Hale Kipa is planning a ground breaking for our campus on Old Fort Weaver Road on December 4th, 2018. This project is the result of a long and arduous process that began back in 2006 to find a permanent home for Hale Kipa. The campus will not be able to accommodate all of the Hale Kipa programs, nor should it, since we are in fact a community-based agency. It will however provide a sense of place to the organization and the opportunity to take advantage of a number of synergies that will enhance our ability to provide services. As Gailene Wong from the Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Foundation reminded me numerous times, the Weinberg Foundation is not funding a building, it is funding the opportunity to improve the quantity and quality of services that Hale Kipa will be providing. That resonates for me since that is exactly how I think about this complex. There are many things about the opportunities on Old Fort Weaver Road that are particularly appropriate for Hale Kipa. But it does begin with the fact that over a 12-year period we were patient, persistent, and that we persevered in the face of any number of obstacles not the least of which was the recession of 2007-2010.
I am also mindful that the project is reflective of the reality that it takes a community to make a difference. We have been extraordinarily fortunate to have the support of not only the volunteers from our Board of Directors who have assisted us in designing the campus as well as all of those who have assisted us in raising the money, but probably more importantly from all the donors who have expressed their confidence in our ability to continue to perpetuate our mission. Someone said to me recently, “I know it has taken many years and it has been a struggle to get to this place, but generations of youth and families will benefit from all of your collective efforts.” I felt that was a most fitting thing to say, since in reality that is how I feel about this project. It takes a village to raise a child and in this case the child is the OFWR complex. I do believe that Hale Kipa will be a more effective organization by virtue of our presence on Old Fort Weaver Road. We will be closer to those that we serve, we will be able to be part of the community, we will be able to assist our youth in integrating into the community in ways that are appropriate and meaningful to them and to the community. And I am most definitely confident that we can be value added as a community partner.
The ground breaking is symbolic. It is an important acknowledgement of one more critical step towards the completion of this project. More importantly it is another step towards creating the platform that will allow the organization over the many years to come to continue to respond to the current and emerging needs of the youths and families that we are privileged to serve.