For release: Jan. 2, 2008
The "premier community renewal building model in the nation" begins the new year with a new name - Community Renewal International.
Founded in 1994 and previously named Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal after the cities where it is headquartered, a nonprofit that started as one's man vision now impacts communities across the nation and around the world.
"The greatest thing we can live for and the highest cause we can devote ourselves to is to make this world a place where our children can grow up in loving and caring and nurturing communities. It's important to devote ourselves to that cause and that calling," said Mack McCarter, founder of Community Renewal.
"D. Elton Trueblood said, ‘The greatest heresy is to make small what God intended to be large.' By changing our name to Community Renewal International, we are giving a clear signal that we are committed to nothing less than joining with others to change our world."
Community Renewal announced the new name at halftime of the 2007 PetroSun Independence Bowl, where it received 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.
Dignitaries joining McCarter on the field for the presentation included U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, the Honorable John Dalton, Mayor Cedric Glover of Shreveport and Mayor Lo Walker of Bossier City. Shreveport civic leader and Community Renewal board member Virginia Shehee accepted the award on Community Renewal's behalf.
Community Renewal continues to receive many national endorsements, including these:
- "Just in terms of the reduction of crime, reduction of drug use, the education and what it's done for kids, it's been outstanding. The results are phenomenal." - The Honorable John Dalton, former Secretary of the Navy.
- "It's an extraordinary model - one I am proud to support. There is a lot of profound teaching going on. There is a lot of dynamic interaction in a Friendship House. I am so impressed with the leadership that has been put together that helps to nurture and build and strengthen and grow this program." - U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
- "There's a crime element that comes when neighborhoods go the wrong way. That's when it takes special courage. You can build higher fences and run away from it, or you can meet it head on. Community Renewal is a prime example of people that have met it head on. There are neighborhoods that we have lost to some extent and they are getting them back. It's very exciting." - Kix Brooks, of country music superstars Brooks & Dunn.
Community Renewal works to restore the foundation of safe and caring communities by rebuilding the system of caring relationships. Since its founding, 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 35,000 people have joined the "We Care" team and nearly 900 have been trained to serve as Haven House leaders who help renew the city one neighbor and one city block at a time.
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."
The Community Renewal We Care logo has been revised to reflect the new name and updates to the Community Renewal web site have also been implemented. They include a new videos page, new photo galleries, the opportunity to join the National Renewal Team and a sign-up form for Renewal e-News.
Community Renewal International 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