The Sulphur Community Christian Coalition, or SC3, is s 501c3 in its eighth year of service to the North Sulphur area. The coalition recently resettled its Old Community School, from D.S. Perkins into a new home in what was formerly the Cornerstone Church at 501 E. Burton St. Their motto is, “Building Community, Empowering Those in Need, and Mobilizing the Compassionate.”
Executive Director Paula Taylor told Sulphur Rotarians Wednesday that, through various programs SC3, “gives people the opportunity to earn the resources they need. It allows people to keep their dignity.”
“It’s hard to explain what we do, because it depends on need,” said Taylor. The coalition has provided services including, but not limited to, dental care for someone unable to find work due to drug-ravaged teeth, English as a second language courses, discussion groups, job training, resume writing, and most recently, the annual Uniform Exchange.
Taylor said the coalition’s focus for 2017-18 will be on their Resource Closet, a partnership with The Gathering to assist women recovering from addiction, and continuing to incubate micro-businesses employing youth from the neighborhood.
LeBlanc Middle School has given over year-round use of two pods on campus to SC3. One of them houses the Resource Closet, which is stocked with all the uniforms not claimed at the annual Uniform Exchange, as well as donated school supplies. “The uniforms are exchanged, we don’t buy them,” said Taylor. “So, it’s self-sustaining.” Items are disbursed to those in need throughout the year upon recommendations from school counselors, local ministerial fellowships, and other coalition partners. The second pod will be used to provide homework help and tutoring.
SC3 is also working with the Celebrate Recovery Team, a ministry that recently consolidated at The Gathering. The team and those they work with, eat lunch every Wednesday at the Old Community School. Taylor said a house, donated to SC3 a few years ago, is being rented to The Gathering who are housing someone from the program, a “House Mom.” to provide a point of contact for people in the community to go through intake to assess their needs. “Eventually, we hope to house more ladies there,” said Taylor.
The $100,000 Rise Up Program State Farm grant SC3 received last September to launch micro-businesses in North Sulphur is nearly at an end. But SC3 will continue to provide support from them. The program had fifteen local youth between the ages of 13 and 20. They completed a multi-phase program that provided instruction in resume writing, soft skills training to prepare them for interviews, and a job fair, where they learned about pay and required workplace behavior. Overseen by managers and student leaders, the group launched their own businesses — all within walking distance of each other along E.Burton St.
Businesses include the Fork in the Road Food Truck, which is now often located in the parking lot of The Gathering at the intersection of Hwys. 27 and 90; a media shop that produces screen-printed T-shirts on N. Huntington, across from the laundromat; a bicycle repair shop, across from the new Sulphur Police station; and coming soon, a coffee shop to operate out of the Old Community School.
Taylor said one of the City of Sulphur’s mechanics has offered to teach small engine repair and an old garage has been donated for that purpose.
The young entrepreneurs earn between $7.25 and $8.25, depending upon peer and administrator evaluations. Managers make up to $10 an hour. Some of the teens are paid hourly and some get commission.
Taylor said SC3 will be hosting a Thanksgiving Day meal, along with the Open Door Biker Church and Maplewood Baptist Church. The Old Community School has also secured permission to host a Boy Scout Troop this coming school year.
Taylor said what the coalition needs most is people able to share their time and talents with others.