The Turlock City Council approved an agreement July 8 between the City and Turlock Gospel Mission to utilize volunteers to help provide routine maintenance in Turlock parks and facilities.
Allison Van Guilder, Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Manager, said that both organizations are very excited to begin working together and that she believes all stakeholders will benefit.
The Turlock Gospel Mission exists to provide Turlock's homeless and hurting with shelter and services, including an evening meal ministry, shelter for women and children during the cold months and a homeless assistance center, known as the HAM center, to offer support and encouragement during the day.
With the City’s limited resources, the volunteers will provide much needed help to parks and facilities while developing job skills for themselves.
The idea for the partnership was sparked by City staff witnessing the success of the Turlock Gospel Mission’s partnership with the Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association, where volunteers from the Turlock Gospel Mission provide maintenance services downtown.
According to Van Guilder, the services within that partnership include picking up trash, cleaning up graffiti, and other jobs of that nature.
“I see a tremendous value in exploring a partnership with Turlock Gospel Mission for similar type services,” said Van Guilder. “We’ve been meeting with representatives from Turlock Gospel Mission to discuss this agreement and arrangement.”
Van Guilder sees it as a win-win for the two entities.
“We feel that we have great measures in place to ensure the success and the safety of all stakeholders involved. There will be adequate screening for all the participants, they’ll be supervised while on site, and we will also have a staff member there to oversee and provide direction with whatever the maintenance assignment is for the day.”
Liability for injury or unintended damage that may occur during the work would be completely carried by the Turlock Gospel Mission and not by the City, according to the agreement, which Van Guilder explained was thoroughly vetted by City Attorney Phaedra Norton.