Community center gets new van

WARREN – Transporting veterans to programs and services has been made possible with a new van obtained by the United Methodist Community Center.

Juanita Pasley, center director, said she wrote a grant to the Honor Project Trust in Ohio, which provided funds to start up the Oasis Program of Hope to help veterans. The $50,000 grant funds were also used for the purchase of a 2014 Dodge Caravan.

Pasley said the vehicle will be used to transport veterans to their appointments and to locations to receive programs and services.

She said there are two centers in Warren and Youngstown which now have a vehicle each to help transport people.

The vehicle was scheduled to be up and running this week. The van can take up to seven to eight passengers. Appointments for transport can be made at 330-743-5149, Ext. 100

“We have needed this vehicle since we started working with veterans. That has been one of the biggest barriers for us, especially in Trumbull County since there is no transportation,” she said.

Bryan Canty who attends the center said he thinks it is great to have the vehicle available since many people were unable to walk to the location due to severe cold weather.

Pasley said between 25 or 28 people a week have needed transportation.

The veteran program is offered from Monday to Friday at the center.

Pasley said the Honor Project Trust is a charitable organization which indicates in its grant application a portion of the grant is specifically targeted toward charitable organizations that demonstrate a significant impact on employment and related issues, including but not limited to the effects of unemployment.

Pasley said the center demonstrated a need for transportation among homeless veterans in its Ready Workforce employment program.

She said the committee of board members on the project was chairman Joseph Hightower, Cicero Davis and Victor Mejia.

”The van will assist veterans in overcoming barriers to successfully becoming trained for relevant jobs and seeking and keeping employment in the Mahoning Valley,” she said.

Pasley said the remaining funds will support a part-time van driver and van cost over the next year.

The center’s mission is to teach, develop and empower individuals and their families. Approximately 1,500 individuals and families are served each year through a variety of programs, some of which include a homeless veterans employment programs, senior health and wellenss programs, and in-school training programs.