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News and ViewsMarch 18, 2024

Dallas Center Benefits From Relationship With Spectrum Community Center Assist

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The staff members of Wesley-Rankin Community Center in Dallas have a singular mission: to support Dallas-area families. Their Wesley-Rankin Aspiring Professionals (WRAP) program helps young people find their place in the world. The program prepares students for life beyond high school, whether that means college or a career.

But just as young people often need help in direction, nonprofits sometimes need help charting their own futures. That’s where Spectrum Community Center Assist (SCCA) becomes an even more valuable resource to the organizations it serves. The philanthropic program not only improves the physical condition of community centers in underserved rural and urban communities, it also supports programs that provide job skills training for the people in those communities.

Through its partner, Jobs For the Future (JFF), a leading national nonprofit driving transformation of the American workforce and education systems to achieve equitable economic advancement for all, SCCA also provides consultative services to help nonprofits expand their offerings.

Their combined offerings include:

  • 1-on-1 onboarding calls with each organization to review partnership guidelines and reporting requirements.
  • Monthly office hours to answer partners’ questions.
  • Ongoing concierge-style service on an as-needed basis to community partners.
  • Regular peer learning group calls to educate the network on trends and popular topics.
  • Access to educational resources, best practices, templates, and other tools.

Helping the Helpers

In its early days, Wesley-Rankin staff leaned on SCCA’s consultative services to guide the WRAP program forward.

“When we started building the WRAP program, we searched the internet looking for guidance and it was overwhelming,” said Shellie Ross, CEO of Wesley-Rankin Community Center. She recalls a litany of resources and expensive products of questionable value. “Spectrum and JFF came along at just the right time.”

Now, Ross and her staff use open office hours with JFF experts to ask questions and seek out resources and advice. They participate in small group sessions that enable the sharing of information and tips between similar nonprofit organizations. In addition, they receive individualized professional consulting – all at no cost – as part of their ongoing partnership with SCCA.

“I feel comfortable picking up the phone and asking questions,” Ross said. “They have connected us with a whole community of support. I’m talking to people who have the same struggles we do. They are like-minded groups in the same place – wanting to give their best to the community but still keep the lights on.”

Space to Grow

SCCA also helped Wesley-Rankin find a place for the WRAP program to call home. With a flurry of paintbrushes, boxes of laptops and a high-tech projection system, Spectrum employee volunteers transformed one room of the community center into a dedicated area designed for the fledgling program. Once the paint dried and the dust settled, WRAP no longer had to compete for space with other community center programs. The days of bouncing from room to room were over. The new space was aptly named, the Spectrum Training and Technology Center.

“It feels a lot more professional,” Ross said. “Spectrum set us up a space where students can aspire to be what they want to be.”

Next Steps

With the help of SCCA and JFF, Wesley-Rankin plans to expand the scope of its WRAP program to include adults in need of job training. In addition to business technology and automotive repair, the community center also hopes to add healthcare as another vertical students can explore.

JFF’s consulting expertise is helping Wesley-Rankin staff take those next steps by offering assistance in implementing new tools, obtaining new resources, growing existing partnerships and using data to make informed decisions.

“They want to walk with us in the process,” Ross said. “It’s been a real benefit.”

To learn more about Spectrum Community Center Assist, click here.