News

Reasons to Celebrate! 2016 Year in Review

Article and photos by Urban Alliance staff. 

Urban Alliance's five initiatives (Beyond the Basics, Charis, Revitalize, Next Generation and Thrive) are platforms for hope, help, and positive transformation in the lives of our neighbors, friends and community members.
 
Through our initiatives, UA provides leadership and support to coordinate, enhance and expand the efforts of churches and ministry organizations who are working to help people, holistically address needs, and create lasting change in our local communities.
 
What did this look like in 2016?
 
Beyond the Basics
Beyond the Basics is an Urban Alliance initiative to help churches and ministry organizations reach and serve people who are lacking food, clothing or housing, so they meet their basic needs and gain greater stability in their lives.
 
In 2016, 20 churches and ministry organizations that provide food, clothing, warm meals, and housing to help people meet their basic needs and gain greater stability in their lives were offered capacity-building support from Urban Alliance through Beyond the Basics.
 
3 Beyond the Basics meetings, hosted by UA, created a space for these churches and ministry organizations to build relationships, offer feedback, and receive beneficial information about available resources and evidence-based practices to help strengthen their basic needs programs.
 
A two-day training series facilitated by UA was provided to 17 people (from 7 churches and ministry organizations who learned how to offer case management services and motivate clients to make positive changes in their lives, achieve their personal goals, and attain greater life stability.
 
Two Beyond the Basics trainings facilitated by UA equipped 15 people from 11 churches and ministry organizations with the tools and skills needed to operate a community resource table and connect people to additional support and resources.
 
Monthly reflective supervision meeting were facilitated by UA to provide support and learning opportunities for 12 people who provide case management services at 6 churches and ministry organizations that participate in Beyond the Basics.
 
Urban Alliance developed a new tool, The Hartford Area Resource Guide, to help churches and ministry organizations that participate in Beyond the Basics learn about available community programs and services and connect those they serve to needed resources.
 
$30,000 in Urban Alliance grant funding was awarded to churches and ministry organizations that are developing, expanding and improving the quality of the case management services they offer by participating in Beyond the Basics.
 
Urban Alliance matched volunteers who contributed 1,181 hours of service at churches and ministry organizations who participate in Beyond the Basics.
 
Charis
Charis is an Urban Alliance initiative to help churches and ministry organizations reach and serve people who are facing mental, emotional or relational struggles, so they are able to cope with life’s challenges and heal from painful experiences.
 
In 2016, 17 churches and ministry organizations that provide Christian care and counseling services to help people receive support and improve their mental, emotional and relational health and resilience were offered capacity-building support from Urban Alliance through Charis.
 
3 Charis meetings, hosted by Urban Alliance, created a space for these churches and ministry organizations to build relationships and learn how to communicate effectively about mental and emotional struggles, how to decrease stigma, and how to respond compassionately to those who experience same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria.
 
50 people attended a Charis marriage retreat that was co-sponsored by Urban Alliance and a church that participates in Charis.
 
Between 7 and 13 counselors participated in a monthly Charis peer consultation group hosted by Urban Alliance, which provides professional support to those who are working with people who are facing mental, emotional or relational struggles.
 
The Charis website, which is maintained by Urban Alliance, was made available for churches and ministry organizations to use as a tool to help connect people to Christian counselors and support groups.
 
$4,000 in Urban Alliance grant funding was awarded to churches and ministry organizations that participate in Charis and provided skill-building opportunities for ministry leaders or purchased materials that improved the care services they provide.
 
Urban Alliance matched volunteers who contributed 316 hours of service at churches and ministry organizations who participate in Charis.
 
Revitalize
Revitalize is an Urban Alliance initiative to help churches and ministry organizations reach and serve people with physical health needs so they are able to experience and maintain a lifestyle of wellness.
 
In 2016, 19 churches and ministry organizations that help people experience and maintain a lifestyle of wellness were offered capacity-building support from Urban Alliance through Revitalize.
 
Urban Alliance coordinated and provided supplies for 14,000 resource bags that contained information about local free and low-cost health programs and services. The bags were packed and distributed by churches and ministry organizations that participated in the Revitalize Community Health Outreach, an annual Revitalize event.
 
Urban Alliance honored the $4,750 value of 950 Revitalize coupons that were redeemed by Hartford residents for fresh fruits and vegetables at two Hartford farmers markets.
 
25 people from 7 churches and ministry organizations were certified in CPR through a class hosted by Urban Alliance.
 
The Revitalize website, which is maintained by Urban Alliance, was made available for churches and ministry organizations to use as a tool to help connect people to free and low-cost health and wellness resources in Hartford.
 
