About

Looking Glass Community Outreach is a community based, non-profit agency located in the southwest corner of Shiawassee County, Michigan. LGCO collaborates with individuals & families, groups, local churches and other agencies to enable & empower those in need to tear down any barriers that may cause them to feel alone and isolated from the community as a whole. Some ways we achieve this is by providing the following programs:

Volunteer Taxi Program to provide free or low cost rides to people in our service area that have transportation issues

Community garden program is located at the Moon Lake Mobile Home Park. Residents of Moon Lake, Quiet Cove and near by can sign up for a plot in the garden for free.

Emergency Relief program that provides a modest amount of financial assistance to help prevent evictions due to back rent issues, utility shut-offs, and similar emergency issues.

Book Partner Mentor/Tutor program at the Perry Elementary School provides one on one mentoring for 2nd graders who are below the 2nd grade reading level at the beginning of the school year

Ramp program which helps to coordinate the purchase of materials and the recruiting of volunteers to build ramps for those on limited incomes who need them.


History

Back in the late 1990s a group of about a dozen people formed a steering committee to explore forming a faith-based nonprofit to serve the needs of low-income families in the southwest corner of Shiawassee County. There were representatives from St. Isidore Catholic Church, Laingsburg United Methodist Church, Laingsburg Congregational Church, Shaftsburg United Methodist Church and the Community Bible Church in Shaftsburg.
The General Board of Global Ministries (the mission arm of the United Methodist Church) has a model for outreach ministry in inner cities and rural settings called Church & Community Ministry. It was a lengthy and complex process which took the steering committee about a year and a half to complete. In the fall of 2000, we received word that our proposal was approved, with full funding for 3 years, to help us get established. One of the members of the steering committee, Rev. Dave Draggoo (a former minister in the Methodist Church on Honorable Location) was Commissioned as a Methodist Missionary and was assigned as the first full time director of Looking Glass Community Services. At the end of that 3-year period, the Detroit Conference of the United Methodist Church took action to pick up half of the support for this mission project.
The first year the Book Partners Mentor Tutor program and the Volunteer Taxi were launched, and the next year the Community Garden was constructed. A summer youth program built a set of playground equipment one year and built several ramps for folks in the mobile home neighborhood. We later graduated to having an office in what used to be the store at Moon Lake, with an Administrative Assistant, Summer Interns from Baker College and an AmeriCorps Vista worker for a couple years. A gentleman from Lansing had a Computer Build program in our space where he took old computers and built new ones to give to folks in the neighborhood. We also had a couple dedicated computers hooked up to Michigan Works in Owosso where local residents could do job searches. For several years there were summer programs for children in the neighborhood along with the teen program.
Around 2010, the 2nd missionary who had been assigned to this project married and moved to the east coast. There were only about 40 Church & Community missionaries in the country at that time and a replacement could not be found. The administrative assistant became the interim director for 2-3 years at which time she moved out of the area. At this same time a significant funding stream came to an end.
LGCO was about to disband when Dave Draggoo (the retired first director) and Rev. Melanie Young (a United Methodist Minister who was on Ministerial Leave at the time) attended an LGCO board meeting. Discovering that there was still a strong board with an interest in continuing to serve, Rev. Young volunteered to guide the group through a re-visioning process. The result was the development of a model where local churches and service groups could become partners with LGCO by appointing a member of their church or organization to be a voting board member and be willing to make an annual donation to LGCO. You can see the members (Partners) here of this new coalition or by clicking on the Partners button on the Home page.
In 2017, to reflect that this transition had been successfully completed, we filed a DBA (Doing Business As) with the state and we changed our name from Looking Glass Community Services to Looking Glass Community Outreach. During this time period, Rev. Melanie Young went back into full time ministry and moved to Ludington, MI. Dave Draggoo volunteered to step back in and is currently the Volunteer Director of LGCO.
Maintaining an office was no longer necessary plus it was a significant drain on our finances. To address this problem the office was vacated, and files and still usable equipment were moved to the homes of volunteer director and the treasurer. So, we have been a “virtual organization” long before the Covid-19 pandemic. A case in point is that our webmaster used to be a member of our board. However, he moved back to Florida over a year ago, and he is still volunteering his valuable service to us from there.
You can learn more about us by looking through this website.
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