‘A safe place:’ In midst of busy Milwaukee neighborhood lies a space of tranquility

MILWAUKEE -- The Refuge Garden of Shechem at 26th and Capitol was opened to the public on Sunday, July 28. It is a little oasis helping facilitate healthy communities.

In the midst of a busy urban community lies a space of tranquility and serenity.

Lisa Perkins, a resident of Hope Street, said she's grateful for the new scenery -- and what the ministry there offers.

Lisa Perkins

"I have a sense of peace," Perkins said. "It's like, I just feel so free, and Hope Street helped me to be that way. They took me in when no one else would."

Executive Director Ashley Thomas said Hope Street Ministry provides supportive services and housing to men, women, and children coming out of brokenness.

"Together, we live, learn, and develop new habits that allow people to grow and flourish," Thomas said.

Refuge Garden of Shechem

Flowers blossomed on what would serve as the foundation for a new community center called Shechem.

"Shechem is from a biblical story, and it means refuge; a safe place people can gather from different locations," Thomas said.

While the progression toward building continued Sunday, people were able to walk through the beautiful space and learn about its meaning and purpose.

Refuge Garden of Shechem

Refuge Garden of Shechem

"There are seven stations along the way -- and each one represents a different room that will be inside of Shechem. With that, there is a story from the Bible," Thomas said. "There is stuff that happens in this community, but there is also beauty that happens too, so we want to draw attention to the fact that we are aware of what happened here, but the good things too --  and the ways that people are wanting to be about community and change."

Organizers said the hope was to break ground on the community center in winter 2019.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Hope Street, the Refuge Garden, and how the project is progressing. You can also support the project by making a donation online.

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