Ark of Safety reaches out in a new way
Sherry and her husband, Cliff Farrington, are co-pastors of Ark of Safety Christian Church, a nondenominational church previously located on West Chapel Hill Street. The church is on Humphrey Street now, and three miles away is a new way to reach out to youth: The Ark Enrichment & Resource Center for Youth and Families. The Ark center, which branched off from their Ark of Safety Outreach Ministry, opened in June at 612 Gary St. off Liberty Street. The one-story building has rooms for tutoring, a computer lab, office space and basement kitchen and area for group events. Sherry Farrington’s sister and daughter run a beauty parlor and hair salon next door, and told her the building was available.
“I knew my purpose was to continue working with kids and families, and the building had everything I needed,” she said. In 14 years of ministry, the Farringtons have seen a lot of souls saved, she said. But she wanted to reach out and do more, not faith-based. “Not everybody’s going to come to church. I wanted to reach out to the community in different ways,” she said.
There’s a storage room that she hopes to fill with things donated by corporate sponsors or others.
“I want to have things to give,” Farrington said, including household goods, food and clothes. She needs a mini van to use to transport those who want to come to the center. Right now, all they can provide are referrals, but she hopes for more.
Farrington said the nonprofit Ark center is for anyone in need.
“We really want to target those who are struggling,” she said. They want to help one family at a time.
After having three birth children, the Farringtons became foster parents and adopted five more children. They have a 7-year-old and 16-year-old at home, as well as their 23-year-old son who has special needs.
The Ark will be a place for youth to go after school for tutoring and some Friday nights for movies and anti-gang workshops. Families first complete an application, are interviewed, and then connected to services. Farrington wants everything to be free.
“People don’t have $10 an hour for tutoring. Why not offer a free program, because some parents struggle with financing. I want to reach out to the community that wants to help with programs such as this. I want to ask for donations, one time or monthly,” Farrington said. She also hopes to offer a GED program like she hosted at their former church location. Five people are already on a waiting list to do it, she said.
“There are families that want to succeed and don’t know how,” Farrington said. She wants to help get them on the road to success.
“I know it can happen, because it happened with my family,” she said.
The Ark will host a Back to School event from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the center. There will be entertainment, school supplies and free food. The public is invited.
“My overall goal is to be able to, instead of referring to social services, have it where we can pay a light bill or people’s rent. Hopefully through grants and donations we’ll be able to do it. For now, we’ll do referrals,” Farrington said.
HOW TO HELP:
The Ark Enrichment & Resource Center needs donations and volunteers. Financial donations can be made out to The Ark of Safety Outreach Ministry, 612 Gary St., Durham, N.C. 27703. Contact Sherry Farrington at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-908-1030.
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