Good Afternoon, everyone! (And Happy National Sandwich Day!) I’m Ashley Nguyen and I am a sophomore at Southern Methodist University. This semester, I am currently in a volunteer class that requires its students to volunteer with one of four selected agencies from around the Dallas area. I was paired with CitySqaure, formerly Central Dallas Ministries and it has been quite an experience.
CitySquare’s mission is to build genuine community in the neighborhoods where we all live and work. They aim to alleviate the root causes of poverty in the community by working hand in hand with the “neighbors”—they do not have “clients”—to develop sustainable partnerships that provide support and encouragement to all so that everyone has the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
CitySquare was originally founded in 1988 as a small food pantry for the working poor of
the community. Since that time, they have grown into a broad community development organization offering a wide range of social services. Together, their 16 social service programs provide over 70,000 human touches per year to Dallas residents in need and focus on the following four key areas:
- Hunger: CitySquare’s food pantry distributed nearly two million pounds of food to 12,576 households in 2010, to a Community Summer Food Service program that delivered over 700,000 snacks/meals during the summer and an Afterschool Snack program which provides approximately 2500 snacks a day to at-risk-youth. They have also recently expanded their children nutrition programs to Austin, TX.
- Health: Medical clinic services, wellness and diabetes education programs that hosted over 10,000 patient visits to low, income, uninsured individuals, filled 4,000 medical prescriptions, and provided 352 neighbors with education to successfully manage their diabetes.
- Housing: Providing 250 units of affordable housing and 105 units of permanent supportive housing for the formerly homeless. An additional 28 units of permanent supportive housing began in December 2010, with full occupany anticipated by the end of March 2011.
- Hope: Providing a workforce development program focused on pre-employment training and education, short term rental and utility assistance, case management and referral services, a public interest law firm, youth education services,
athletic programs, technology training and support services for youth transitioning out of the foster care system.
If you are interested in volunteering and/or want to learn more about CitySquare, visit their website at: www.citysq.org.