SonBridge Receives Murdock Grant
Recently SonBridge Community Center in College Place, Wash., was awarded a $200,000 grant by the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. This will be used to expand the SonBridge facility. The main goal of SonBridge, created in 2004, is to connect people with resources, to find gaps where there is no resource and to create programs to fill these gaps. One big need, completion of their Education Center for Better Living, will be met with this grant.
In spite of lack of space, there were 3,200 visits to educational classes during 2012. The classes range in topic from healthy choices and marriage enrichment to financial planning and more. Many small rooms are used for more than one purpose. The walls have shelves holding the supplies for two different groups to utilize the space. Other rooms are used by community groups who need an office from which to operate. The current classroom space is in use nearly every evening and afternoon.
The Education Center will alleviate the congestion and will contain additional space to hold classes and meetings, which will translate into more people being helped. The new assembly space will include a large hall with folding partitions, so it will be an expandable multipurpose space.
Having many options for meetings is important for a ministry like SonBridge because it is multifaceted and does not just fill one niche. It houses the SOS Medical Clinic, the SonBridge Dental Clinic, Blue Mountain Television, KLRF Radio, and a large thrift and gift store. They partner with the YWCA, Helpline, Children’s Home Society, Red Cross and other agencies. There are more than 18 other nonprofits that partner with SonBridge.
Eight local Adventist churches sponsor SonBridge. In addition to the ministries housed in the building, SonBridge is the Adventist Community Services building for these churches. The first phase of construction established a new wing, new parking and a more private waiting room for the medical and dental clinics. It upgraded the thrift store and doubled the parking so there is parking for both clients and shoppers. The current renovations will incorporate an emergency shelter with kitchen and showers.
The second phase will build the new Educational Center for Better Living. Through all the construction, SonBridge is debt-free, thanks in part to the thrift and gift store's income covering the operating budget.
God's leading has been seen in many ways. Thanks to many volunteers and to organizations who provide funding, SonBridge can continue to expand and fill in the gap for people of the Walla Walla Valley.