Our Mission, Vision, and Values


Our Mission, Vision, and Values
Our Mission
To break the cycle of poverty by connecting youth to their full potential.

Our Vision
To be a community hub for connection and empowerment. We will provide youth development programming alongside community aid initiatives in order to provide support in a holistic manner.

Our Core Values
Community, Empowerment, & Innovation

Our Facilities


The Connect Center is a 5,000+ sq ft retrofit project housed within a 130 year old cathedral. Ground was broken on the Connect Center in 2012. With no major donors, the project has been a labor of love over the past nine years and carries no debt. Project build out is currently estimated at 90% completion. Cost to date 700K. Current total project estimated fair market valuation is $4.2 M.

Downstairs, the Connect Center features a large co-working space, the Connect Kitchen, and the S.T.E.A.M. lab. The Connect Kitchen is a professional level kitchen certified for use through the Albany County Department of Health. The Connect S.T.E.A.M. lab currently consists of a music studio and a black box theater that we have shifted into the Connect Lab, a socially distanced education space for students who lack access to sufficient technology at home.

The Connect Center is currently working to complete the S.T.E.A.M. lab's technology and media rooms. The technology room will be a space where community members can learn about computers and coding. The media room will consist of a green room and movie making equipment. Additionally, the Connect Center is seeking funding to finish construction of the upstairs recreational portion of the center consisting of a multipurpose gym, a fitness area, a computer lab, a classroom, a recreation lounge, an office, and two bathrooms.

Timeline


 

The Good Ground Family Church is Formed

Rev. Wendell and Dona Williams form Good Ground Ministries International, Inc.

Learn MoreAug 01, 1998
 

Finding a New Home

Good Ground makes the historic St. Agnes Cathedral, a former Catholic Church in Cohoes, it’s permanent home.

Learn MoreMar 01, 2001
 

An Important Realization

Rev. Wendell and Dona Williams see the need for the city youth to have a safe destination to go to after school hours. This leads them to conceptualize the Connect Center for Youth.

Sep 01, 2009
 

Formally Established

The Connect Center is established as a not for profit 501(c)3 organization and work in collaboration with other local organizations, businesses and the school system to strengthen the Connect Center.

Jan 01, 2012
 

Ground is Broken on the New Connect Center

Rev. Williams begins leading the construction to create a recreational and education space for children in grades 6-12

Learn MoreJun 06, 2012
 

Ben Williams is named Executive Director

After the passing of Rev. Williams, his son, Ben, takes over as Executive Director with the goal of finishing construction of the Connect Center.

Dec 01, 2016
 

Ribbon Cutting for the Connect Classroom & Music Studio

The Connect Center finishes construction for the connect classroom and music studio and officially opens its doors

Feb 17, 2021

Our Team


Ben Williams

Executive Director

Supervises day-to-day operations and long-term planning

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Natalie Lincoln

Resource Development Coordinator

Responsible for fundraising and grant writing

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Elee Wolf

Director of Program Development

Handles programming and volunteer coordination

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Press


Connect Center opens new opportunities for Cohoes youth

A Times Union article outlining the history of the Connect Center leading up to the opening of the S.T.E.A.M. lab.

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Connect Center for Youth in Cohoes Continues Its Mission

A Spectrum News article describing the Ribbon Cutting for the Connect Center

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Cohoes opens youth technology and music space

A News10 article depicting the opening of the Connect S.T.E.A.M. lab.

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Connect Center Ribbon Cutting Press Release

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WORK UNDERWAY ON NEW COHOES CONNECT CENTER

Local news anchor takes a tour of the new and improved connect center- click here to see the full tour!

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Defunct Catholic church becoming Cohoes youth center

A 2015 article discussing the original construction plans of the connect center. Click below to learn more!

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