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New Buckner facility focuses on helping families in poverty

By Special to the News-Journal
May 31, 2012 at 11 p.m.

Buckner Children and Family Services plans to expand its Longview area services with a new focus on helping local families living in poverty transform their lives.

Buckner's new Community Transformation Center held an open house Thursday to show off the facility at 110 E. Cotton St., according to Michelle Heflin, director.

"The official opening of the CTC is a natural progression of our vision for the community as a whole," Heflin said. "There are many great agencies in Longview and surrounding counties that are prepared to address the life challenges that families are experiencing."

She said the center will improve the lives of individuals and families experiencing the crisis of poverty by providing a holistic approach to ministry. Families will work with an assigned case manager to identify their needs and develop a family-centered transformation plan, which may include support and referrals to secure financial, emotional, mental, spiritual or physical resources.

"It will be our job to help identify their current strengths and connect them with resources in order to build security as a family," Heflin said.

The center is built around core Buckner community programs and will be developing alliances with other community agencies to expand services. It is also starting several new programs, including a "Jobs for Life" program and parent education opportunities, she said.

"When you are in the middle of a crisis, it is sometimes hard to realize the strengths that exist within your family," Heflin said. "By building off of the strengths that already exist within the family, instead of focusing on the downfalls, we are able to offer a redemptive message to families experiencing a crisis, job loss or homelessness."

Buckner has served children and families in Longview since 1992, providing foster care and adoption services, humanitarian aid distribution at the Mission Center and the STARS After-school Program.

Buckner serves more than 450,000 people each year in the United States and 18 countries worldwide.



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