Howard Harding and Pam Leeper received plenty backlash about their plans to establish a church in Lawrence near 42nd Street and Post Road.
So in lieu of that, they opened a multi-purpose center, The Reset Center, to serve the community.
“We got so much pushback when we started meeting with the community with respects to a church being in the neighborhood, and they were very against it,” said Harding, executive director of The Reset Center. “So, we asked the question: What do you guys want? I said, ‘OK, let’s shift our focus.’ We began to shift our focus to more of what the community needed versus what we were doing.”
The Reset Center operates in a renovated church at 4330 N. Post Rd. Harding said The Reset Center’s focus is on day care, free community events and providing resources, among other missions.
Harding still has plans to add church services, but that won’t happen until next year. The Reset Center conducts a free Taco Tuesday night from 7 to 9 p.m. each week in the parking lot and feeds 200 to 500 people each week. The Lawrence Police Dept. has a presence on Taco Tuesdays to meet area residents in the area and enhance community relations.
“Basically, we are just trying to help the police and the community understand each others’ worlds and respect that,” Harding said. “Police have been vilified in such a way, it’s unreal.”
To help better that relationship, The Reset Center will conduct a Trading Places event Sept. 7 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Residents and police officers will role play to better understand each other.
Harding also wants to offer a Dress Up, Suit Up program to teach youth about the importance of dressing well for job interviews.
“Dress up is for the girls and suit up is for the boys. We will have two age groups, 10 to 14 and 15 to 19, and teach them some soft skills, like how to introduce yourself, how to shake hands, how to look people in the eyes and learn etiquette getting them prepared for a job,” said Leeper, the center’s CFO and community outreach manager. “We will help them draft up a resume.
“At the end of the program, we buy the boys suits and ties and the girls a dress or a slack outfit to go and do a job interview.”
Other programs include a bible study, free yoga classes, gaming nights and more. Because the center is in the middle of Lawrence’s heaviest Hispanic-populated area, the center also is offering free Spanish and English classes.
The day care, one The Reset Center’s few offerings that aren’t fee, will help fund the other programs. The day care will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday for kids ages 2 to 5.
The Reset Center will conduct a volunteer event from 9 to 11 a.m. Aug. 31 and provide breakfast to anyone interested in becoming volunteers. For those interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn about more upcoming events, call 317-991-5969.
The backwards “R”
The Reset Center, a 27,000-square-foot facility on 6.5 acres in Lawrence, recently opened to the public. The “R” in the word “Reset” is backwards.
“The Reset Center, the backwards ‘R’ is symbolic to the name of what we are doing,” Executive Director Howard Harding said. “With the backwards ‘R’ being the way it is, what we are hoping and praying and programming for is when you come in, we can turn that ‘R’ around and actually reset your life. It’s indicative of someone’s life going down the wrong path and (when) we turn the ‘R’ around, we turn their lives around.”