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March Makeover Transforms Empowerment Center

March 28, 2011 - by Callie Livengood

This past Saturday, more than 250 volunteers from the University of Mount Union offered their time and talents to help transform the Empowerment Center, located at 715 S. Arch Ave. in Alliance. Volunteers participated in “March Makeover 2011: Alliance Edition” by working on renovation projects such as painting, cleaning, building cabinets and landscaping.

View photographs from March Makeover 2011.
 
March Makeover 2011 was spearheaded by Raider Relief, a student-driven organization at the University of Mount Union that recognizes the needs of people less fortunate, and acts upon those needs in a fashion that is timely, sympathetic and rewarding for everyone involved. All of Raider Relief’s projects are created to display the underlining theme of its organization – humanitarianism. Since 2008, Raider Relief has teamed up with faculty, staff and the administration at Mount Union to coordinate philanthropic projects such as Soles for Souls, Hugs for Haiti and Help to Others.
 
Members of Raider Relief chose to “makeover” the Empowerment Center for many reasons, but the founder’s vision for the center is the one that sealed the deal. Aaron Hill and his wife, Sarita, wanted to buy the Bethany House back in 2008 and use it as a place where individuals could come for assistance during a time of need. They ended up purchasing the building for $1, but under the stipulation that a church service must take place every Sunday. As a result, Aaron moved the Tabernacle Baptist Church and its congregation to the new location, and now the building currently serves as both the Tabernacle Baptist Church and the Empowerment Center.
 
“Simply put, the Hills want to teach people how to fish rather than just giving them the fish,” said Annie Patton, senior exercise science major of Darlington, PA and Raider Relief project leader. “They don’t want to give people handouts. They want to equip individuals with the skills and tools necessary to lead a successful life.”
 
Anyone within the community can come to the Empowerment Center and utilize its computer lab, which has free internet access, to create resumes and search for jobs online. The center also offers a free clothes closet and a soup kitchen.
 
Many area business and individuals donated materials for the March Makeover 2011 project including Anthony Petitti Garden Center & Landscaping; Carter Lumber; CJ’s Signs & Lighting; DeHoff’s Flowers, Greenhouse, and Landscaping; Dunkin’ Donuts; First Friends Church; Giant Eagle; Glidden Professional Paint Center; Green Brothers Painting; Home Depot; J & J Refuse; Lowe’s; M Conley Company; and RL Landscape Group Inc.
 
Aaron is the court liaison for Alliance City Schools and Sarita is a registered nurse.
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