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Dream Center hosts open house and tours Saturday
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The Central Kansas Dream Center at 2100 Broadway in Great Bend will be hosting an open house Saturday, starting at 2 p.m. - photo by VERONICA COONS, Great Bend Tribune

Over the past 17 years, the building that once housed Roosevelt Middle School at 2100 Broadway in Great Bend has slowly evolved into a center that is making profound differences in the lives of people in the county that have weathered storms the vast majority have through grace been able to avoid.  The result is uplifting, not only for those who receive help at what is now the Central Kansas Dream Center, but also for those that take time to help, to pray and to care about their fellow neighbors. On Saturday, an open house will give others who haven’t yet had the opportunity to see for themselves how the CKDC has been transformed to visit with both the volunteers and those taking part in the discipleship program that is in turn transforming these lives.  

Restoring lives
In 1998, Mark Ball and Lasting Life Ministries bought the building from the school district, providing a new home for the Hungry Heart Soup Kitchen that spring. It would be nine years before the ministry would be ready to take its next step.  In the fall of 2007, the Daniel R. Trickey Life Giving Center was opened, providing homeless/ transitional housing for women and women with children.  An assistance program was also started through LLM to help people who are facing eviction or having their utilities shut off.
Then, on July 23, 2013, the whole building and all the ministries that take place under its roof became part of the Central Kansas Dream Center. This move included a motto, “reaching hurting people, restoring families, realizing dreams,” and a mission:  The Dream Center’s purpose is to reconnect isolated people to God and a community of support by providing human services that address immediate and long-term needs in the areas of homelessness, hunger relief and education.”
And by doing so, volunteers are achieving the vision for the center, one of building community, helping people to become resilient as they are redeemed through God’s love, and sending them back into the world then to share the love and pass on hope to make transformation possible for others, CKDC Director Kimberly Becker explained.  

Multi-faceted center
In addition to the Hungry Hearts Soup Kitchen and the Life Giving Center, the Dream Center also contains a chapel in the gym area, where chapel services are provided Friday mornings at 9 a.m. and are open to the public.  Soon, an area remodeled to look and feel like a coffee shop will be open where people can get help filling out applications, getting the assistance they need and providing a place to get off the street, as well as take part in a mailbox program if they have no physical address.  It can also be used for groups and other activities and outreaches.  Receipt of a grant applied for recently will allow the center to complete the space.  
The center has also opened a licensed daycare off site for the people they serve and their employees.  An outpatient drug and alcohol program, called Full Surrender, is also offered.  
On the second story of building, a 2,800 sq. foot apartment has been completely remodeled to provide housing for women in the discipleship program and for girls age 18-21 who have aged out of the foster care system.  
“Our discipleship program is a 6-month residential program for both men and women who have any kind of life controlling issue that include but are not limited to substance abuse, anger, depression & emotional residue left by mental,physical, and sexual abuse through the use of a proven faith based curriculum,” Becker said.  “We also do groups that are open to the community which include grief and loss, depression, restoring families, parenting, anger, eating disorders and others.”
Men take part in the discipleship program too, but the facility is not licensed to house them.  Other housing is available locally for men.  
The open house will begin at 2 p.m. with a reception, followed by  testimonies and tours of the facility. Meet the leadership team and board members, weekly volunteers who teach groups or classes and hear students as they describe why they are at the Dream Center and what God has done.