Assistance Through Specialized Services

Everyone has been touched by a story.  A tale of the triumph of good. The turning point in a life of hardships. Some people hear the “comeback” story and become inspired. But for some individuals the story is real. These people are stuck in an endless cycle of darkness and they can’t seem to turn things around; people that feel abandoned, ignored, helpless.

Nonprofit organizations in our community create “comeback” stories every day. They strengthen our community by providing specialized services to rebuild a challenging situation into a positive future. They empower the turning point to build the “comeback”.

Nonprofit organizations help citizens of our community improve their lives starting at the root level with behavioral therapeutic services, assistance finding their place in a community, and finding and sustaining an occupation. This results in self-reliant, fully functioning members of society who can build a foundation to a future they would not otherwise achieve.

Great CircleCreating a stable mental foundation is the first step toward developing skills to handle life’s challenges. Great Circle has been serving families and children in Boone County for more than 13 years, providing intensive, 24/7 therapeutic treatment, special education and community-based services. The organization is an excellent resource for families and youth with a wide variety of behavioral health and learning challenges , helping to garner the tools and support they need to succeed in life.

“Through a community of partners, teachers and leaders,” explained Cheryl Unterschutz of Great Circle, “Great Circle gives children and families the confidence to create brighter futures.”

Erik, now 18, was born in Guatemala and placed in an orphanage at an early age. Erik and his siblings were brought to the United States by a couple who offered the hope of a new home and family. But sadly, Erik and his siblings were removed from the home due to abuse and neglect.

Although Erik was eventually adopted by loving parents, he harbored a great deal of anger from the years of neglect and abuse he had endured; it became too much for his adopted parents. Erik became a resident of Great Circle’s 24/7 Intensive Treatment Residential Program and with the support of his adoptive parents and the caring staff at Great Circle, Erik found a place where he could heal from the emotional and physical pain and find purpose and direction in his life.

Love INC of ColumbiaGreat Circle is a champion for mental health and well-being, while Love INC provides a different sort of support. “At its core,” explained Jane Williams of Love INC, “it is a network of local churches and volunteers seeking to more effectively serve our neighbors in need, regardless of their religious beliefs, by working together, addressing issues that keep people in poverty.”

Love INC avoids the “bandaid” mentality promoted by the cash assistance programs that are so costly to communities. Love INC promotes independence by fostering life skills, coaching towards meaningful relationships, and addressing underlying issues that adversely affect participants. Their programs include Clearinghouse, Life Coaching, Budget Counseling, Job Search Assistance, Living Large, and The Love Seat Furniture Ministry.

Recently a South American husband and wife enhanced their quality of life by participating in Love INC’s programs. Through the Side by Side job search coaching the husband successfully maintained a steady job; utilizing the Extra Mile money management program the family reduced their debt by an amazing $4,000 at the end of the 6 month coaching period.

Centro Latino de Salud, Educacion y CulturaBecoming a part of a new community, especially in a different country, can be daunting and overwhelming. Centro Latino is an organization adept at providing guidance and assistance to immigrants as they become acclimated to their new environment with its different laws, customs and language.

“The mission of Centro Latino,” shared Eduardo Crespi of Centro Latino, “is to empower Latinos, Latino families and the general public through an array of services and guidance in navigating the health, education and cultural resources of mid-Missouri.” One family at a time, that is how Centro Latino contributes to rebuilding the future of Latino families in our community.

Guadalupe R. came to Centro Latino because she had a toothache, which resulted in a dental infection that needed surgery. After being helped with her health needs, Guadalupe started taking English classes at Centro Latino and brought her children, who were failing in school, to the after school tutoring program. Because the family has become better at speaking English, Guadalupe was able to get a better paying job and her children are improving at school.

Central Missouri Community ActionOnce our citizens, immigrants and residents alike, feel more comfortable in their community, they are more prepared to take the next step in building their future. The Central Missouri Community Action Center’s (CMCA) mission is to empower individuals and families to achieve self-reliance by providing assistance to alleviate immediate crises and establish long term, high impact strategies that move people out of poverty.

“As of April 15, 2014, I will be moving from the place I am renting and letting go of the assistance of Section 8 housing. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for all of your help. My children and I are grateful for your assistance over the years to help us get back on our feet,” wrote one CMCA beneficiary.

Partnering with the Columbia Public Schools (Early Head Start/Head Start programs) and the Columbia Housing Authority, CMCA is rich in resources to help people help themselves, and each other. “We are all in this together,” says Pamela Beerup, of CMCA. “It is only through these collaborations that we can better serve our community.”

As people continue working toward becoming self-reliant, functioning members of society a foundation is developed, allowing for even larger life-changing steps toward rebuilding their future, like finding and maintaining employment.

Job PointSince 1965, Job Point has been linking people and jobs through innovative training, education and business partnerships, enriching the communities where we work and live.

Zach Vaughn came to Job Point as a teen parent with a legal record and no high school diploma. Zach enrolled in the YouthBuild program in October 2011, but realized he was not ready for the hard work and dedication required of the program. About a year later, he re-enrolled, fully aware of the expectations and committed to success. He graduated from the program and earned a scholarship through AmeriCorps as a result of community service in his second year at Moberly Area Community College. Zach is a solid role model for his sons (ages six and eight) and an inspiration for other YouthBuild students. Because of his exceptional personal and vocational accomplishments, Zach was honored with Job Point’s Award of Excellence.

“Job Point offers a hand up, not a handout,” explained Brenda Overkamp of Job Point. “We assist unemployed Mid-Missourians to achieve self-sufficiency.”

Rather than act as a drain on public resources, individuals achieve economic independence. Newly trained graduates enter the workforce and become productive, tax-paying citizens.

The turning points come in all shapes and sizes. These nonprofits specialize in seeking people and areas on the verge on a turning point. They offer the financial support, tutoring, shelter, sustenance or support our citizens need to build their turning point into a “comeback”. When our fellow citizens suffer the community, as a whole, suffers. Keep our community flourishing. Donate December 1-31st at

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