Special to the Journal
Bridgett Mack has a passion.
She has made that passion a mission as director of the Family Empowerment Center in East Albany, a community organization focused on “Empowering Families, Enhancing Lives.”
Mack delivered a powerful message to the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County on October 7 about the center’s goals and the personal and community needs it strives to meet.
“It’s my passion and it’s my baby,” she exclaimed.
The Family Empowerment Center is a nonprofit performing arts community center and extended program of GO Ministries, a nonprofit Christian performing arts organization founded in 2006 by Mack and her husband Travis. GO Ministries, according to information provided by Mack, is dedicated to empowering disadvantaged families by providing them with the creative tools needed to succeed economically, socially, and ethically.
Among other aspects of FEC’s vision are: becoming a safe haven of recreation and support for local youth and families; stimulating community development and economic growth; promoting higher learning and job training and retention; promoting healthy living through parenting classes and an abstinence program; and raising awareness of the resources available from local organizations to those in need.
Mack said the goal is to provide families with positive role models and help them identify positive objectives. She said she has come to realize that “a lot of times people can’t move forward because they’re stuck in the past,” and added, “We have to look forward and beyond.”
Among the shocking examples of situations she has encountered are an 11-year-old who was pregnant and lost the baby on her 12th birthday and a mother who would “dress up” her early-teen daughter suggestively to obtain alcohol from a store clerk.
Mack urged community members to become proactive in solving community issues. “Until you become part of the solution you are part of the problem,” she stated. She related that in past dealings with the city of Albany, “some officials” – she emphasized “some” – had basically stated that some parts of Albany have been declared a lost cause.
Mack noted that it costs the community $24 a day to educate a child, but $53 daily to house a jail inmate. If FEC could prevent 20 people a year from going to jail, she said, it would mean a savings of $386,900 annually for taxpayers.
Expectations play a role in setting and achieving goals, Mack believes. To counter people who say they can’t, “we need more people who say ‘You can and you will.’”
To enable individuals and families in the community, the Family Empowerment Center has established programs in a number of areas, including job readiness and computer training, senior citizen activity classes, a “Detention to Prevention” rehabilitation program, art classes, drama camps, the “I Choose to Wait” abstinence program, life-skill workshops, safety training and crime prevention, community productions and recreation, and community and economic development.
Additional information about the Family Empowerment Center can be found online at www.familyempowermentcenter.org. The center is located at 2200B East Oglethorpe Avenue.
Family Empowerment Center executive director Bridgett Mack speaks with Kiwanis DoCo member Will Davis following her presentation on November 7.