Archive for November, 2009

Asking for help at the last minute

November 17, 2009

is a bit lame but that’s just what i did to Dan Crain this past Saturday at the first POLIS (www.polisinstitute.org) CNT training. He graciously helped out – a lot. His help was invaluable. We set up the room for the 17 people who came to the training and he stayed after to help go through a crash course in the Dignity Serves curriculum with a new friend from Chicago. Then we broke everything down and he carted me home. Three cheers for Dan. Thanks!

The training event was part of the Collaborative for Neighborhood Transformation. This is an initiative of the Polis Institute to build teams that will engage in the long-term work of neighborhood transformation in the 100 distressed neighborhoods of Orange and Seminole Counties in Florida. There are 507 neighborhoods total in these two counties (U.S. Census Block Groups). Stress level was determined by looking at six indicators – income, education, crime, health insurance, family structure, and housing. In order to help transform these neighborhoods into places of hope and strength, a patient process of discovering the assets, hopes, and concerns in the neighborhood will need to be rekindled or begun.

The teams that came to the training did so out of a belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ as the message of hope for our distress. This message is holistic and addresses physical, spiritual, and emotional needs with a promise of redemption. It addresses whole people, with needs and gifts, whole families, whole neighborhoods. Those that attended the training represented several areas in the county and were introduced to the first part of this process – “asset mapping” whereby you learn about the resources, talents, interests, and physical assets in a community rather than just needs. As this information is compiled, groups with shared interests will then be convened to work together for a common goal. These small, informal groups may be the seeds of change many in these distressed communities have been hoping for.

Here are a few pictures:

Compassion flows from the Corner

November 16, 2009

Compassion Corner Volunteers

On Saturday November 7th, a team of volunteers from Compassion Corner, a ministry to the homeless in Orlando, went out and served the community side-by-side with people from Summit Church. One group went to the House of Hope and did a landscaping project, another helped paint a house with the Orlando Initiative, and still another did a prayer walk through the Old Cheney community.

The event was truly impactful to the volunteers from the Corner. When we returned to review the day, one of the volunteers said joyfully, “They asked me to come back!” This may sound like a small thing but one of the greatest injustices levied against our friends and neighbors without regular homes is demonstrating by word and deed that we don’t need them. Nothing crushes hope more effectively.

The volunteers from the Corner made a difference in the community and got to experience the joy of helping others. Another volunteer said, “It was a good thing we did today.” Indeed it was.