The Lab here continues to grow. Check out the pictures – all the work to clean, paint and equip the Guadalupe Learning Lab was done by the community members. Next week we open Monday – Friday at 1 pm instead of 3 pm so we can start working with pre-schoolers. Because the parents are interested in helping their children have a better education.
Since we are now renting space in the Mercado in Guadalupe (with the helping hands of our Guadalupe business and community neighbors), we opened the doors to the public. We are open 3-7 Monday – Friday (aspen to 8 pm on Mondays). We opened our doors on Martin Luther King day and have been busy most afternoon since. The work is appreciated in the community and we appreciate the community. They cleaned the room, painted it and fully equipped it (after shopping at countless numbers of thrift stores). It is fantastic to see what happens when the community loves their kids like this.
Come down and check it out! Meanwhile check out the images below
Tutoring and reading program in Guadalupe is up and running. Over 50 kids age 5-18. However, even better is we just rented space in the Mercado! We now have a place for our reading and tutoring programs as well as to meet more people in the community and expand. Even better, many people in Guadalupe including some business are chipping in to help cover the rent. The people in Guadalupe are providing half the rent. Five $ or ten $ a week or a month. Whatever they can do. Because they believe in it and their community. That is community development.
This is a great time of year to list all the wonderful things God has been doing in our communities over 2013. We give thanks for all these and for you, who are helping make a big difference in Arizona, by walking with our friends in these communities and to helping them unleash their assets to make their dreams of transformation a reality. Thank you
Some of the wonderful things this year:
* In Guadalupe, AZNT and Living Faith Anglican welcomed two AmeriCorp workers, the latest one, Rose, from Guadalupe. Our effort there has grown to 50 children age 5 – 18, involved in reading and tutoring. This work is something being done by the Guadalupe community to help their children, with help from partners both inside and outside of Guadalupe. The space is donated by the town of Guadalupe and some of the support comes from a local Guadalupe business. Further, we launched a teen program, pairing teens, their parents and teachers and a mentor to form a team to help the teen navigate finishing high school then heading to college and / or career. We have eight people in this program, with 3 of them working on completing their GEDS. We did two community-led painting efforts in Guadalupe. We are extending our partnerships to the Pasqua Yaqui tribe and church going into 2014 and look forward to God multiplying the assets
* In Grenada Estates, Faith Bible church continues to lead seed projects, such as working to make the park a safe place for the kids to do things and to hang out in (drug dealers took it over earlier) They had a paint-a- thon and Christmas alternative in the community. Lots of asset mapping has led to the kickoff of a Block Watch! Two years ago (before neighborhood transformation started) the community wanted a Block Watch but was scared away by drug dealers. Now it is on and running! Many people from the community have started to get involved in the work and we look forward to this work expanding in 2014.
* In South Phoenix – Based on what First Pentecostal / MentorKids learned from community surveys, we’re moving forward with building a neighborhood park. We’ve received funding to complete the youth/community garden, build a full-court basketball court, and provide 4 community outreach/education events. Community members and stakeholders and excited about this park and committed to making it a success!!
* In South Phoneix – Barrio Nuevo continues its fantastic work in the community, reaching over 70 kids and their families, seeking to bring reconciliation and the love of Jesus into the community. Tutoring / mentoring and teen development are the major efforts, along with involving the community in outreach efforts like feeding the homeless. This year they added a focus on asset surveys, including working on a novell experiment with DES in south Phoenix to use asset surveys to get more community involvement with the DES work their. We will see where this goes!
* In the Palomino district this year was a massive focus on asset surveys. Over 200 were gathered from many different areas from this highly Hispanic community in N Phoenix off Cactus west of the 51 highway! Based upon community survey feedback, the community wanted to see more events in the local park. In October MentorKids USA, along with community stakeholders and churches, organized a GAIN event in the local park for approximately 700 community members. In 2014 we look forward to working with community members to build a community resource manual, provide parenting workshops, and expand ESL opportunities.
* In Mesa, Trinity Baptist is setting out to be the role model for working with local elementary schools. They are building off the years spent developing tight ties with two local elementary schools to move into asset mapping to understand the desires of the parents of the students and then encourage people from the church to come along side the parents to help them succeed. They are building used in Mesa as a role model for others to use when working with schools.
* On other areas, God has been busy. Arizona Neighborhood Transformation has been approved as a qualified organization for the Arizona Working Poor Tax CredIt! This means you can donate to AZNT and take the money (dollar for dollar, up to 250$ individual or 400$ joint) off your Arizona Income tax. We continue to apply for grants to expand the work. We hosting a workshop on Christian Aseet Based Community Development at the first annual International Wholistic Missions Conference (IWMC) earlier this year and will do the same thing this Arpil for the second annual IWMC. We are working to get something started with Faith Assembly of God church on 15th Ave / Glendale; focused on a big apartment complex nearby.
We thank out partners – Barrio Nuevo, City of Glendale, Community First Association, Faith Bible, First Pentecostal, MentorKids USA, Public Allies, Trinity, Town of Guadalupe and many others for the fellowship and the co-labor in the Kingdom field. And we thank all of you – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Arizona Neighborhood Transformation is now qualified for the Arizona Working Poor Tax Credit. If you owe Arizona income tax, you can now donate up to $400 / family or $250 / individual each tax year and tax this same money as credit on your Arizona income tax form. In essence, you direct this money to AZNT instead of going to the state of Arizona. This works just like the school credit. Please see below for more details. We encourage you to take advantage of this great benefit from the state of Arizona and use it to support a worthy cause!
