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MLK Center opens new community outreach center

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A rainy, cloudy afternoon with a peeking sun exemplifying a beacon of hope in the community was the perfect symbolism for the unveiling of the MLK Center’s newest project.

The MLK Center held a ribbon-cutting on March 23 for the Beloved Community Outreach Center, with gigantic smiles, laughs and an overflowing of love from members of the Butler Tarkington and Crown Hill communities who were in attendance.

On the inside, the Beloved Community Outreach Center housed the perfect aesthetic. The lush green walls embody the idea of growth, life, healing and generosity. It is packed with blooming plant life, healing sound bowls and mind-calming memorabilia associated with the communities it serves.

“We want the community to know it is okay to not be okay,” said Allison Luthe, the executive director of the MLK Center.

The new venture will offer a litany of mental health and wellness services. Some courtesies include grief counseling, therapy sessions, and other means of trauma-informed care.
The services provided by the Beloved Community Outreach Center are free to residents of Butler Tarkington and Crown Hill, but it is the Center’s long-term goal to offer free service to everyone.

“This is an idea that we don’t want to monopolize, but radicalize,” said Lee Ivey, MLK Center mental health therapist. “We want places like this everywhere.”
The Community Outreach Center is partially funded by a $5 million grant from the Eli Lilly Endowment Fund.

“We hope the grant helps the MLK Center attract additional support for this important work,” said Ronni Kloth, the vice president of community development at Lilly Endowment.

Community partners praised the opening of the new outreach center.

“Anything that benefits Crown Hill and the children such as (the Beloved Community Outreach Center) is a blessing,” said Carleen Carter, president emeritus of the Crown Hill Neighborhood Association. “This type of community support and trauma-informed care is long overdue.”

Community members now have access to the new facility.

“We offer individual counseling, support groups, family therapy and emotional learning support,” said Kimberly Mathews, program director at the MLK Center. “The only requirement is to be a resident of one of the five neighborhoods that the Center serves.” This includes residents of the 46208 and 46205 zip codes.

Contact multi-media staff writer Noral Parham at 317-762-7846 or email at NoralP@IndyRecorder.com. Follow him on Twitter @NoralParham.

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