BCD Continues Legacy with EmPowerment Center
On June 17th, Better Community Development, Inc. broke ground on the EmPowerment Center, a new state-of-the-art, LEED-certified residential and substance abuse treatment facility.
The 25,000-square-foot, environmentally green complex will house men's and women's residential facilities, which will contain 30 rooms for special needs individuals, and 24 treatment beds for individuals enrolled in substance addiction treatment. The EmPowerment Center will also contain office, conference, and classroom space, and will provide life skills training, career and technology training, community programs, and other empowerment services.
"Today I am flowing over with joy," said BCD Program Director Deborah Bell. "The dirt was turned, the energy was here, the sun was shining.”
BCD Executive Director Rev. William Robinson, Jr. said, “It’s a great day and I’m just so proud of the turnout. Hopefully what has taken place here today will help us to gain the momentum we need."
For 30 years, BCD has been providing outpatient services at a multipurpose building at Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church. The EmPowerment Center will allow BCD to have a greater impact by meeting the housing needs of its clients. The center will also serve as a national model for the community and other faith-based organizations. These organizations will be able to offer practicums or research opportunities to students in seminary, pastors, laity and others who are interested in alcohol and drug treatment programs.
The EmPowerment Center is scheduled to open in August 2012.
Read more in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
State of Arkansas Supports EmPowerment Center
The Arkansas Legislature has allocated money from its General Improvement Fund to support the EmPowerment Center. Each year, legislators find capital improvement projects that have statewide significance and funnel money to those projects.
“BCD, while it’s located here in Midtown Little Rock, it impacts the entire state," said Rep. Darrin Williams, D-Little Rock. "So, Representative Fred Allen and I, we’re proud to dedicate a portion of our general improvement funds to assist in the development of the EmPowerment Center."
The amount of money has not been determined yet, but Williams said he plans to encourage other colleagues in the Legislature to allocate money toward the project.
Meanwhile, a prison reform law set to take effect in July will impact BCD and the EmPowerment Center. The new law will lessen sentences for some nonviolent offenses and expand alternative-sentencing programs like the drug treatment program offered by BCD.
"We’ve got to invest in human capital so we won’t spend so much of our tax dollars on prisons," said Williams. "We can spend our money on people so they can become taxpayers as opposed to a tax burden to our cities and states.”
ACHANGE Awards Honor Community Leaders
On June 7th, ACHANGE
held its annual Community Development Awards banquet. Steven Bradley, Sr. Deputy Director of Fannie Mae Community Business Center, was honored with the Rev. William H. Robinson Jr. Faith-Based Award.
The Community Development Awards celebrate the outstanding contributions of community leaders, development professionals and individuals in the fields of community and economic development.
ACHANGE, or the Arkansas Coalition of Housing & Neighborhood Growth for Empowerment, promotes quality, affordable housing and community economic development throughout the state of Arkansas. Learn more at www.achange.org.
Interns Experience BCD Programs
Fifteen young adults from across the country visited Little Rock for their orientation with the Young Adult Mission Summer Internship program of the General Board of Global Ministries. BCD served as their host site for practical and experiential training in mission fields. Two of the summer interns, Janee Moses of Brooklyn, New York and Jonathan Wembo of Matthew, North Carolina will remain at BCD to work with the “It’s Your Move” Summer Youth Program.
“We’re bringing lots of different experiences, all different backgrounds," said Moses. "But the one thing we all have in common is our love for God and our desire to be a help.”
The other 13 interns were deployed to sites across the U.S, and will return to Little Rock in August after completing their programs for a week of debriefing.
Shoe Drive a Success
Thank you to everyone who donated shoes to our "Soles 4 Souls" fundraiser. The mission project will net $1.50 for each pair of shoes collected, and the money will be used toward programming for disadvantaged families.
We appreciate our friends and partners who participated, and thanks to you we no longer need any shoes!