URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Restoration Urban Ministries and its members are preparing for a celebratory event that commemorates 30 years of service to the local community. That’s why both the Executive and Assistant Directors joined us on the Morning Show a week in advance. They wanted to get the word out and invite anyone who can make it to join in on the festivities.

Pastor Ervin Williams is the Executive Director and co-founder of the ministry alongside his wife, Marilyn. On Friday morning, both he and Bonnie Craft Tolston, the Assistant Director, visited us to share their pride and excitement for Restoration Urban Ministries. Overall, their goal includes “providing a safe, loving Christian environment for the homeless, or those nearly homeless and their families.” That’s why they created a Transitional Housing Program that offers classes with a restorative design. Such as GED opportunities, financial management, employment counseling and even parenting skills if needed. There’s also a food pantry, clothing room and much more.

Pastor Williams did share that a transition period is coming for the ministry. On the day of this event, he will be stepping down as Executive Director of the group. But it’s a phase he says is beneficial because he’s passing the reigns to a more than capable leader, Bonnie herself. He shared that Bonnie went through the programs, she graduated and then returned. That’s when she was given the Assistant Director position and eventually earned her the title of the Director.

“Bonnie’s been with us for quite awhile. One of the things, when she first came, she and her husband came to the program and both did very well. They moved out and later on Bonnie came back to the program again but this time, she stepped into the role of working there. Then gradually moved up and finally became the best choice for us to be our next Executive Director.”

Restoration Urban Ministries also has Bible Study groups, addiction recovery groups and both men’s and women’s groups. You’ll also find plenty of success and graduation stories from the programs they offer on their website, which you can view here. That’s one of the many things they’ll celebrate at their anniversary event. Everything is scheduled for Saturday, March 18th at the Vineyard Church in Urbana. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. but the celebration starts at 6:00 p.m.

“We’re just excited because we do have keynote speakers, we have residents who were there before who have gone successfully through the program so they’ll share their testimonies. We’re also gonna have some singers there. Just a night of really celebrating who Restoration has been in our community. Not just for the residents but we’ve also made an impact on the community being able to service with food and things. We’re just there to celebrate what we’ve done in the 30 years through Christ.”

Now there are still plenty of ways to give back to Restoration Urban Ministries so they can continue their mission. Beyond financial donations, you can provide your “time, talents and treasures.” Those efforts include volunteering time with their food pantry and clothing room. You can also use your talents to tutor or mentor youth and help with case management counseling. Finally, treasures can be offered like small appliances, furniture and linens among other items to ensure those who leave the program have a promising foundation as they lead their new lives.

To show support to Restoration Urban Ministries and their programs, click here.

For more on Chesterbrook Preschool Academy as a whole, click here.