Community Renewal to receive Omar N. Bradley "Spirit of Independence Award"
Award to be presented at Dec. 30 Independence Bowl, broadcast by ESPN
For release: Nov. 6, 2007
The PetroSun Independence Bowl announced today that Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal is the 2007 recipient of the Omar N. Bradley "Spirit of Independence Award." Since its inception in 1978, this honor has been bestowed upon outstanding American citizens or organizations which symbolize the spirit of freedom and independence on which our country was founded.
The award will be presented at halftime of the 2007 PetroSun Independence Bowl, which kicks off at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 30, at Independence Stadium. The game will be broadcast by ESPN. Previous winners range from John Wayne and Bob Hope to the Boy Scouts of America and Heroes of New York City.
One of the most distinguished U.S. commanders of World War II, Gen. Omar N. Bradley, known as "the soldier's general," led the First Army during the Normandy invasion on D-Day. Soon afterward, he commanded the 1.3 million men of the Twelth Army Group in the liberation of Western Europe. After the war, he became the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a five-star general.
"This is an incredible honor to be linked with a general who led a mighty army to make the world free," said Mack McCarter, founder and coordinator of Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal. "In the same way, we need an army of caring partners marching together to defeat fear, ignorance and evil within our own cities. We fight this battle so that our children can truly be free- spiritually, emotionally and physically."
Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal works to restore the foundation of safe and caring communities by rebuilding the system of caring relationships. Founded in 1994, after more than a decade of planning, SBCR is today an international model for all cities looking to bring renewal to their communities.
Since its founding 13 years ago, Community Renewal has touched the lives of more than 1,700 at-risk youth. The organization connects caring partners who turn their neighborhoods into safe havens of friendship and support. More than 25,000 people have joined the "We Care" team and over 850 have been trained to serve as Haven House leaders who help renew the city one neighbor and one city block at a time.
"Since its inception in 1994, Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal has become a nationally-recognized model that is having an international impact," said 2007 PetroSun Independence Bowl chairman Joe Darwin. "We are proud to recognize the success of their efforts and the strength of their convictions."
Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal believes that communities are revitalized through three strategies: The Renewal Team, which connects individuals, businesses, churches and others to create a more caring community; Haven House, which enlists residents to reach out to neighbors on the street where they live; and Friendship House, which brings hope to long-neglected neighborhoods struggling with crime, drugs, and unemployment.
"Community Renewal has seen tremendous success in our most impoverished neighborhoods," said McCarter. "Battlegrounds and trash heaps have been turned into playgrounds and beautiful gardens. Lives are being transformed there."
Other cities, such as Austin and Abilene, Texas, are now copying the model and bringing renewal to their communities. The National Center for Community Renewal is in development and will be based in a downtown Shreveport building that was donated to the organization.
"We hope recognition from the Independence Bowl will encourage many others to help grow safe and caring communities," said McCarter. "No city can change unless there is a dedicated group of people absolutely committed to the common cause of caring for each other. We are in warfare against an invisible enemy stealing our children's hope and it's a war that we've got to win."
Tickets and corporate sponsorships are still available for the 2007 PetroSun Independence Bowl as well as the Minuteman Luncheon and FCA Breakfast, and can be obtained through a variety of methods. Tickets and sponsorships can be purchased by calling the Independence Bowl Foundation at (318) 221-0712 or toll free at 888-414-BOWL (2695) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or at http://www.independencebowl.org/. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the Bowl office located at 401 Market Street, Suite 120 on the main floor of the American Tower in downtown Shreveport.
Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal is a nonprofit effort to restore safe and healthy communities through caring relationships. Founded in 1994, SBCR 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.
Contact: David Westerfield, director of communications