Project Connect plants the seed at first-ever event
BULLHEAD CITY — A variety of service providers came together Saturday to educate the community on the resources offered in the Tri-state at the first-ever gathering of Project Connect.
The event, held in the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce, was cosponsored by Catholic Charities, Unity Spiritual Center of Mohave Valley and Hope United Methodist Church.
The annual “Recovery in the Park” occurred nearby in Community Park midway through Project Connect. People heading to the parking lot outside the chamber building were welcomed into the air conditioned event after spending time in the summer heat.
Many of the groups and agencies spent up to six hours reaching out to those interested in services from the Arizona Youth Partnership to Northern Arizona University Senior Programs.
“As word grows, we hope it will become a permanent fixture,” said Jackie MacKenzie, one of the event’s organizers. “But we have to plant the seed first.”
Arthur Valentine, a youth development coordinator with the Arizona Youth Partnership, is involved with the Strengthening Families Program, which is for parents and young people ages 10-14. It teaches the importance of implementing love and limits in a family to make it a stronger unit, he said.
Valentine also works with youths at Harbor House. While at the youth residence, teens can study to obtain their high school diplomas or GEDs.
They also may “get a job, learn about life and relationship skills with the help of caring adults,” Valentine said.
Recently, he said, he took a young man for a haircut and to buy a new pair of eyeglasses. They stopped at a mini market for snacks and came upon some homeless men.
“We got them some lunch, too,” Valentine said.
It not only was an act of compassion but also a way to display humbleness, he said.
Valentine used the opportunity as a teaching moment, “to see what it was like not to have clothes, food, a shower.”
Other groups with tables out at Project Connect included The Guardian Foundation, American Legion, United Healthcare and Arizona Department of Economic Security.