Community effort helping community center with renovation project

Volunteers work to fix up a community space Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Volunteers have been hard at work for weeks, trying to transform a rundown community center into one that will serve people in a way it never has before.

Circle Up Indy, a group focused on promoting peace while helping others, is leading the charge on the project. But it’s about to get a big boost in achieving that goal.

If hard work truly pays off, James Wilson feels he’s got a worthy investment.

“Probably about a good three weeks straight,” he said describing how long he’s been getting the Hope Christian Community Center for its renovation. “This facility does a lot of great work in the community and nobody knows about them, they get zero to no help.”

Recently, it’s been a different story. Volunteers of all ages, including 11-year-old Gage Steele, have been cleaning and stripping the place down. “I’m feeling good,” Steele said with a smile. “A little bit sweaty, but I’m feeling really great.”

“It’s been literally a good 15 of us working and building this facility, breaking the facility down and getting it ready,” said Wilson.

It’s ready for a clean slate and a fresh start.

“This is a prime area in our community that needs some assistance,” said Rob Hovermale, youth pastor at New Beginnings Church and found of Mission 28:19 Indy. Hovermale helped organize some of the young volunteers.

Soon the community will get the assistance he mentioned inside the Hope Christian Community Center.

With the help of the Lowe’s Heroes Community Project, rooms that look bare now will be dressed up with furniture and electronics. Lowes will donate the tools as well as provide workers to teach volunteers how to put everything together. One room will be converted into a conference center. “They’re going to build a multi-purpose media center in here so they held conference meetings, job interviews [and] professional development,” Wilson said as he stood in the room.

Down the hall you’ll find a food pantry and clothing rack to help families in need. One door down, a multi-purpose space with a computer lab will be designed for students. “We want to encourage them to be creative so they’re going to let them come down here with open space and be creative,” said Wilson. “It doesn’t look like much now, but it will. We have faith on that.”

Wilson said the project’s goal is to give the community a place to get educated, empowered and employed.

“True opportunity, true results,” Wilson said of what they’re planning to see. “We’re not looking for another number, another dollar, we’re looking to change lives,” Wilson said. “It’s not what I hope, it’s what I know it’s going to bring. And I’m going to work hard to make sure it happens.”

“Five years from now I would like to see some students that first started coming here in the next couple of weeks coming back to give back,” added Hovermale. “Coming back to say ‘look, I’m a plumber now, look I’m an electrician now and it’s all because of what you guys taught me on that day that Lowes came in, took over, and cleaned this building up to help us in this community’.”

Lowe’s will help with the build Friday, Oct. 23rd. Click here for more information or to volunteer. The center is located at 1970 N. Caroline Avenue, Indianapolis IN.

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