Breaking ground, poverty cycle, ‘We want every child, adult to lead a healthy, purposeful life’

Published 9:00 am Monday, November 21, 2022

Sulphur Christian Community Coalition (SC3) celebrated the beginning of work on its Keystone Center, “Backyard Learning Space” and Crimson Cottage with a special groundbreaking ceremony Friday.

“What’s the Keystone Center? I think that’s the most asked question lately,” said Joanne Coleman, director of empowerment programs for SC3. “To understand, you have to understand the vision of SC3 — to break the multi-generational cycle of poverty that plagues our community. We want every child and adult to lead a healthy and purposeful life. We want our neighborhoods to be safe and vibrant, a place where people choose to live and learn, worship, engage and serve.”

The Keystone Center will be one of the properties where SC3 makes that happen.

Not long ago, SC3 purchased the hurricane-damaged historic Calcasieu Marine Bank in downtown Sulphur, at the southeast corner of Ruth and Napoleon streets. They have renamed that building, the Keystone Center. Plans include hands-on learning opportunities for youth, a computer lab, and a cultural arts center that includes a stage. Families will be strengthened through engaging activities and events, Coleman said.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation donated $250,000 to equip the Keystone Center.

“It’s our mission at the Blue Cross Foundation to help improve the health and wellness of Louisiana’s communities, and we can think of no better example than what we have here,” said Chloe Wiley, BCBS Foundation.

Over the last 25 years, the foundation’s Angel Award has recognized outstanding advocates for children across the state. Paula Taylor, SC3 founder and director, was honored in 2015, making her eligible to apply for the foundation’s $250,000 Angels of Change grant.

Citgo also donated $15,000 to SC3 for the project.

“I’ve had the privilege to participate in a few SC3 events in the last few months. Your website begins with, ‘Love Changes Everything.’ That’s exactly what you’re doing,” said Sterling Neblett, VP and general manager of Citgo.

Entergy’s Customer Service Specialist Lorena Caesar presented a check for $1,500 to SC3 on behalf of Entergy.

The Rev. Sean Barron is outreach coordinator for SC3 and associate pastor of the ROC Church in Sulphur. He became involved with SC3 when he realized the ROC’s goals and SC3s goals were similar — to empower and love people where they are and to get the community to work together, regardless of religious affiliation, not just to help the poor but to help in a way that changes lives and outcomes.