In 1974, Father John Robert Coleman of St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Canton established an outreach ministry dedicated to helping Stark County’s most vulnerable populations: children and the aging in the low- to medium-income brackets.
Forty-five years later, the organization bears his initials—JRC—and remains dedicated to assisting children, elderly, and their families. And although has not been formally associated with any church since the 1980s, it still bases its mission on faith.
“We were called J.R. Coleman until 2013, when we rebranded as JRC,” says Executive Director Tom Thompson. “But we still provide the same core services, including early childhood education, senior housing, day care for seniors, and assistance in repairing and remodeling homes for those in low- to medium-income brackets.”
Although JRC still provides many of the same core services, it has had to adapt to meet new challenges as the composition of the Stark County population has changed.
“Soon, more than 20 percent of all Stark County residents will be 65 or older,” Thompson says. “With an aging population comes an increased need to provide services specific to their needs. As people are living longer, we’re seeing an increase in the number of people dealing with dementia and physical limitations.”
JRC is answering the need by expanding its facilities. It recently purchased a second building, adding 10,000 square feet of space in which to provide services including an adult day care center expansion, and an early education center for children from birth through preschool in the same facility. The organization currently assists about 300 people per year, a number that Thompson expects to nearly double.
An assist from the community
While JRC has grown and adapted to meet the changing needs of the county’s population, it hasn’t done so alone. Community-minded companies and organizations, such as Huntington, have helped JRC accomplish its mission.
Huntington was a major financial donor to JRC’s expansion efforts, contributing to the purchase of its second building, located in northwest Canton. The bank’s employees also donate their time.
“This past year, they brought in a team from Canton to work with three preschool classes, playing games with them and teaching them some basics about the value of money,” Thompson says. “The year before, they worked with our adult day care center. It means a lot to have an organization that sees the needs in our community and gets involved in that way.”
About the organization
Phone: (330) 455-3873
Mission: To enrich lives through educating children, engaging seniors and strengthening community
How you can help
To volunteer or donate to JRC, visit jrccares.org and click on the "donate" menu at the top of the screen.