I am part of a group called The Cherokee Collective, which consists of individuals, business owners, and representatives of nonprofits and faith-based organizations, who strive to make a difference in our community. The Collective’s goal is to meet the immediate needs that arise from situations caused by a lack of resources or finances, etc.
It all started in a coffee shop about three years ago when Shane Moore of Impact Soccer/Cherokee Youth Foundation and I met to talk about the needs that foster care kids were facing in our city. From there, April Rogers, also with Impact Soccer/Cherokee Youth Foundation, joined us in the endeavor to bring other organizations and individuals to the table to share their experiences and knowledge of the unfortunate circumstances these kids were facing. It quickly grew from the coffee shop setting to a large roundtable discussion at The Oak House, where more than 50 people now gather for monthly meetings.
The amazing thing is that there already are several organizations in our community, including Goshen Valley, DFCS, CASA, the Juvenile Court and a handful of others, that are involved in the daily lives of these children. The Collective has become a safety net of sorts for most of these organizations when immediate needs pop up, those with a deadline of a day or two. Most of the needs are usually met the same day or sometimes within a couple of hours. Examples of immediate needs met are new beds, housing, payment of medical procedures, emergency shelter, utility bills, etc. April receives the requests and sends out an email blast to nearly 200 people in this network who want to help. If someone can meet the need, they directly contact the organization that sent out the request.
The Collective is always looking to add more people and organizations. Addressing this month’s meeting is a special guest speaker: Terence Lester, founder of Love Beyond Walls in College Park. The meeting (9-10:30 a.m. Jan. 15) will encourage participants and organizations to keep going, and hopefully spark new ideas to reach the marginalized within our city in 2020.
The beauty of The Collective is that it is an “underground” organization that can’t be found other than during a monthly gathering. The Collective has no website or physical address. You may pass a member on the street without being aware of it. But they are most certainly ready to help when the need is presented.
– Zip Cain, Missions Minister at Revolution Church.