BOCA CHICA, Dominican Republic

The Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People has approved grants totaling $260,070 to 14 self-help projects in the United States.

The money is from the One Great Hour of Sharing offering.

Projects range from financial literacy education for newly arrived refugees in Maine to support for a group of residents in a low-income Puerto Rican neighborhood to create a landscaping service business.

Grants were approved at SDOP's national committee meeting in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic May 19-22.

The projects and grants:

Community Financial Literacy, Portland, Maine: $20,000 to provide this community of newly arrived refugees with financial education in English and in their language.

Greenhope Alumnae Association, New York, N.Y.: $20,000 to assist former and current graduates of Greenhope Services for Women reclaim their lives after experiencing incarceration, substance abuse, domestic violence and similar calamities.

Sunny Wolf Youth Services, Inc., Wolf Creek, Ore.: $18,000 — Many youth in this rural, isolated community live in homes with no electricity or running water and are struggling to finish high school. Those involved in the Youth Advancement Program are determined to finish high school and go to community college. This grant will assist in the purchase of computers, enhance their community center and provide adult supervision.

Trey's House, San Antonio, Texas: $16,000 — Members of this project are brain-injured people who have been out of rehab for five or more years and have encountered barriers in everyday living and in receiving health services. They come to Trey's Coffee House to increase their socialization skills through interaction with others. The SDOP partnership will assist them in maintaining their coffee house.

transcenDANCE Youth Arts Project, San Diego, Calif.: $20,000 — The youth of transcenDANCE  go through intensive technical training and personal exploration — through leadership development sessions, community-building activities and service projects — with the ultimate goal of creating an original performance that synthesizes their artistic strengths while addressing complex social issues that impact their community. With SDOP funds they will create an annual youth program called "EXPLORE/CREATE/ACTIVATE".

Anawim Center-Leadership Circle, Chicago, Ill.: $20,000 — By educating themselves and others on Native American culture, this group of indigenous people are working to change how others view Native Americans. This grant will assist in developing leadership skills and passing the native language on to the children.

Sudanese Cultural and Community Development Association, Omaha, Neb.: $20,000 — This group of Sudanese refugees was admitted to the United States with few resources and limited English skills. This grant will allow them to invest in their own training and prepare them for employment, thereby enabling them to become participants in the social and economic life of their new country.

Long Lasting Community Development Association, Columbus, Ohio: $20,000 to assist in the empowerment of low-income immigrant women from the Middle East and Southeast Asia through developing life and leadership skills.

United Men in Recovery Inc., Columbus, Ohio: $20,000 — This project will help close the divide with veterans by providing a continuum of care that deals with the dual diagnosis of mental health and drug addiction that can leave those who fought for our country fighting for their survival. The program provides residential and support services to meet the spiritual, social and economic/housing needs facing homeless veterans and their families.

B&J Services (Manuel A. Pérez Neighborhood), San Juan, Puerto Rico: $18,820 — Lack of economic opportunities and the social outcast of this neighborhood have grown during these difficult economic times. This project will benefit its members by allowing them to earn a sufficient income to maintain their dignity and support their families.

Joe's Ladder, Atlanta, Ga.: $ 7,800 — Members of Joe's Ladder are here because of life choices and/or mental health issues. They are attempting to turn their lives around through literacy, education and mentoring, which will result in them being gainfully employed and able to live independently.

Redemption After Prison, Inc., Atlanta, Ga.: $19,450 — The members of this group are men who were incarcerated from four to 20 years. They all acquired construction skills while in prison and are all now employed. Through this project, they are assisted in becoming homeowners by education in homeownership, savings/credit preparation and the redevelopment of foreclosed and abandoned houses.

ASL Advocates, Cleveland, Ohio: $20,000 — This group of visually and/or hearing impaired persons have developed training for themselves as well as helping organizations become more user friendly to persons with physical problems.

Emmanuel Residential & Commercial Painting, Duluth, Ga.: $20,000 — All of the members of this group are Bhutanese refugees that have formed a partnership to open a painting business. The men have had difficulty finding work because of poor or no English language skills. The business will benefit both the group members and their families by providing both consistent and long-term work for the members.

The following officers were elected:

Chairperson - Michael Fagans

Vice-Chairperson - Karen Finney    


International - Cornelius Blanding

Midwest- Bernadette Hightower-Hughes

Northeast- Oscar Heyward

South - Paul Bayerl

West - Joe Love-Nelson     


Church-wide Relations - Dianne Kareha

Community Relations - Selma Jackson, Karen Finney