We are into a very busy month. While most of Phoenix slows down over the summer, it seems like we are doing the opposite.
Our first year of community tutoring in Guadalupe has successfully launched a three day a week community summer program. Marina and friends are leading 25 Guadalupe kids on crafts, art, reading, sports, swimming and field trips to museums and libraries. It is Tues – Thurs 8 am to 4 pm June 12 through July 25.
In Granada Estates, the Block Watch is launched! We continue to pray and work with the community for its ongoing success
Another BlockWatch is starting in Palomino. In South Phoneix, the Barrio Nuevo summer program continues as strong as ever and the MentorKids work at First Pentecostal is re-invigorating the community center as they do asset surveys and involve more of the community in the happenings.
In Mesa, Trinity is taking the next steps from their successful elementary school adoption to do some asset surveys with the parents and then involve the church members to help the parents out doing what they want to do.
Also – We have a Full Neighborhood Transformation TOT class scheduled for OCTOBER 3-5 at Living Faith Anglican on 1945 E Guadalupe Rd Tempe AZ. Thursday and Friday Oct 3 and 4 6 pm to 9 pm, and Saturday Oct 5 8 am to 5 pm. Cost if 50$ / person. If you are interested, please register here: https://atm.webconnex.com/NTTOT10AZ
Spring, and God, showed in Guadalupe, Arizona. Again. I like to write about Guadalupe because I like Guadalupe. I do ABCD coaching work in a number of places around Phoenix Arizona but Guadalupe is where I feel the most at home. I have worked with my friends in Guadalupe for many years and it is always a real joy to see God there.
This time God showed up at our first big community painting in Guadalupe. We joined forces with another community we work with in South Phoenix, Barrio Nuevo. The leader there, David Bennett, has house painting down to a science, having done about 60 houses in the last five years. He brought over some of his friends from south Phoenix and some of his friends from outside the community. Out little community of folks from Guadalupe doing basketball and tutoring joined them, along with some of our friends from outside the Guadalupe community. Altogether, we have about 80 people, with about 30-35 of them from Guadalupe.
We painted two houses – Francis’s house and Linda’s house. It only took the morning, starting at 8:30 and finishing about 11:30. And in that three hours wonderful things happened. People met people and worked with them to make the community a little better. People smiled. People got to know a little bit more about each other. People shared work, paint, food, water and fun. Relationships grew. God was there.
This was another great step, on a number of levels. We were able to do a joint activity between a couple of our neighborhoods and the people who live and relate in them. It was the first time we reached out into the Guadalupe community to do some painting as chosen by the community and with the support of the community. And we combined many different people, from many different places to do the painting. It was fantastic.
In May, we are planning another such event. This time, we will paint in South Phoenix, Guadalupe and Central Phoenix. We will add in another community and another 100 people. And we will see what God does.
I wanted to share three great opportunities to get involved in two of the communities were we are doing Neighborhood Transformation. If you (or any friends) are interested, please let me know. Please feel free to share
We had a great banquet Feb 1 at North Phoenix Baptist Church. Thanks to all the old friends that came to check out what happened in 2012 and the new friends that wanted to see were we are going in 2013.
Please check out our DONATE tab if you want to help support us
Check out the video from the banquet:
Yeast. That is how Jesus describes His expectations of what the church; His people on earth are to be. It is a wonderful description, that has become less meaningful to people as time and technology progressed in two millennia. In Jesus’s time, everyone knew what yeast did. You did not have bread without yeast and if you did not use yeast to make your bread to eat, you starved. It was pretty easy for everyone at Jesus time to make the connection that the yeast in the bread was instrumental to ongoing maintenance of life. From this they could connect His people were to be critical in the creation of life giving community here on earth.
Today, few people are aware of what yeast really does. Including me. However, I got a big helping of what Jesus meant when he referred to us being yeast when I talked with my friend Pat. Pat lives in South Phoenix; a very under-served area in Phoenix. Ask people for the “worse” part of Phoenix and 80% of the time you will hear “South Phoenix”. That is where the gangs are, the drive by shootings, the drugs. That is where the highest percentage of prisoners that have completed their time is released. That is where all the relief groups have an office.
A couple of us videoed her to understand and share what she was doing in her community. Pat was initially wary; she did not think what she was doing was worth video. She moved into the neighborhood deliberately to be near relatives. A couple years ago she learned about Asset Based Community Development/ Wholistic Ministry and got excited about it. Her neighborhood association was practically defunct; Block Watches were not happening, meetings were not being held, people were not being listened to and organized to help address concerns. So she started meeting with people in her house. Unemployed, she opened here house and hosted people as best she could so she could listen and people could talk. Before long, these meetings were happening regularly. Issued moved into projects to address them fueled by the people in the community. Officers were elected, policies created. They elected Pat president.
People in her little community now feel safer to let the kids play outside. And I think that is a fantastic measure of what community transformation looks like – people let their kids play in safety in the community. They are working now on expanding and deepening the involvement in the community.
Pat may still thinks she is not worthy of a video. I would disagree because I saw in her a real life example of what Jesus meant about being yeast. I rejoice in what God is doing in South Phoenix and I consider it an eternal blessing to be able to walk with people like Pat. Perhaps God will let some of the yeast rub off on me if I do it enough.