YOU DESERVE TO INDULGE. GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!

Profiles

How The Springfield Dream Center is Working to Break the Cycle of Poverty

The Springfield Dream Center is helping people in southwest Missouri connect to the resources they need so families can thrive.

By Lucie Amberg

Jul 2019

Andy Thornton and The Springfield Dream Center are helping 417-landers break the generational cycle of poverty.
Photo by Brad ZweerinkAndy Thornton and The Springfield Dream Center are helping 417-landers break the generational cycle of poverty.

Finding help isn’t always as easy as it seems, even when you’re surrounded by a great community. “Springfield is one of the most caring cities around,” says Andy Thornton, program director at the Springfield Dream Center. But those who most need assistance sometimes confront barriers when trying to obtain it. As Thornton says, “Knowing what is available, filling out paperwork and finding a ride can be obstacles.” 

This is where the Springfield Dream Center steps in. Founded in 2017 by North Point Church, the center focuses on the needs of Springfield’s Zone 1, the city’s northwest quadrant. While it often assists with immediate needs, the center is increasingly thinking long term. “We want to disrupt the generational poverty cycle and help families achieve their dreams,” Thornton says. 

To do this, the Dream Center helps families develop life skills and coping strategies. It also partners with other organizations, including the Drew Lewis Foundation and the Community Partnership of the Ozarks. By working with other organizations, the Dream Center can help create bridges between established resources people in need can benefit from. 

“There are so many great things happening in Springfield, sometimes we don’t need new programs, just new ways for people to access them,” Thornton says. 

“We want to disrupt the generational poverty cycle and help families achieve their dreams.”
— Andy Thornton, program director, The Springfield Dream Center

And the Dream Center offers its own services, too, such as kids’ programming, adult education classes and support groups. Many of these opportunities are organized around the Dream Center’s community dinners, which take place each Wednesday night. “Families are here, so why not make more resources available at that time?” Thornton says.

Volunteers, according to Thornton, power the Dream Center’s work. They help serve community dinners, run the center’s food pantry, assist with adult classes, conduct maintenance on the building and man the front desk. “People’s hearts just come alive when they use their gifts to help dreams come true,” Thornton says. And the Springfield community also steps up with financial support. A particularly moving experience? When families who’ve benefited from Dream Center programs in the past donate so that others can gain assistance now.  

Since the Dream Center’s mission is so holistic, essentially any gift or talent can be applied toward its work. As Thornton says, “Our goal is to give help for today and hope for tomorrow.” 

How You Can Get Involved

Start Now

Tags: