Donation includes materials; Pokagon Band apprentices will complete the work
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians is pleased to announce that it is donating a new roof for the New Birth Christian Ministries Church, located at 749 Harrison Avenue in South Bend. The Pokagon Band is also covering the cost of all necessary materials for the roof. Pokagon Citizens enrolled in the Tribe’s Carpenter Apprenticeship Program are providing labor for the project, expected to be finalized in October.
“A new roof is critical for the continued operation of our church,” said Rev. Cory L. Gathright, Sr., Pastor at New Birth Christian Ministries. “I thank Chairman John Warren and all Pokagon Citizens for their generosity and willingness to support the members of the community that attend our services and participate in our programs. We are proud to be part of this great community in which the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians have called home for hundreds of years.”
“When we met Rev. Gathright, we were impressed with the good work of his church, and its potential to expand that work in this inspiring building once the roof is repaired,” said John P. Warren, Chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. “As native people, we understand community needs, and the Pokagon Band is proud and fortunate to be in a position to give back to South Bend’s neighborhoods.”
New Birth Christian Ministries is a 13 year-old congregation that began meeting at the building on Harrison Avenue in March of 2014. Pastored by Rev. Gathright, the fellowship serves as a catalyst for strengthening and improving the community in which it’s located with service programs for neighbors. In addition to assistance to community members with clothing and food, the congregation opens the church’s gym to neighborhood youth for basketball, boxing, and other activities.
As active members of the South Bend community, the Pokagon Band has made donations to several worthy organizations including South Bend public broadcasting and the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce. Through its Four Winds® casinos, the Pokagon Band has made donations of $187,000 to Memorial Children’s Hospital over the past three years as a result of the Four Winds Invitational, which is a stop on the Symetra Tour – Road to the LPGA®. The Pokagon Band also reached an agreement for naming rights to Four Winds Field, home of the South Bend Cubs, which enabled the team to make capital improvements to the stadium without using funds from taxpayers.
Chairman Warren added, “We’re also glad to give our apprentices an opportunity to work on this project. On-the-job training is a key factor in the Apprenticeship Program, and having such work experience on a historic, nearly 90 year-old structure will broaden their skills.”
The Pokagon Band’s four-year apprenticeship program is a combination of on-the-job learning and related classroom instruction at Southwestern Michigan College. Apprentices must complete 8,000 hours of on-the-job training over the course of the four year program.
About The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians’ sovereignty was reaffirmed under legislation signed into law by President Clinton in September of 1994. The Pokagon Band is dedicated to providing community development initiatives such as housing, education, family services, medical care and cultural preservation for its approximately 4,900 citizens. The Pokagon Band’s ten county service area includes four counties in Southwestern Michigan and six in Northern Indiana. Its main administrative offices are located in Dowagiac, Mich., with a satellite office in South Bend, Ind. In 2007, it opened Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, Mich., followed by Four Winds Hartford® in 2011 and Four Winds Dowagiac® in 2013. More information is available at www.pokagonband-nsn.gov.