Without A Doubt – THE Most Amazing Place In Bismarck
You may have driven by a thousand times and not given a second thought of the magic that takes place on 12th street
I had a chance to visit Bismarck's United Way this afternoon over at 1140 S 12th St. I walked through the doors and felt warm vibes from so many people in the lobby, and into the facility. I realized in the first 3 seconds that genuine people were here to help others in our community.
A Center for Opportunity
Here is what is written at www.msaunitedway.org
"The “Center for Opportunity” provides shelter to more than 140 men, women, and families each day and night. More importantly, we offer a safe and supportive environment, helping the most vulnerable get back on their feet. The new facility offers private rooms and a community center for families, a training center with computers for homeless men and women, and a multitude of services offered by partners right at The Center. Services like onsite mental health and addiction case management, birth certificates and IDs, financial literacy programs, assistance with resumes and employment coaching, Child Watch by the YMCA, health and wellness classes by Family Wellness, bible studies, and many more will help clients at the Center get back on their feet and break through the cycle of poverty." One of the most amazing people I've ever met is Jena Gullo ( Executive director at MSA United Way )
Frightening to think that not too long ago Bismarck did not have a shelter
Jena told me some incredible details - "In 2017, a local homeless shelter closed their doors. Community organizations met for months but there wasn’t another agency available to help shelter the homeless. United Way was asked to help at the start of that winter. We provided emergency shelter from Oct 2017 and waited two years before our board decided to buy property on S. 12th Street. Our new Center for Opportunity opened in June 2023. We are currently raising funds to hire more staff"
I had the pleasure to meet some of the caring people that work there
Lane Hoffer ( Shelter Manager ) - Emma Weisberg ( Client Advocate, Case Manager ) - Kristen Craig ( Case Manager ) -
I asked each one this same question - "What is your favorite part of your job?" - the answers were all pretty much the same - "...getting to know the clients and seeing results" - I had another burning question though "It must be impossible to go home at night and not think about the people that are at the facility" - they all nodded and I could tell without any hesitation how much they care, about every single person there.
Check this out, I had no idea how incredible this is
MSA United Way operates the only 24/7 shelter in our region. Often, we shelter more than 140 people a night. This is nearly four times the average number in need compared to previous years. Many are employed, many are fighting addiction, and many suffering from mental health issues. Funds are needed to keep the shelter open 24/7. It is only $27 to sponsor a night of shelter.
We are lucky to have Jena Gullo here in Bismarck
In the half-hour that I had one-on-one with Jena, It was a no-brainer seeing how genuine she is and how much she loves what she does...
"I love that United Way solves community issues, like making sure kids don’t go hungry over the weekends and that the community has an emergency homeless shelter. The hard times, of which there are many, are worth it when I see a very content, well taken care of 2-week-old baby at our shelter, or when a client with addiction and mental health issues thanks me for our help in his recovery journey. We are fortunate to have a great team working hard to meet so many of the needs of the homeless"
Finally here are just two more pictures that say it all about this beautiful place...
This is the hub of Bismarck United Way (The front office ) - along with Caleb Moore ( Security Supervisor ) - Jena, Emma, Lane, and Kristen give their heart and soul into what they do - smiles are huge, and even more important, they instill a spirit in those that are trying to get back on their feet. Thank you everyone for the tour.
***** How to Help *****
Give directly to MSA United Way www.MSAUnitedWay.org
We need to raise funds to keep our shelter opened 24/7.
We also have naming opportunities for gifts of $1,000 paid over 5 years designated to the construction project itself.
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Gallery Credit: Stacker