SC3 receives $250,000 grant from BCBS Foundation

Published 9:00 am Monday, October 17, 2022

Sulphur Christian Community Coalition (SC3) is putting grant monies where their mission is.

The local, grassroots nonprofit is the recipient of a Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation $250,000 Angels of Change Grant.

“Our vision is to break the multi-generational cycle of poverty and build a community where every child and adult will lead a healthy and purposeful life, in a safe and vibrant neighborhood, where residents choose to live, learn, work, worship, engage, play and serve,” said Paula Taylor, SC3 founder and director.

Not long ago, SC3 purchased the hurricane damaged historic Calcasieu Marine Bank in downtown Sulphur, in the heart of the community it serves. They’ve named the building the Keystone Family Center.

“Our community has indicated a desire for children and youth activities, so we are working with a professional team to develop creative spaces within this site designed to educate children and strengthen families,” Taylor said. “In a way, this space will be a microcosm of what we want for the community.”

Visioning came soon after Taylor’s family saw the movie, Encanto, known for its many layered topics including the transforming power of understanding, determination and compassion.

Elements under consideration include a multi-level playhouse, backyard pond, sand box and rope trees, a garden and kitchen cafe. Spaces are available for a computer lab, cultural arts center and performing arts stage.

“We purchased the building and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation grant money will make it possible to equip it,” Taylor said. “Now we look to our community and local businesses to help us revitalize our neighborhood and build a brighter future for the young minds here.”

The Keystone Family Center will become the newest piece in the SC3 Community Works Village that includes five social enterprises: Spokes and Sprockets Bicycle Garage, Sunny Side Up Cafe and Fork in the Road Food Truck, Cross Cut Woodworking Shop, Lydia & Lavender Boutique and the Imagination Studio Screen Printing. These workforce development modules  give students hands-on experience and provide summer internships and employment for students pursuing further education.

Over the last 25 years, The Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation Angel Award has recognized outstanding advocates for children across the state. Taylor was honored in 2015, making her eligible to apply for the foundation’s $250,000 Angels of Change grant.

A portion of the $250,000, three $35,000 grants, were awarded by SC3 to collaborative partners, a stipulation of the grant. Grant recipients were Loren Carriere at Hope for Opelousas, Dustin LaFont at Front Yard Bikes in Baton Rouge and Ken Brown with Peer Initiative, a Moss Bluff program. Taylor said she has worked with the first two organizations for some time and looks forward to working with Brown.

“Collaborating with these organizations allows us to see first hand some of the incredible work done across our state and glean ideas to take back home,” Taylor said. “Working together we can create innovative ways to improve and expand current programs and implement new programs to extend our community impact. We already have a collective bike ride and hike scheduled for Sam Houston Jones State Park.”