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