Valley Dream Center set to open in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A new facility in East Central Fresno is getting to the heart of what it's community needs.

Eighteen months ago, Stephanie Gomez's life was hanging by a thread. Gomez says, "Before, I was a drug addict for 19 years. Not only that, I was also a prostitute."

After finally accepting help from the Valley Dream Center, Gomez saw her life change for the better. Stephanie Gomez says, "They've done so much. I have restoration with my family now. I'm employed, I'm financially dependent. I have my own place now with my husband."

Valley Dream Center is now hoping to make an even bigger impact with goals to change the lives of 42,000 at it's brand new facility. The non-profit is taking over the historic, former California Christian College campus on University and Winery streets. The Valley Dream Center will act as an umbrella organization for non-profits to help people in crisis. Valley Dream Center founder Rene Charest says, "Dozens of non-profits. And we can get those resources into the inner city and help get children and women and men out of generational poverty."

Their motto - "Rescue, Restore and Release." Volunteers hope to give gang members, drug addicts, battered women or whoever is in crisis - the help. That help could include housing, a fitness facility, rehab, or even classes to learn a new skill. Charest says, "You have classroom space, you have a wellness center, doctors and dentists will teach wellness, you have job vocational training, drug rehabilitation, culinary training."

Fresno Police officer Dave Standley will play an integral role at the center which is using the curriculum from his book Gangland Redemption. Standley says, "The need of the Valley Dream Center and the kinds of things that they do is addressing tomorrow's problem. It's a way for gang prevention rather than gang intervention."

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says, "I think the beauty of the Valley Dream Center is it's right here in the heart of a community that really needs it."

Officials are still in the process of purchasing this property. The Valley Dream Center will be open starting January 1st, 2016.
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