The pastor of Destiny Church in Springfield has the goal of raising “several hundred thousand dollars” so that a nonprofit organization that was founded by the church can open a “Dream Center” in the fall. The center will offer young people in Springfield the opportunity to take part in vocational classes at no cost or at a reduced cost.
Reverend Eric Hansen was quoted as saying to the Illinois Times, “It’s something that needs to happen in our community.”
On the Benedictine University campus in Springfield, Illinois, which had served as the location of Ursuline Academy, the Dream Center would conduct its operations in the Dawson and Weaver buildings.
Destiny Church, located at 1425 North Sixth Street, is currently conducting services on the campus and has future aspirations to buy the building. Destiny Church plans to purchase Dawson Hall, a three-story building located at 1500 North Fifth Street, as well as the connected Weaver Hall, from a nonprofit organization that was established by Tony Libri, a former Sangamon County Circuit Clerk. These acquisitions will be made through Dream Center Springfield.
The majority of Benedictine University’s buildings on its 25-acre campus are being purchased by Libri and his wife, Ann, on behalf of the couple’s charitable organization, Preservation Inc. Benedictine University is located in Lisle. The total amount of money that will be paid for the buildings and properties is something that Libri is not willing to share.
According to Libri, two of the buildings have already been transferred to the ownership of other developers. According to Libri, the structures include the George M. Brinkerhoff House, which was transformed into office space, and the King’s Daughters Home, which might be renovated into a location for assisted living.
Libri, who has since resigned from his career in government work, during which he served as the auditor for Sangamon County, has expressed his support for the objectives of Dream Center.
“The most essential gift we can give to the future is the youth that we have today,” he remarked.
Hansen’s nondenominational Christian church relocated to the location on the north end of Springfield and held its inaugural service there in March. Prior to the transfer, the church spent approximately one hundred thousand dollars on a new painting, carpeting, and signage.
After leaving iWorship Center in 2017, Hansen established Destiny Church. iWorship Center was once known as the First Assemblies of God Church. Worship Center, which is now known as Radiant Church and is located at 3200 Shaler Road, continues to function despite having new pastoral leadership and changing its name.
The services of Destiny Church used to be conducted at the Knights of Columbus Hall, which is located at 2200 Meadowbrook Road. However, the church has been renting space at the Town & Country Shopping Center for the past three years.
Hansen stated that he had been discussing his concept for Dream Center Springfield with individuals from Destiny Church over the course of the previous two years. According to him, all of these groups have shown their support for the idea, as has Lakeisha Purchase, the alderwoman who represents the community on the Springfield City Council as the representative for Ward 5.
“I like to construct things,” said Hansen, 59, a native of Bloomington who was born in Pekin and has lived in Springfield with his family for the past 30 years. Hansen and his family moved to Springfield 30 years ago.
Hansen is currently serving as the chief executive officer of Dream Center Springfield, which, according to him, will be patterned somewhat after Dream Center Peoria. This nonprofit organization has its headquarters in a facility that was formerly used as a YMCA in the heart of Peoria, and it provides a wide range of services to those with low incomes and young people.
Hansen, while speaking at the Dream Center in Springfield, however, stated that “education will be our major aim.” It is going to be a learning resource center.” According to the report that the organization filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Form 990 for the fiscal year that ended in December 2020, the yearly revenue of the Peoria nonprofit organization was $2.6 million.
According to John King, a retired pastor and one of the founding members of the Peoria Dream Center, the Peoria Dream Center is affiliated with the Riverside Community Church in Peoria.
Hansen’s aims were described as “great” by King, who serves on the board of directors of the Dream Center in Springfield. According to King, there are never enough programs available to assist low-income residents and young people.
According to Hansen, even though Dream Center Springfield will be associated with a church, those who are served will not be obliged to take part in religious services, and individuals of all faiths and backgrounds will be welcome.
According to him, the Dream Center would begin its operations on a modest scale by purchasing Dawson and Weaver halls and remodeling a few classrooms within the combined 44,000 square feet of space that the two buildings offer. According to Hansen, the Dream Center would provide high school kids with after-school instruction on a variety of trades. The goal of this instruction would be to pique the student’s interest in working and to get them ready for trade schools.
He stated that he intends to make contact with Springfield School District 186 and Midwest Technical Institute in order to examine potential ways in which Dream Center may collaborate with them.
Bible school classes for adults interested in Christian vocations and ministry, as well as classes for elementary and secondary school students interested in careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, are also scheduled to take place in Dawson Hall, which was originally constructed in 1929, and Weaver Hall, which was constructed in 1961. Both of these buildings are slated for reuse. Hansen has stated that he anticipates being able to recruit an executive director for Dream Center within the next week or two. According to him, the responsibilities of this individual will include seeking prospective funding from governmental and private grants and foundations as well as focusing on the technicalities of the startup itself.
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