A building in the simplest of terms is a man-made structure with a roof and walls. For those who visit Interfaith Works in Syracuse, this particular structure is more meaningful; it’s an instrument of peace. In a world where people are often divided, the center builds bridges of understanding to unite people of different beliefs and religions.
“Our agency addresses deeply embedded social divisions informed and influenced by the values and ethics of faith traditions,” said InterFaith Works president and CEO, Beth Broadway. “We work with the community to find common ground on issues.”
Utilizing the tools of cross-cultural dialogue, Interfaith Works aims to generate life-changing experiences leading to actions that create a more equitable and loving community. The agency offers social service programs to address the needs of those who are vulnerable or low-income, and programs that attend to the needs of frail elderly, and those in prisons, hospitals, and nursing homes.
After 38 years of serving the Syracuse community from multiple smaller locations, Interfaith Works relocated to a new space on James Street that allows the agency to house all of its programs under one roof. With the help of a Community Foundation grant, the organization was able to complete building renovations.
“We now have a building that will position the agency for the important work ahead,” said Broadway. “It has truly allowed us to expand and enhance all of our refugee and community-building activities.”
The organization works with approximately 2,200 individuals each year through its Community-Wide Dialogue and Refugee Resettlement programs to address an array of needs within the Syracuse community. The new and considerably larger office on James Street has made it possible for the agency to meet an increasing demand for its programs including its expanded offerings of refugee services.
The office also features a multipurpose community room for large group dialogue sessions and community meetings, workshop rooms for intergroup dialogue sessions, and space for English-as-Second-Language, civics, citizenship test preparation, family literacy, and employment assistance classes.
Interfaith Works plays an integral role in uniting people of varying religious beliefs that have struggled to coexist for centuries. Its new building cultivates a melting pot of religions, ethnicities and languages to commune peacefully and collaborate collectively. In a short time, this building has become a symbol of the Central New York community’s willingness to cooperate and unite for a greater cause.