Dream Center opens new facility

The Dream Center and its supporters – hundreds of them – celebrated the grand opening of the organization’s new facility last week with a ribbon cutting and facility tours.

The new facility, located on Oil Well Road, is 38,000 square feet, which is large enough to house more women and any of their children that need shelter as they try to leave abusive relationships.

“The Dream Center exists to give women a chance to get out of relationships that are destructive to them and start them on a new track in life,” said Stephanie Laffoon, the capital campaign manager for The Dream Center.

The process that was completed with the building of the new facility started seven years ago and has been a constant effort by everyone involved with the group.

“We’ve seen miracle after miracle happen to make this happen,” Laffoon said. “Our director, Gail Gustafson, wouldn’t let this not happen, because we all felt it was the direction God was leading us in as we sought out what was next for this effort that is really a ministry.”

The Dream Center is a program for women who are escaping abusive relationships to give them a chance at restarting their lives with a different trajectory.

“Our program is about six months, and we’re unapologetically faith-based as we want all of our women to be involved in Bible study while they’re with us because we believe the Word of God truly transforms lives when you really study it and apply it to your life,” Laffoon said. “And a lot of the ladies who come through our program will go through a study in the book of John or Mark or Romans or Galatians or whatever and see the Bible in a totally different way because they’ve never been in this situation where they’re looking to it for inspiration and transformation.”

The Center helps the women learn new skills to develop a new career.

“We had one woman come through, and her name was Jamie,” Laffoon said. “She came to us through a court order, so she didn’t necessarily choose to come here out of desire, but she chose to come.

“To make a long story short, she wound up working as an assistant for a local attorney before she was done with us, and one day she was working for her boss in court, and during a break, the judge of the court calls Jamie over to the bench. He said, ‘Jamie, what are you doing here?’ Jamie said, ‘Well I’m going through The Dream Center, and I’ve got a job for the attorney and I’m here working now.’ The judge was amazed at how much Jamie’s appearance and countenance had changed and how she was positioned to succeed now. That’s the point of The Dream Center, and stories like that are why we want to have a larger facility.”

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news