The F.C. Tucker Giving Circle was established to give agents and staff the opportunity to pool their donations as a group, nominate worthy local philanthropic organizations for funding and then vote on which organizations to support. For 2021 funding, 33 incredible organizations applied and agents and staff selected nine to receive a combined $81,000 in grants.
Each month, we’ll feature one of the nine organizations to learn more about the amazing work they do in our communities.
Getting to Know Dayspring Center
What population of people and geographic area does your organization serve?
Homeless families with children primarily from the Marion County area.
What is the story of your organization’s founding?
Over 34 years ago, the Old Northside neighborhood of Indy looked very different than it does today. The church that sits on the corner of 16th and Central Ave. began opening its doors at night so homeless men could sleep on the pews. The adjacent building were offices for the Episcopal Diocese, and they opened their kitchen to serve a meal to the homeless in the area. Eventually, women and children started showing up at the church for nightly shelter. Realizing their was a great need in the neighborhood, the Diocese, local foundations and the city pulled together to establish Dayspring Center, an emergency shelter for families with children.
What one thing most surprises people about your organization?
The number of families and children who are homeless in our city.
What are recipients of your services saying about your organization?
By July, the families who had to be relocated to a hotel efficiency in April due to the risk of contracting COVID at the emergency shelter, returned to Dayspring Center. One of those families was the Bridge Family. They were facing greater challenges then most. Mom, in her 30’s, suffered from chronic health problems. Fourteen-year-old, Shanice, was severely depressed and talked of suicide. Her 8-year-old brother, Jayden, was autistic and completely dependent on his mother.
In August, the decision was made to conduct e-learning classes from the Center for all school-aged children, including Jayden. Shanice, began regular counseling visits with the Shelter Case Manager.
In September, the children’s mother was able to secure part-time work. For the next several weeks, the mother did not need to miss any work knowing her children were supervised during the day. She also noticed that her daughter was talking more and their relationship was improving. On a Thursday evening in October, the family went down to dinner. As they were waiting for their food, Jayden grabbed a book from the Children’s Resource Area and brought it back to the table. It was an ABC book with animals. He began to call off the letters and name the animals associated with the letter. His mother was flabbergasted. She later told the Case Manager, “I didn’t think he was capable of learning.“
By the end of October, the mother was promoted to full-time hours, Dayspring Center helped to connect Jayden to a school that specialized in students with autism, and Shanice returned to school emotionally stronger and more excited about life than her mother had seen in awhile. On the day they exited Dayspring Center, the mother commented, “I didn’t want to come here when we lost our apartment. It hasn’t been easy. But, I am so thankful we did. This place has given us hope. Everything is going to be just fine now.”
If people want to volunteer with your organization, what is their next step?
Contact Janice Cox, Volunteer Coordinator, at (317) 635-6780 x235 or [email protected].
Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
The homeless population Dayspring Center serves are very different from the homeless population most people think of when the word “homeless” is mentioned. The families arriving at the shelter are not the “street homeless.” Less than 15% are dealing with substance abuse problems or mental illness. They are families, usually living well below the poverty line, that no matter the effort or how long they work at it, cannot seem to lift themselves out of homelessness.
The award from F.C. Tucker Giving Circle is connecting these families to the resources and support they never had before but is so essential to empowering them to overcome their homelessness. It is giving families a chance to create a new life, one that will be stable, healthier and productive.
For more information, please visit dayspringindy.org.