The FC Tucker Giving Circle was created to give agents and staff the opportunity to pool their donations as a group, nominate worthy local philanthropic organizations for funding, and then vote on which organizations to support. For the 2021 funding, 33 incredible organizations applied and agents and staff selected nine to receive $81,000 in grants together.

Each month we showcase one of nine organizations to learn more about the amazing work they are doing in our communities.

Getting to know Dayspring Center

What population of people and what geographic area does your organization serve?

Homeless families with children, mostly from the Marion County area.

What is the story of the founding of your organization?

Over 34 years ago, Indy’s Old Northside neighborhood looked a lot different than it does today. The church on the corner of 16th and Central Ave. started opening its doors at night so that homeless men could sleep on the pews. The adjacent building was an office for the episcopal diocese, and they opened their kitchen to serve a meal to the homeless in the area. Eventually, women and children came to the church for overnight shelter. Realizing that there was a great need in the area, the diocese, local foundations and the city joined forces to establish Dayspring Center, an emergency shelter for families with children.

What surprises people most about your organization?

The number of families and children that are homeless in our city.

What do recipients of your services say about your organization?

In July, the families who had to be moved to a hotel efficiency in April due to the risk of contracting COVID in the emergency shelter returned to Dayspring Center. One of those families was the Bridge family. They faced greater challenges than most. Mother, in her thirties, had chronic health problems. 14-year-old Shanice was deeply depressed and talked about suicide. Her 8-year-old brother, Jayden, was autistic and completely dependent on his mother.

In August, it was decided to provide e-learning lessons from the Center for all school-age children, including Jayden. Shanice, began regular counseling visits with the Shelter Case Manager.

In September, the mother of the children was able to work part-time. For the next few weeks, the mother did not have to miss work, knowing that her children were supervised during the day. She also noticed that her daughter talked more and their relationship improved. On a Thursday evening in October, the family went to dinner. While they waited for their food, Jayden picked up a book from the Children’s Resource Area and returned it to the table. It was an ABC book with animals. He began to call out the letters and name the animals that belonged to the letter. His mother was stunned. She later told the Case Manager, “I didn’t think he was capable of learning.”

By the end of October, the mother was promoted to full-time hours, Dayspring Center helped connect Jayden to a school that specialized in students with autism, and Shanice returned to school emotionally stronger and more excited about life than her mother had seen in a while. On the day they left Dayspring Center, the mother said, “I didn’t want to come here when we lost our apartment. It hasn’t been easy. But I’m so thankful we did. This place has given us hope. Everything will be fine now.”

If people want to volunteer at your organization, what’s their next step?

Contact Janice Cox, Volunteer Coordinator, at (317) 635-6780 x235 or janice@dayspringindy.org.

Is there anything else you want readers to know?

The homeless population that Dayspring Center serves is very different from the homeless population that most people think of when the word “homeless” is mentioned. The families arriving at the shelter are not the ‘street homeless’. Less than 15% have to do with addiction problems or psychological disorders. They are families, who usually live well below the poverty line, and who, regardless of the effort or how long they work at it, can’t seem to lift themselves out of homelessness.

The FC Tucker Giving Circle award connects these families with the resources and support they never had before, but is so essential to empowering them to overcome their homelessness. It gives families the chance to build a new life, one that will be stable, healthier and more productive.

For more information, visit dayspringindy.org.

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