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S.O.S. needs match funds for grant

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

(Photo)
Serving on the Streets (S.O.S.) is seeking community support in obtaining matching funds as part of its Community Focus Fund Grant application, which would allow the organization to refurbish the former Brazil Junior High School into a community center. Times Staff File Photo. [Order this photo]
Citing an extreme need in the community, members of Serving on the Streets (S.O.S.) met with members of the public Wednesday, giving greater detail of their plans for a proposed community center.

"For us at S.O.S., it's giving (children) hope," organization director Jenni Chamberlain told the audience at The Renaissance Reception and Conference Center, 101 W. National Ave., Brazil.

S.O.S. purchased the former Brazil Junior High School for $15,000 in June. The plan is to refurbish the building and turn it into a community center that would also house S.O.S.

"It seems like a crazy idea that we bought a school," Chamberlain said.

On Wednesday, Chamberlain said S.O.S. would begin pursuing a grant in February to help with repair costs.

However, the grant they will pursue, a Community Focus Fund Grant, is a matching grant. She said the organization would have to match funds to receive a grant.

A local bank has told S.O.S. it would be able to receive a monetary note. However, Chamberlain said the organization would rather make the repairs without owing additional money.

"(The building) needs so much work, but has so much potential," Chamberlain said.

She said while Clay County has a YMCA, that facility is unable to help all the underprivileged children in the area by itself.

"The reason we need a community center is (those children) need a place to hang out," Chamberlain said. "It's our job to take care of these kids. I just know each one of these lives can be different."

She added many children have utilized S.O.S. in recent years, giving them reason for a bigger facility. Currently, the organization is based at 100 N. Forest Ave., Brazil.

During the presentation, Indianapolis-based Brenner Design associate Rick Rush provided the audience with a rendering of what the community center might look like.

He said his company traveled to Brazil and spoke with families who utilize S.O.S. and asked them what they wanted.

"We want it to be for everyone," Rush said. "We're hoping to meet the needs of S.O.S. and the families."

Rush added the building is in "fantastic shape."

"It was very well built," he said.

On Wednesday, Chamberlain said she hopes by building the community center, county residents would see the building in a new light, pointing out past problems associated with the location.

"This is our community," Chamberlain said. "We're going in there to do a good thing. We want to put a new face on that place.

"I know we can do this together."

Prior to taking questions from members of the audience, S.O.S. provided a video detailing its purpose -- spreading the "Word of God," to help break the cycle of poverty and more -- as well as touching on the poverty problem associated with Clay County.


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Jennifer, you are truly a George Bailey of Brazil. So many lives touched for the better. Stayed focused, set back and see what God has in mind. Wow!

I've known you since 1st grade. You've really come out of your shell.

Merry Christmas!

-- Posted by Opinion1 on Thu, Dec 16, 2010, at 8:34 AM

This is a great thing for this community. Keep up the good work.

-- Posted by jddriver4960 on Thu, Dec 16, 2010, at 5:46 PM


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