Jan 31, 2009 04:00PM, Published by Super Admin, Categories: In Print
Atchley began the ministry in response to what she identified as a community necessity at a time when there were no services for individuals in crisis beyond the Twin Lakes Food Bank. “Powerhouse was founded as a safe environment where low-income and at-risk-families could be introduced to the possibility of change, while [accessing] the resources and support necessary to make those changes,” Atchley says. Accordingly, Powerhouse does not ignore societal ills, which would be akin to ignoring its victims, who are so often children.
“[Some] children play in back alleyways and have few experiences beyond their apartment building, school, or the visiting room at the prison,” Atchley explains. “Many of these children are at great risk for becoming inmates themselves because of their circumstances. I have witnessed many single mothers who wished to get help with their drug or alcohol addiction and change their circumstances, but [lacked] support.”
Without access to resources, many individuals face homelessness, which Atchley calls “largely a hidden problem,” especially here in Folsom, a tight-knit, family-oriented community, where the thought of anyone living on the streets is difficult to fathom. But, according to Atchley, the Folsom Cordova School District estimates that there are 90 children in Folsom who fit the legal definition of homeless (not having a permanent address). Many homeless families do not generally live on the streets, but do live in cars, or travel from house to house staying with friends or other caregivers. “There is a lot of fear on the part of homeless parents that if they are found out, their children might be taken away,” Atchley explains. As such, these parents attempt to keep a low profile and do not ask for assistance.
To help eradicate this problem on a local level, Powerhouse Ministries offers a three-tiered approach to outreach. The first arm is its Drop-In Center, which provides food, medical and dental care, rental and utility assistance, and other social services. The second is Neighborhood Outreach groups that provide positive role models, facilitate support groups, offer tutoring to and orchestrate field trips for adults, teens and children. Lastly is Powerhouse Ministries’ Family Transition Center, which provides shelter, meals, an academic learning center, life skills classes and a relapse prevention recovery program.
Naturally, the economic downturn has taken its toll on the organization at a time when Drop-In-Center traffic has doubled, with many individuals seeking assistance who previously never have. While need increases, however, donations have significantly lowered. “Our biggest challenge right now is to continue to operate our programs in the midst of a struggling economy,” says Atchley, whose future plans include the construction of a new building with increased capacity for the ministry’s transition center, a comprehensive program for children of transition center residents to address their unique issues, and an expanded after-school program for neighborhood children and teens.
For involvement opportunities or how you can help, please visit powerhouseministries.wordpress.com, or call 916-983-0658.