Disciple Now youth partner with Friendship Houses,
give back to the community
For release: Feb. 22, 2010
Nearly 100 youth and adults spread through low-income Shreveport and Bossier City neighborhoods Saturday in partnership with Community Renewal to share a caring message of hope and love with residents.
With CRI Friendship Houses as a launch pad, the volunteers made gift baskets which they delivered to neighbors and also participated in clean-up projects and other activities. The outreach was part of the Disciple Now weekend at Shreveport’s Summer Grove Baptist Church.
“We all have a heart to help people in need. It’s more special when you meet the person and see the smile on their face. It’s a blessing to be a part of it,” said April Keifer as she and others handed out care baskets to senior citizens in the Barksdale Annex neighborhood in Bossier City.
About 60 youth and 30 adults gave up their afternoons to give back to the community, reaching out through the network of relationships established by Community Renewal and other caring partners.
“This helps take the focus off ourselves by doing something for others. We hope to create a lifelong love of helping others,” said Bethany Crosby, one of the adult volunteers.
Her daughter, Kendall Crosby, 13, was one of the youth involved. “This makes me want to do more. I love to help people,” she said.
Courtney York, 14, came to help even though she was on crutches that day.
“A lot of kids love doing things like this, but they don’t always have the opportunity. This makes you think. And we become more grateful,” she said.
Jonah Huckaby, a children’s minister, said taking the youth into the community offers special benefits.
“We want to give the kids hands-on experience. In church, you can hear about poverty, but it’s not reality until you get outside the walls of the church and see it,” he said. “This opens their eyes. This shows that family and community are more valuable than material things.”
CRI community coordinators who work at the Friendship Houses said neighbors they talked with after the event expressed deep gratitude for the outreach and how it turned residents and volunteers into partners.
“Everyone was attracted to the Friendship House and so I had a full Kids Club come and help, too. They had fun and the kids learned this is what community service is. It’s not just giving money – it’s giving your skills and time and having fun doing it,” said Manuela Standard, community coordinator in Barksdale Annex.
Community Renewal International is a nonprofit effort to restore safe and healthy communities through caring relationships. Founded in 1994, Community Renewal reaches at-risk youth through Friendship Houses built in impoverished neighborhoods, strengthens education through the Adult Renewal Academy, partners with The Fuller Center for Housing and connects caring partners who turn their neighborhoods into safe havens of friendship and support. Learn more at www.communityrenewal.us.
Contact: David Westerfield, director of communications