Sandpoint Community Resource EnVISION Center provides opportunities and resources for community members to flourish
By Trish Buzzone
Photo Courtesy of The Idaho Club
Sandpoint Community Resource EnVISION Center Executive Director Linnis Jellinek brought together 19 community stakeholders and dozens of local service organizations to give people immediate help and create generational change.
When I think about people with a heart for serving our community, I immediately think of Linnis Jellinek. I got to know Linnis shortly after moving to Sandpoint, and I was impressed with her vision for the Resource Center and her heart for creating generational change. Now that she and her team have brought that dream to life as the Sandpoint Community EnVision Center, I’m excited to celebrate the good being done and share how we can all get involved.
Linnis, who has a background of leadership in the financial sector, is also a volunteer at heart with a lifelong passion for service. When she and her husband, Greg, arrived in Sandpoint, it didn’t take Linnis long to find an opportunity to serve.
“We had only been here a few months before I began to notice areas where I might help. When people are just making it day-to-day, one unexpected problem can cause a serious, long-term crisis. They’re working hard, sometimes multiple jobs, and it’s still not enough. One accident, one illness, one bad break, and their life could spiral out of control. The Resource Center, which is entering its 11th year serving this community, is there to help them before that happens. If we meet one urgent need before it multiplies into too much for anyone to manage, we help people get to a point where they take action to create long-term change.
“The cycle of poverty is often generational. People learn it from their parents, their grandparents … They want better, for themselves and for their kids. Our goal is to give them those resources and show them those options.”
Linnis says one of the biggest barriers is logistical. “People may need help finding a job and food and medical care. They’re told ‘Go here,’ then ‘Go there and there and there’ … And every ‘there’ is on the other side of town. These people don’t have gas money. They can’t get to the resources. And, often, when they do, some places are only open a few hours a couple days a week.
“We could give them a gas voucher, as well as a schedule of who’s open and when. That helps with the immediate need …,” Linnis pauses, excited to share the mission of the new Sandpoint Community EnVision Center, which opened this past May, “Or, we could bring many of these resources together under one roof, find the gaps and the overlaps, create a place where people get a hand up, not just a hand out.
“Bringing these organizations together under one roof is more efficient for the client seeking help, and it optimizes resources for our community partners. They offer more help to more people, while creating more and deeper connections within the community.”
This strategy serves what Linnis says is the primary goal of the EnVision Center, helping people become self-sufficient, so they build a good life for themselves and pass those blessings on to the next generation.
“My heart, my goal, is to create real, generational change. Poverty is learned, and so is self-sufficiency. It requires an investment from both sides, the provider and the client, investing energy, effort and dedication to the process. That’s when real change happens.”
Thanks to the support of 19 community stakeholders and many dedicated volunteers, Linnis says the EnVision Center has room for eight nonprofits to operate full-time, and room for up to 25 organizations to come and go on a part-time basis. Together, they meet immediate needs and help people develop a plan to become self-sufficient.
“We deliver financial empowerment, educational advancement, health and wellness resources, and training to help people develop the character and leadership skills they need to be successful.”
Linnis adds, “We know this community won’t thrive unless everyone has the opportunity and resources they need to flourish. The EnVision Center is really an innovation center. We’re developing that blueprint to shift poverty trends and create real, long-term change. I invite anyone interested in making a difference and anyone who wants to learn more about what we’re doing to reach out to me directly.”
One way for everyone to immediately support the Community Resource EnVision Center is to join them for the CREC’s inaugural IdaHOPE Classic charity golf event on Monday, June 21, at the Idaho Club. Redman & Company stepped up as the title sponsor; and, recognizing the opportunity to invest in their community, 50 additional sponsors signed up, and the player roster was filled before the end of March.
The tournament may be sold out, but Linnis says there are still plenty of ways for people to invest in the vision of helping every person in Bonner and Boundary counties take positive, self-sustaining action to break the cycle of poverty and build a foundation for the next generation.
Supporters, sponsors and donors are invited to join CREC at the Idaho Club, starting at 5pm, for a fantastic barbecue dinner prepared by Chef Richard. Barbecue pork, fresh sides, delicious peach cobbler, and the company of people looking to make a difference in our community—all for $40 per person.
Guests will also have the opportunity to bid on stellar silent auction items and try their luck in the 50/50 raffle. All of this fun and fellowship will support the CREC’s efforts to bring community nonprofits together, fund their services, and help more people take real, long-term positive action to build better lives.
The Sandpoint Community Resource EnVision Center is located at 130 McGhee Road, Suite 220 in Sandpoint. Visit SandpointCommunityResource.com or email Executive Director Linnis Jellinek at LinnisJ@crecidaho.com.