Steepletown is grateful that a lease has been signed and we are moving down the street to 827/829 Bridge Street NW, just a block west of St. James Catholic Church. This new location is centrally located in the heart of the West Side where Steepletown has its roots and has gained recognition as a trusted community-based organization. But more than an organization, Steepletown is a community who understands that we are here to love and serve one another. Seven years ago Pope Francis wrote an apostolic exhortation called The Joy of the Gospel; he writes: “An evangelizing community goes out to others, seeks those who have fallen away, stands at the crossroads and welcomes the outcast. Such a community has an endless desire to show mercy.” (paragraph24)
Steepletown plans to be unpacked and settled into the new space by July 1st. Besides allowing Steepletown to continue its primary efforts in providing workforce development training for those hardest to employ young adults, Steepletown’s new space is appreciated for many additional reasons:
- A very visible storefront that is double the size of Steepletown’s current GED lab will welcome adult learners of all ages seeking to complete their high school credential. This space will also be shared with Sparta Adult Education who is able to offer a high school equivalency degree through the more traditional method of credit completion. The hours that these services are offered to the community will now be expanded to include more evenings and Saturdays.
- An interior room is being set up as a Pearson Vue Testing Center. This is a significant addition to what Steepletown offers in that there are very few sites in Kent County for persons to take the official GED test as well as a variety of state accredited tests for licensing purposes. This is a valuable resource to have centrally located in Grand Rapids. Steepletown is grateful to Jubilee Jobs for their confidence in us to take over a very successful testing center which they have operated for many years (see the public announcement written by Marcia Osborne, the Executive Director of Jubilee Jobs).
- Attached to the back of the building is a garage that will serve as a “3-season porch” for the JobStart participants. What is ideal about this space is that it is only a 20 second walk to a five-stall garage where the trailers and equipment will be stored which the JobStart participants use to provide year-round lawncare and snow removal services for Senior clients. It is great that the crew leaders will no longer have to drive back and forth to get equipment as is currently the practice.
Finally our heartfelt gratitude to all those who have supported Steepletown over the years. This begins with the many members of the Steepletown Parishes who have embraced the above message of Pope Francis and more importantly understand the teachings of Jesus. Their spirit of generosity and service is the foundation of Steepletown. There are also several community partners who share the vision and work to create a more just and equitable community-thanks! Later this summer Steepletown will be hosting a community open house and all are welcome; more information to follow.