A Tour of the Transformation Center
By NMC - September 7, 2017
Posted in Partnerships, Global Impact, Stories from NMC
It started with a vision, a dream of what could be. It began with “what-if” questions and prayers. When some saw a run-down storefront, they saw potential. They saw what could be, and in January 2017, Transformation Ministries began the 9-month renovation process of the Transformation Center (TC).
Many of Transformation’s students devoted countless hours to the project—demolishing walls, taking down old light fixtures, carrying rubble to the dumpster. Churches and organizations joined the work as well, donating their time or finances. NMC began one of our biggest initiatives of sending teams to a regional partner. We affectionately called the leadership “Five Guys and an Engineer.” This crew led hundreds of people for five months, tearing out walls, installing beams, painting, insulating, and doing the hard work that needed to be done to make the space functional.
And now, it’s September 2017. The process has been long and arduous. Men and women have spent long Saturdays at the building and have stayed late on some weeknights. Seasons have come and gone. Winter gave way to summer, and now, the trees are beginning to show the red and orange and yellow tints of fall. The sounds of hammers and paint rollers have faded away, and in their place is the sound of laughter and feet running on hardwood floors. What started with a grand vision has become a reality—the Transformation Center is officially open.
Coming in the back entrance, you immediately step into a large, open café, decorated with pictures of Transformation’s kids and “before” shots the building. This will most likely be the most-used room at the Center. Each evening of programming, Transformation kids, volunteers, and staff will eat a family-style meal together in the café. So much of what Transformation does centers around creating a safe place for their kids. There’s something about gathering around a table that helps cultivate this sense of belonging and safety. This room will also serve as a space for Study Tables, big group games, and large gatherings throughout the year.
To the left of the café is a doorway that leads to a game room, equipped with a ping-pong table, double shot basketball hoops, and a video game system. Students will have the opportunity to play these games for about an hour and half Monday through Thursday during TC Open Hours. This space will also be important to Iron Sharpens Iron (ISI) groups and mentors spending 1-on-1 time with their students as they laugh and play together.
Real Talk Rooms
Down a small hallway off the Café, you’ll find a few classrooms, two of which are called Real Talk Rooms. These rooms are a vital part of ISI. After eating a meal together, ISI groups get comfortable on couches and chairs to have a discussion the Transformation team refers to as Real Talk. This is a time for students and leaders to openly and honestly share about their lives and thoughts on a variety of topics. The cozy, leather couches create a family-room feel which cultivates a warm, inviting, and safe environment for honest dialogue.
Iron Scholars Room
Keep walking down this hallway, and you’ll stumble upon the Iron Scholars Room. This room is dedicated to academic empowerment. Students will be able to earn time in the Iron Scholars Room based on practical steps they take with their own academic well-being. More secluded in nature, this room will be perfect for those students who need a quieter space to work on homework and special projects. Transformation staff also dreams of teaching classes on software, communication skills, and the college application process.
Transformation’s building used to be an operating restaurant and comes with a fully-equipped kitchen that is an incredible tool for ministry. The food for their family-style meals is provided by volunteer food teams. Access to this kitchen means that volunteers will be able to more easily prepare the food. In the future, Transformation staff would also love to host a few cooking classes to teach their kids these important life skills.
To the right of the café are Transformation’s offices. These will be used for daily office space as well as planning and staff meetings. They will also be a great place to meet and counsel people outside of Transformation as the staff walks alongside their kids, their kids’ families, and their community as a whole.
It’s incredible to see what God has done in just nine months. As they move forward, Transformation Ministries deeply desires and prays that the Transformation Center will be a safe place for the whole community. Their hearts beat for South Bend in its entirety, starting with their students and their students’ families. Yet, they also long to be a presence of light and hope in their whole community. Their space on Portage Avenue has given them an incredible opportunity to do life with their neighbors, and their prayer is that God would continue to open doors to share His love with others.
It’s their desire. It’s their prayer. It all started with a dream, a vision, a prayer, and today, this dream continues.