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: Building support and trust between neighbors.
  • Empowerment: The opportunity to discover one's own strength and confidence.
  • Innovation: Encouraging creativity and outside the lines thinking and problem solving.
Our Mission, Vision, and Values

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.

The Connect Center is currently working to complete the S.T.E.A.M. lab's technology hub and Stage 49, the media rooms. The technology hub will be a space where community members can learn about computers and coding. Stage 49 will consist of a green room and movie making equipment along with an editing room. 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.

Our Story


 

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
 

The Connect Center mourns the loss of its originator, Rev. Wendall Williams

After Rev. Williams passing, there was a hiatus on progress at the Connect Center.

Learn MoreAug 02, 2016
 

Ben Williams is named Executive Director

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

Jan 01, 2018
 

Construction Begins on the New STEAM Lab

After a several year hiatus, new construction begins at the Connect Center. Ben documents the start in the video embedded here!

Learn MoreFeb 02, 2020
 

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
 

New Programming Initiatives Begin

New program series' like FIRST LEGO League, BPM Music Production Workshops, and Financial Literacy workshops begin in the Connect Center.

Mar 09, 2021
 

The First Summer of STEAM Begins!

The Connect Center starts its summer-long free program series for the community.

Jun 28, 2021