32nd Avenue Jubilee Center
The 32nd Avenue Jubilee Center undertook a special project to get to know their community. As the recipients of an Asset Based Community Development Grant, the center sought to better understand the world around them. The project was undertaken with great care, as the staff ventured into the neighborhood, talked to people, heard their concerns, discovered their interests and assets, and identified new ways to make positive impacts in the area.
In the process, they found that their local high school was facing some particular difficult challenges; 84% of students received free and reduced lunches, graduation rates were only as high as 57%, and it was ranked 299th out of 355 Colorado high schools. Realizing that there was generational poverty in the area, and understanding that much of the school population across grade levels was made up of low-income members of a large immigrant community, the Center sought to augment its existing and successful after-school program.
With these trends in mind, the Jubilee Center sought a solution that would positively address needs at the high school and elementary level. With the help of a 2014 Jubilee Impact Grant, the Center has funded a paid internship for a member of the local high school to mentor and tutor younger students. The leadership sees the benefits as four-fold: the high schooler would get real hands-on experience tutoring younger children, the children could be mentored by a member of their own community, the Center could be seen as a place in the community offering positive, real-world experience to its students, and the assets of the center and school would be joined to help strengthen relationships in the community.
By listening to their neighbors’ needs, taking all interested parties into account, and leveraging their unique talents, the 32nd Avenue Jubilee Center has created a program that can serve as a model across the church.
The Rev. Melanie Mullen
Director of Reconciliation, Justice and Creation Care