Recently I had the privilege of touring several of the outreach programs sponsored by our friends at CitySquare. As stated in their media materials, “CitySquare exists to fight the root causes of poverty while partnering with those in need. Working together as a community, we feed the hungry, heal the sick, house the homeless, and renew hope in the heart of our city [Dallas and beyond]”.
COO Keith Ackerman and Development Director Shawn Wills shared some of the wonderful people and programs that make CitySquare, formerly Central Dallas Ministries, a place of hope. CitySquare’s office is housed in a 15-story downtown-Dallas building while floors 4 through 15 provide “250 units of affordable housing and 105 units of permanent supportive housing for the formerly homeless”.
The first stop: the TRAC program provides services to those between the ages of 14 and 23 transitioning out of foster care. Additionally, we stopped at their East Dallas food pantry, which distributed nearly two million pounds of food to 12,576 households in 2010; CitySquare’s food pantry receives food from North Texas Food Bank and uses Aidmatrix's AgencyExpress for their online ordering.
Next stop: The free medical clinic, staffed by four doctors, hosted over 10,000 patient visits to low-income, uninsured individuals. They have filled 4,000 medical prescriptions and provided diabetes education to 352 ‘neighbors’.
I was particularly moved by our visit to the Roseland Community located northeast of downtown Dallas. I originally learned of this community in the early 80s as Roseland Homes - essentially the Projects. Today, with the assistance of CitySquare’s commitment and many other volunteers, donors, and philanthropic organizations, it has been renewed. We made an unscheduled visit to the After-School Academy and were greeted by no less than a dozen children in the academy. Each child shook my hand, asked me my name, and told me his or hers, looking directly into my eyes.
Two hours of CitySquare’s people and programs - reaching beyond Dallas to Ft. Worth and Austin - have left a lasting impression.
The latter part of April, the Aidmatrix Programs team will join with diabetes patients in a gardening project; and we anticipate more opportunities to partner with CitySquare in the near future.
Charlotte Medley, Office Manager
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