$5,000 in Urban Alliance grant funding was awarded to churches and ministry organizations that participate in Revitalize to strengthen and expand the health services they provide, including offering educational classes and important health screenings for diabetes and heart disease.
 
Urban Alliance matched volunteers who contributed 86.5 hours of service at churches and ministry organizations that participate in Revitalize.
 
Next Generation
Next Generation is an Urban Alliance initiative to help churches and ministry organizations reach and serve youth, so they develop the character, relationships and skills needed to succeed in their schools and communities.
 
In 2016, 26 churches and ministry organizations that help youth develop the character, relationships and skills needed to succeed in their schools and communities were offered capacity-building support from Urban Alliance through Next Generation.
 
3 Next Generation meetings, hosted by Urban Alliance, created a space for these churches and ministry organizations to build relationships, offer feedback, celebrate successes, share innovative strategies, and empower youth leaders.
 
25 child and youth program leaders and 37 youth from 14 churches and ministry organizations that participate in Next Generation attended a two-day training, hosted by Urban Alliance and facilitated by World Vision, where they learned how to strengthen their capacity to partner with children and youth in ways that lead to sustainable community transformation.
 
15 people from churches and ministry organizations that participate in Next Generation attended a training, hosted by Urban Alliance that focused on the role the church and youth ministries play in community youth development.
 
Urban Alliance awarded grant funding to 9 churches and ministry organizations that participate in Next Generation, to engage youth as Summer Meals Assistants at their programs.
 
Urban Alliance awarded grant funding to 6 churches that participate in Next Generation to increase opportunities for low-income youth to serve and build relationships through Youth Explosion, a program that holds bi-monthly worship events and an annual retreat.
 
Urban Alliance Urban Alliance awarded grant funding to 3 churches that participate in Next Generation to increase opportunities for low-income youth to serve and build relationships through The Hartford Project, a summer opportunity for youth to join together with other youth groups from Connecticut as they learn and serve in the Hartford community.
 
$11,200 in Urban Alliance grant funding was awarded to churches and ministry organizations to help them increase the quality and scope of their youth-serving programs.
 
32 Hartford community schools, 15 New Britain public schools, 6 East Hartford district schools, 2 Manchester neighborhood schools and 5 community-based after-school programs engaged in Next Generation School Partnerships that are working to support children and youth by affirming their worth, providing opportunities for them to build knowledge and skills, helping connect them to resources and providing long-term relational support. Of these schools, 37 received school supplies at no cost through World Vision’s Teacher Resource Center (TRC). This represents 1,276 teacher visits to the TRC, and more than 18,000 students who were positively impacted.
 
Urban Alliance matched volunteers who contributed more than 3,000 hours of service at churches and ministry organizations who participate in Next Generation.
 
Thrive
Thrive is an Urban Alliance initiative to help churches and ministry organizations reach and serve young children and their caregivers throughout critical developmental stages, so they experience nurturing relationships and develop strong foundations for learning.
 
In 2016, 8 churches and ministry organizations that reach and serve young children and their caregivers throughout critical developmental stages so they experience nurturing relationships and develop strong foundations for learning were offered capacity-building support from Urban Alliance through Thrive.
 
2 Thrive meetings, hosted by UA, created a space for these churches and ministry organizations to build relationships, offer feedback, and receive beneficial information about available resources and evidence-based practices to help strengthen their programs.
 
5 people from 3 ministry organizations that participate in Thrive each received $900 in Urban Alliance grant funding to attend an Urban Alliance co-sponsored, four-day Circle of Security Parenting conference. Additionally, each ministry organization received $500 in Urban Alliance grant funding to facilitate a Circle of Security Parenting support group.
 
Urban Alliance matched volunteers who contributed 49.5 hours of service at churches and ministry organizations who participate in Thrive.

If you would like more information about how your church or ministry organization may participate in Beyond the Basics, Charis or Revitalize, contact Angela Colantonio, Urban Alliance's Director of Implementation, Health & Basic Needs Initiatives, at angela.colantonio@urbanalliance.com or 860.986.7328.

For information about participating in Next Generation or Thrive, contact Rosaicela Rodriguez, Urban Alliance's Director of Implementation, Children & Youth Initiatives, at rosaicela.rodriguez@urbanalliance.com or 860.986.6052.


YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN:

UA's Charis Initiative to Equip Church & Ministry Leaders in Crisis or Trauma Care
Hartford City Mission Awarded UA Grant Funding
Revitalize Training Helps Equip Ministry Leaders With Life-Saving Skills
Thrive: Strengthening Early Childhood Programs
UA Initiative Groups Help Service Providers Grow, Learn
Volunteerism: A Beautiful Exchange

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