The Beacon Resource Center reopens

Published: Oct. 5, 2020 at 5:44 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The Beacon Resource Center in South Bend has re-opened its doors for the first time since the coronavirus surfaced in March.

The Beacon used to be a bowling alley on the city’s west side. Now it’s whatever the community wants and needs it to be.

Until March it was a catch-all home for more than a dozen non profit organizations.

“We just had a lot of our tenant partners kind of pull back and just kind of hesitant about coming into the facility,” said Beacon Executive Director Jeff Walker. “So yea, we just closed the doors.”

The building has hosted services for Riverside Church which is affiliated with the center, but the first tenant to return was the South Bend Table Tennis Club last Thursday.

Tonight the Police Athletic League will resume its youth boxing program.

“South Bend Table Tennis Club, we have the pickle ball club, we have some youth basketball programming, we have some mentoring going on here, Transformation Ministries uses our space here on a weekly basis,” said Walker. “And then others that we haven’t connected with yet are our home schooling co-op, our math tutoring and mentoring courses, so we haven’t connected with them yet.”

Despite the uncertain times, Beacon hired Walker as the center’s first-ever full time executive director and plans call for Beacon to offer some programming of its own, starting in December with a job fair for people who have been released from prison.

“We envision life skills, job skills, training, we have a CNC machine on the other side of that wall that’s being installed now and hopefully we’ll be ready to be programming and we can do some hands on CNC training,” Walker explained. “We’d like to see that both ends, help those who are coming home from prison then hopefully we can interrupt the school to prison pipeline.”

Walker spent 13 years as a project director at Laidig Systems in Mishawaka.

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