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September 21 Fundraiser for The Dignity Center - Celebrate Triumph Over Adversity

Article by Claudia Kittock

I wrote the following article about The Dignity Center over a year ago, but asked Mill City Times to re-run it to spotlight this amazing group yet again, and to let people know about their September 21 fundraiser. This will be an incredible event for an organization that does such important work.

The Dignity Center - Working with People to Achieve and Maintain Stability

Located on the grounds of the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, the The Dignity Center is housed in a beautiful old mansion. Built in the 1930s and eventually donated to the church, the Center is open 3 mornings a week: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:00 – 11:30 AM. The front door remains locked, so that everyone who comes there is greeted by name and welcomed.

Mary Martin, the Director of Outreach, greeted me at the door and introduced herself. She is a dynamic and enthusiastic advocate for the work done here. The mission is to assist people to reach the goals they have in their lives by providing structure, support, and resources. It is free and open to all, but the requirement is for the people who come here to do the work. It is a unique relationship-focused program, and when people reach their goals they are welcome to volunteer at the Center.

When people enter the Center, they meet with an advocate to assess the nature of the problem and assist in setting steps needed to resolve that problem. The responsibilities of each client include:

  • Making and keeping appointments
  • Taking part in programs to help succeed
  • Following action plan and documenting progress
  • Staying clean and sober

The Dignity Center works with people to achieve and maintain stability. They work together on skills such as problem solving, decision making, organization and budgeting. Progress is measured as improved housing, improved financial situation, completed education and training, obtained employment, and supportive community.

In pursuit of its mission to support each person’s stabilization, the Center is a host site for the Volunteer Lawyers Network (VLN) brief legal services clinic. The on-site legal clinic allows clients to address their legal issues side-by-side with other issues creating instability in their lives. The VLN clinic is generally open on the same schedule as the Dignity Center.

At the VLN clinic, clients meet face-to-face with an attorney for approximately 30 minutes free of charge. The attorney will answer questions and/or refer people to other places for help. Clients will not receive any ongoing representation or ongoing services by the attorney. Any action taken after this meeting with the attorney is the client’s responsibility.

Attorneys can provide brief services, such as: writing a letter, making a phone call, obtaining specific information from a third party, drafting pleadings or a portion of pleadings, assisting in service of process, and providing written information regarding your legal issue and the next steps to take. Once again, any action taken after the meeting is the client’s responsibility unless a specific agreement has been crafted with the attorney in writing.

If you are interested in supporting the vital mission of this group, here are some ways to get involved:

1)     Learn more at

2)     Volunteer at

3)     Participate in their annual fundraiser at Westminster Presbyterian Church on September 21, 7-9 pm. JD Steele is the featured performer. The theme of the evening is “I’ve Come Up from Down” and is an event that you don’t want to miss.

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About Claudia Kittock

Claudia is a resident of the Mill District. In addition to writing for Mill City Times, she is a founding Board Member of Friends of the Mill District. Claudia is the author of Health Through Chaos, mentors young adults at YouthLink, and has served on the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA).


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