The Rev. Stanley Maneikis remembers telling his wife that they came to the Promised Land when the two moved to Fort Worth in 1967.
He was reminded of that conversation when gathering with community, faith and civic leaders in East Lancaster Oct. 12 to celebrate the opening of the Community Outreach Center, a new building from Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County.
The center, which opened October 2023, is aimed to help unemployed and underemployed citizens by providing job and life skills training classes as a pathway to help people obtain long-term employment and economic security.
About Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County and its new center
Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County was founded in 1888 and is a Christian organization and ministry focused on addressing the needs of people experiencing homelessness.
The organization opened the 27,260-square-foot, two-story training facility in October 2023 and plans to help 200 people by the end of 2024. The $13 million building includes a fulfillment center warehouse, donation center to provide household items and clothing to those in need.
Industrial fridges, washing machines and tables of computers and safety gear were spread around the facility to show the different types of vocational training and certifications people can earn through a program that the center plans to introduce this winter.
The L.A.U.N.C.H program (Leading Advancement Uniting Neighborhoods & Communities Through Hope) will provide job training such as installing scenarios of HVAC systems, lawn irrigation, fire systems and OSHA Safety Training Certifications.
The program will be available first to those who receive help from Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County, followed by clients of other organizations and then general residents in Fort Worth.
Daley Miller, development director for the Community Outreach Center, said the facility will also provide life skills training such as how to budget, invest money and do taxes, she said.
“It’s not just, ‘Let’s get you a job certification and get you the job.’ It’s ‘How do we make you a rising person and remove all barriers to get you to be successful,’” Miller said.
Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker was the keynote speaker for the event. She thanked Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County and other organizations focused on helping the homeless population in Fort Worth.
She also addressed family members of the late Carl R. Brumley, a chairman of Union Gospel Mission for almost 30 years.
“The way a city should be measured by success is how you care for your most vulnerable,” Parker said. “We’re imperfect and we still have work to do. But I choose to be inspired by people like Carl Brumley and his entire family to continue to make Fort Worth the most beautiful place to raise a family and build a business and have success.”
Marissa Greene is a Report for America corps member, covering faith for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter @marissaygreene.
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