C-U at Home founder heading to Colorado


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CHAMPAIGN — Melany Jackson, the founder and executive director of C-U at Home, said Wednesday that she will leave the agency and community to move to Colorado Springs, Colo., in early September.

She doesn't have plans for a new job yet, Jackson said, but "the word I got from the Lord is 'rest.'"

The 47-year-old Jackson sold her belongings to start C-U at Home about six years ago and got the agency up and running originally to serve the most vulnerable people living on the streets of Champaign-Urbana.

C-U at Home currently operates primarily through its Phoenix Drop-In Center at 34 E. Green St., C.

Its signature fundraiser each February, One Winter Night, is an overnight sleep-out in downtown Champaign in which volunteers spend a night sleeping in boxes to help support the agency's work. This year's One Winter Night raised $230,000, with $222,000 left after expenses, Jackson said.

C-U at Home has a managing director, Rob Dalhaus, who was hired last September. Leadership decisions for the agency after she leaves haven’t been determined, Jackson said.

She fell in love with Colorado Springs when she first visited in 2005 and has wanted to move there ever since, according to Jackson.

While she's hearing a message to rest, Jackson said things have never been better right now, with more help at C-U at Home and more energy.

"I think rest for the whole six years, whole period of my life," she said.

Whatever it is that she's being asked to do next by God, "I'm waiting on him to reveal it to me," Jackson said.

She said she expects to miss Champaign-Urbana, her home for the past 20 years.

It's "a lifetime of friendships and folks I've worked alongside, folks I've worked for," Jackson said. "I've told people I'm not going to the moon, just Colorado."

She's also offered to help C-U at Home in any way needed after she leaves, she said.

"There's no one on the planet who wants to see C-U at Home succeed as much as I do," she said.

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