’s programs and new playground are bursting at the seams with kids, and neighbors are growing together—it is clear that Mount Vernon Park is coming alive. We are excited that we have developed a model that can be replicated in other neighborhoods to transform more lives and more communities!
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength … Love your neighbor as yourself … No other commandment is greater than these” (Mark 12:30–31).
MOUNT VERNON PARK NEIGHBORHOOD DEMOGRAPHICS
HOUSEHOLD INCOME: 57.4% of the population earns $25,000 or less per year; 39% earns $25,000–$50,000
AGE: 46% of the population is under the age of 25; 13% is 25–34; 13% is 35–44
HOUSING: Approximately 90% of available homes are occupied; 58.9% are rental properties
EDUCATION: 65.9% of the population has earned a high school degree; 13% has earned a two-year degree or higher
EMPLOYMENT:40% of the population is employed; 11.8% is unemployed; 48.2% is no longer in the workforce
When we focus on the people, we can create real and lasting change by transforming lives from the inside out; people have a desire but lack confidence, resources, or hope to create real change. In order to facilitate community transformation, Bridge of Grace endeavors to create programs that foster hope, promote wellness, and grow indigenous leaders within the community.
SOCIAL ENTERPRISE PROGRAM
We recognize that social enterprise is a key element of economic diversity and community development, particularly in the inner city. The primary focus of our social enterprise program is to help break the cycle of poverty by providing training, skills, resources, and opportunities for people to earn a living wage by operating community-based support systems.
Our hope is to provide jobs, start-up finances for entrepreneurs, initial staffing resources, a location, businessplan-development support, and stakeholder connections.
We Our vision is to transform southeast Fort Wayne one neighborhood at a time. We will work with local leaders as we invest in housing to create a stable, vibrant, healthy, and caring community through neighborhood development. Part of this includes the purchase and renovation of blighted homes within the community. Along with this, we will finance families who desire to see a beautiful and safe living environment.
Our goals are to reduce rental rates in the neighborhood, increase home ownership opportunities, and develop the Mount Vernon Park neighborhood by providing higher-quality housing.
OUR PRIMARY INITIATIVES
CRIME & SAFETY
ADOPT A BLOCK // HOME SAFETY ASSESSMENTS // LIGHTING PROJECT
No one individual or agency working alone can prevent crime. It takes police and citizens working in partnership, working together to prevent crime and build safer neighborhoods. Small changes can result in huge transformations, and we must take ownership of our neighborhoods. For this reason, Bridge of Grace has three initiatives that specifically focus on crime prevention and safety within our neighborhood.
HOUSING PROGRAM // PORCH PROJECT // TIRED-A-LOT
There are many aspects to this area of our ministry. Neighborhood revitalization occurs through the renovation of blighted homes, constructing porches to promote neighborhood unity, and engaging the youth in the community to tap into their creativity and ingenuity to reactivate vacant lots in the neighborhood.
EDUCATION AND ENRICHMENT
KIDS UNDER CONSTRUCTION // PROJECT READS // HANDS ON HOMEWORK // AMP // WONDERFULLY MADE // MK5 // FIRST THINGS FIRST // JR. POLICE ACADEMY CAMP // JR. FIREFIGHTER CAMP // BRIDGE DAY CAMP
It seems as though kids are always engaged in fun programs at Bridge of Grace! We have tutoring and mentoring programs for kids ranging from first grade all the way through high school, and there are workshops to equip caregivers of preschoolers. Private music lessons are provided for anyone (even adults!), beginning at age 7. Of course, we cannot forget about our summer camps. The place comes alive with kids all day, every day, for three weeks of the summer!
FINANCIAL LITERACY CLASSES // SOCIAL ENTERPRISE PROGRAM // HEAL HEALTHY COOKING CLASSES // PARENTING CLASSES
It can be easy to miss out on developing skills and behaviors needed to effectively deal with the challenges of everyday life. We help prepare area residents for success by hosting programs that build core competencies, including the use of household tools.
BUILDING + TRANSFORMING COMMUNITY
We believe ...
...in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and its power to transform individual lives and whole communities.
…that each person possesses God-given capacity and power to affect positive change.
…that real and lasting change occurs from the inside out.
Living in an underserved community, with blighted properties and demographics we have described here, can often take a toll on the spiritual and psychological well-being of a person and, consequently, of an entire community. Vacancy, vandalism, unkempt properties, and a crumbling infrastructure not only have a depressing effect on the community, but they also convey the message that no one cares about a place or the people in it. This is why, in many underserved neighborhoods across the country, moving out has become more of a symbol of a family’s success than staying in the community is.
After conducting house-to-house listening tours and home security assessments, much progress has already been made to reduce crime, mobilize volunteers, and encourage community residents to participate in these revitalization efforts.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
As we continue to transform our community, our hope is that this information—our vision for the future of the Mount Vernon Park neighborhood—will inspire you to join with us.
We seek to engage advisers, advocates, builders, coordinators, designers, funders, researchers, educators, governments, students, and volunteers. Your God-given talents and resources can help revitalize this important part of our community and our city. We are all critical resources to the success of our vision for the people of Mount Vernon Park.
DONATE YOUR TIME & MONEY
As our organization continues to grow and add more programs, the need for new volunteers is also constantly growing.
EDUCATION & ENRICHMENT PROGRAMS
– Tutor elementary-age kids with reading and math
– Prepare and serve snacks to kids during after-school programs
– Provide biblical and values-based lessons to kids
– Assistance with room setup and cleanup
– Monthly chaperoning
– Provide private lessons in guitar, piano, and/or voice
– General administrative duties (answering phones, filing, etc.)
– Graphic-design, marketing, and bookkeeping skill sets are needed
– Home repair, landscaping, construction, etc.
– Help with teaching, supervising, and chaperoning kids
– Breakfast Buddies in the mornings
If you do not see anything on this list that applies to you, email Bridge of Grace at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask about other needs that may match your skills or interests.
CLICK ON THE MENU LINK "GIVE A HAND UP" ABOVE FOR GIVING OPTIONS