Heart of the High Plains: A Creative Solution to Homelessness

Heart of the High Plains

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Since it began five years ago, the PARC has helped homeless people in Amarillo change from the inside out.

Touting a 67 percent success rate, the word about the work done at the center is getting out. Now, the PARC needs to grow.

“I experienced homelessness in New Mexico,” said PARC member, Jordan Wimberly. “I came back home thinking it could be different, but old haunting kind of follow you where you go.”

While living in the Salvation Army shelter, Wimberly has spent his days for the last month at the PARC. He spends time with friends, going to bible study, and taking different classes. He calls it “overwhelmingly joyful.”

“We are a place for people to come that are homeless, but we do relationship,” said PARC Executive Director Valerie Gooch.

Creativity is encouraged. Politeness and compassion required.

“Even if it’s as simple as coloring something, it helps them to start focusing again. That process of being creative helps minds to open,” said Gooch. “It’s almost like you can watch dreams that they had before bubble up again.”

=It turns out, though, attendance is also bubbling over.

“Like today, we ran out of chairs. We’re like, ‘I’m sorry, but they still stayed,'” said Gooch.

The PARC officials are currently raising money to purchase the land behind the facility to expand. They need the money quickly — $225,000 by December.

“I really believe we are a huge part of the rebuilding of downtown Amarillo. I just want people to invest in that. When you invest in the PARC, you invest in the city.”

Part of those fundraising efforts includes the fourth annual One-on-One Art Show.

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