Tuesday, 07 July 2015 15:14

Transformation Montgomery: Transforming Our City One Neighborhood at a Time

Written by  Mandy Pascal
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“Christ has no body on Earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours.  Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.”

–Saint Teresa of Avilla


A few years ago, an organization began in Montgomery that has become the true hands and feet of Christ.  Transformation Montgomery is a faith-based community development organization that has focused its thoughts and efforts on the Garden Square neighborhood located in the Chisholm area of north Montgomery.  In this area, they have transformed not just houses for families to move into, but also the lives of these families.

A three-pronged approach to holistic, sustainable life-change for families, individuals, and communities in poverty is used by Transformation Montgomery:



Step 1: Affordable Home Ownership

Through this process, vacant houses are purchased, or sometimes even donated, and completely renovated.  This is done mostly through volunteer labor which helps keep the cost of the renovation down.  By doing this, Transformation is able to use a rent-to-own and zero-percent interest mortgage process.



Step 2: Life Skills Training

The life skills training program that is used is called Getting Ahead.  It is a 16-week workshop where participants begin by conducting a self-analysis and figuring out just where they need help, and then using the resources they have to work on it.  During this process, members of the Transformation Montgomery team walk hand and hand with them and let people know they are with them all the way.  They extend help in areas such as finance, education, job skills, family relations, practical day to day living and spiritual components. Currently Getting Ahead is being held at Frazer United Methodist Church. 



Step 3: Community Renewal

Transformation Montgomery realizes that in order for true change to be made, they have to extend further than just the people participating in the program, they also have to get out into the community.  By doing this, they are able to develop relationships and build trust.


Transformation Montgomery uses many resources while trying to make a difference in peoples lives, families and communities. The 11 resources they focus on are: Financial, Emotional, Mental, Language, Social, Physical, Spiritual, Trust, Motivation, Relationships, and Knowledge.


“We know we cannot save the entire city,” explains Coordinator of Adult Activities, Peggy Spaeth.  “God asks us to become His hands and feet, and through Transformation Montgomery that is what we are trying to do.  Helping one person could, in turn, lead to them being able to spread their story and help many others just like them.”


Since the program began, there have been a lot of changes.  The team has learned that they have to put themselves in their participants’ shoes and learn to relate.  Relationships are the key component to any organization, and Transformation is no exception to that rule. 


“We are learning just as much as our participants,” said Spaeth.  “It is a day by day process.”




Serving the Children

“We have spent so much time addressing the adults and their living situation, but what are we doing for the children?” asked the Coordinator of Youth and Children’s Activities, Debbie Peavy.  “After we thought long and hard about that, we decided to begin a scaled down version of the Getting Ahead program for the children.”


Through this process, Transformation Montgomery took the Getting Ahead curriculum for the adults and made activities that children would understand.  Their hope in doing this is for the children to take what they have learned and bring it home and talk about it with their parents.  Change begins in the heart, and if people realize their children are eager to change, they are more likely to be receptive to what is being shown to them.


There are many activities available for the children. This summer, there is a “Splash into Summer” day camp being held at Transformation Montgomery.  This camp is free of charge and open to any children who wish to participate.  The children are split up by age and participate in activities that appeal to them.   From science projects, to learning to film and produce music videos, to fashion design and dance, there is a little something for everyone.


“All of our summer camp activities are enrichment activities,” said Peavy.  “I do not want to host a camp where the children only play kick ball all day, or do nothing but read.  Rather, I want to do activities that enrich their minds and share the gospel with them along the way.”



Volunteers Are Always Needed

Transformation Montgomery would not be in the great shape it is today if it were not for volunteers.  “We can always, always, always use volunteers,” said Spaeth and Peavy.  There is no long term commitment when it comes to volunteering.  Any help they receive is always greatly appreciated. 


Just like the summer camp activities, there is something for everyone to get involved with as a volunteer.  From providing meals, to providing transportation, to spending time at summer camp helping out in any way possible, you can be used.


“If you want to work, I’ll find a place to plug you in,” said Spaeth.


To learn more about Transformation Montgomery or to inquire about becoming a volunteer you can visit their website at www.transformationmontgomery.com or call Peggy Spaeth at 334-224-1048. 


With your help, Transformation Montgomery can continue “transforming our city one family, one house, one neighborhood at a time through affordable home ownership, holistic life skills training and relational community renewal.”



Mandy Pascal is a freelance writer with a journalism degree from Troy University.





Last modified on Monday, 13 July 2015 15:20
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