The Jacksonville Dream Center Foundation is a new organization in town, having received its not-for-profit status in April. Vice President of the group, Steve Cantrell, indicated that the instrumental group involved includes Board President Jennifer DeWitt, Secretary Steve Hardin, Co-Secretary Stacy Thomas, Treasurer Cheryl Ballard and Board member Gary Hadden. In addition to that core group, Cantrell says there are nearly 40 different advisors representing various backgrounds, skills and careers. Among the advisors is Jim Duncan, Commander of Amvets Post #100, who remarked of “the large body of veterans” involved with the organization.
Cantrell says the Foundation has been in the process of creating events to support the community, working to be positive and proactive in the community. “We’re thinking outside of the box, the group of us, the heart of us – and these other individuals are coming in to help us. If you have a dream, we want to make your dream come true. Let us see what we can do to work with you in a partnership,” says Cantrell. Through the organization, the individuals are looking to benefit the community via workshops, projects and trainings. Already, the organization has paired with FFA to plant 45 tomato plants that will be given to area seniors and the food bank. Other projects include, but are not limited to: building at Prairieland Heritage Museum, landscaping and cleaning at Lincoln Trail Family Campground and an herb garden workshop with the Underground Railroad. Cantrell wants to get the idea out that we all can give and receive, (and not just receive) allowing the circle of those who benefit to grow. The Center has a free “Ultimate Unlimited 4×4 Show” event coming up on Sunday, July 27, as well.
By working with the Jacksonville Dream Center Foundation, “individuals can develop marketable skills in such areas as trade, business, entrepreneurism, computer skills, office skills…which will lead you to employment. And by doing these things (projects or trainings, for example), they’ll find things that they have interest in and we’ll help them find a college of their choice to keep things going,” adds Cantrell. The organization is for youth thru adult, using all the help we can get. “Our veterans have so much knowledge that they are an untapped resource,” said Cantrell, to keep skills going and create programs partnering veterans with area youth. The general idea is to create a domino effect, starting with the youth at an earlier age, introducing them with programming, projects, training and skills that will give them direction. “We are the beginning blocks to making a base. You have to have a solid foundation before you go anywhere else and we are trying to create a solid foundation at an earlier age…through programs and discussions…and working with the veterans and area groups, so that goals can be reached a dreams can happen,” explains Cantrell. About the Foundation, Duncan said, “I think it’s a great idea. It’s just another resource full of people truly wanting to help. These are men and women committed to making our community a better place. The fact that they’re out there volunteering is just amazing.” To coordinate with the Jacksonville Dream Center Foundation, please “like” them on Facebook to follow posts of workshops and seminars, write them at P.O. Box 116 in Jacksonville, or call Steve Cantrell at 217-473-1303. Cantrell noted, “Anybody that needs help and we can go there to help and learn something…we’ll do it.”