Bringing helping hands together

Collaboration between organizations that offer their services to North County residents has never been easier since the opening of the new Ferguson-Dellwood Community Resource Center (FDCRC).
The center, which celebrated its ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 17, provides space for nonprofits and other organizations that aim to improve the quality of life for community residents. Fathers Support Center, PAKT Community Center and St. Louis Public School District, among others, all have space in the FDCRC. The center, located at 1433 Stein Road in Ferguson, provides closer proximity to individuals and families in need of the various organizations’ services, and allows necessary collaboration between the organizations who work daily to improve the lives of St. Louis and North County residents.
“We are servicing organizations who are servicing individuals and families,” explained FDCRC Executive Director, Toni Burrow. “The proximity of the center to where the needs are is hugely beneficial to the community. We’re about collaborative partnerships inside of organizations. We’re trying to help individuals and families reach their highest and their fullest potential.”
A medical area in the resource center will provide free medical care through the Salam Clinic to adults without insurance. Shared space will allow organizations to run programs out of the center and office space ensures that organizations have somewhere to meet with their clients. Groups that previously had very limited access to those in need are now able to extend their reach into the surrounding communities with the help of the FDCRC. This, in addition to counseling services, community meetings and educational programs held in the center, will help to improve quality of life and therefore the quality of society.
“It is well-documented that the benefits to society are huge when you bring families together. Fathers Support Center has many programs dealing with reuniting absentee fathers with their children, and they will be one of the first organizations to be operating out of the center. PAKT Community Center will be servicing all of North St. Louis County with human service needs,” said Burrow, who also serves as Director of PAKT Community Center. “PAKT Community Resource and Learning Center has been serving 19 North St. Louis County zipcodes for over 50 years. PAKT will be bringing the Lights On Afterschool program to the center, which will feature Makerspace, robotics and coding. We will also present its award-winning summer day camp program. PAKT will continue to offer its other community resources at its facility on Airport Road.”
Dellwood Mayor Reggie Jones referred to the healing that Ferguson and nearby communities have been going through in the past two years following the death of Michael Brown in 2014, highlighting the significance of the services that will now be offered out of the FDCRC.
“This center is going to help a much-needed area. There need to be more resources,” said Jones. “There are going to be a variety of partners that I think a lot of people can benefit from. I think it’s going to be one more positive thing to help the community come back from what happened in 2014.”
For individuals like Burrow, however, the availability of resources such as the FDCRC and the organizations who use it has been a long time coming. Burrow, a lifelong Ferguson resident, expressed her belief that a center like the FDCRC has been necessity since long before unrest shook the community and made Ferguson a widely-repeated name in the wake of social justice issues across the nation. Ease of accessibility to services for those most in need is crucial in building the backbone of a community.
In Burrow’s own words: “How are you going to love your neighbor if you don’t know your neighbor?”

CUTLINE: Submitted photos
Cover-Center1 Various community leaders and dignitaries including Dellwood Mayor Reggie Jones, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles and FDCRC Executive Director Toni Burrow attended the ribbon cutting for the new Ferguson-Dellwood Community Resource Center on Aug. 17.

Cover-Center2 Ferguson-Dellwood Community Resource Center Executive Director Toni Burrow speaks during a ribbon-cutting event at the center on Aug. 17.

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