COLUMBIA - Christ in Motion Learning Center is working hard to re-open its doors by February 15 after losing sponsor support to cover utilities and other expenses. Raco Gates, founder and owner of the organization, is hopeful, though still struggling with the bills that forced the group to close last summer.
Christ in Motion was founded in 2008 and offered programs including an elderly care, assistance for public housing and a program to help employ teens. When funding became tight early in 2012, the group focused on its learning center, with hopes it would sustain the organization financially. The learning center was functioning and had students until summer of last year when bills were too much and the utilities and lights were turned off.
The learning center was forced to close, but the staff did not give up on its project. Staff members used money from their own pockets to cover costs and Gates said she gives up as much as 75 percent of her income to make sure the learning center re-opened. The staff worked by daylight to make improvements on the school, and raised funds to get lights and utilities back on.
John Williams, a Christ in Motion representative, said the loss of power was devastating. "It was hard to have people calling and telling them we could no longer provide services for them," Williams said.
After about four months in the dark, the group was able to restore power in October, and is continuing final improvements to get the school back open.
"We wanted to do it right this time. We used all of our resources to make it possible to re-open and have everything about the facility education-based," Gates said.
However, the organization is still struggling with power and utility bills and Gates said that is the only thing that will stop the center from re-opening.
"We are still having problems with utilities, but we are hopeful," Gates said, "We just want to be here for the community."
Christ in Motion is looking for grants and donations to help the learning center get on its feet.
For information on enrollment, or to donate, call 573-864-9697.