Updated 02/07/2013 06:17 PM
Poughkeepsie's Family Partnership Center analyzed
Anyone in Dutchess County who needs a helping hand should know they can get food, clothing, after school help and health care all in one spot. As YNN's John Wagner tells us, quite a few already know.
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POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- After graduating high school, Alexis Becker has spent years hopping between grocery and fast food jobs, living off friend's couches to get by.
"Minimum wage, you know, awful hours, I can't pay the bills like that," said Becker.
She's just one of thousands of clients who depend on Poughkeepsie's Family Partnership Center.
"It's literally been a 180 degree turnaround in my life," said Becker. "It went from dead end, to things are seriously looking up."
Formerly the Poughkeepsie High School, classrooms are home to 18 plus nonprofits, with Family Services as host. Through their Dutchess Youth Works program, Becker is training to become an EKG technician.
"Take a little bit of help, get my life on a better place and then turn that around and start helping other people," said Becker.
"We have clients who've been homeless, prostitutes, coming from severe backgrounds and in less than a year their lives have changed," said Celinda Gomez, a case manager for Family Services' Dutchess Youth Works. "They become self sufficient individuals and they get off of welfare."
An impact assessment revealed Thursday the extent of their assistance as a one stop shop for the needy. Almost 80 percent of clients live in poverty.
"Making it through the maze of either non-for-profit or government entities can be very complicated, for any individual," said Marc Molinaro, thanking the convenient Family Partnership Center.
"Other counties need to start mimicking what we do, because collaboration is the only way that we're going to get our clients to change our lives," said Gomez.
The study found the Partnership Center gets nearly 43,000 client visits each year. Seventy percent stop by more than one nonprofit in the building. And most clients visit several times per week.
"It's a god send. You can get health care, shots, dinner. I just love this place," said John Flowers, a community organizer and Family Services tenant. "Without this place, I don't know what would happen to Poughkeepsie. The homeless people wouldn't have anywhere to go, anything to eat. It would be a disaster."
Becker knows the blood, sweat and tears it takes for nonprofits to help and some day, she'd like to give it all back.
"Donated their time, their money, their food, an old jacket," said Becker. "It's not about paying. It's about paying it forward."
You can visit the Family Partnership Center at 29 North Hamilton Street, Poughkeepsie, 12601 or visit www.familypartnershipcenter.org.