“You don’t need to cross an ocean or a border to be a missionary; you only need to cross your street.”
How does it feel to go to bed hungry? How hard is it to go to school on an empty stomach? How hard is it to want to do better in school, but not have anyone who can help you once you get home? How does it feel to wear clothes that are old, worn and tattered, while everyone else in school wear new clothing? How does it feel to sleep on the floor? How does it feel to be looked upon as poor? How does it feel to be ignored? How does it feel to not believe that you have a future?
These were questions we had, as well as; how can we help? So we crossed the street into the Edgewater District in October of 2004 to find out. Once there, we learned answers and learned that the only way to help someone is to “love them until they ask why.” The only way to have a lasting impact is to follow Christ’s example and build long-term relationships and love people exactly as they are, without condition or expectation. We aren’t going to preach at people or demand they believe what we do, we are going to love them, help them and support them while we build relationships that inspire them to dream, then we will help them work to achieve their dreams.
A Walk on the Edge
“Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on Earth” ~Roberto Clemente~ October 2nd of 2004 a group of people stepped out in faith and took a walk on the Edge, moving into a community plagued by poverty, hunger, gangs, violence and darkness. We walked into the Edgewater District with a commitment to love people exactly as they were, without expectation or condition. To build relationships that transitioned into life long friendships. Our desire was to help people realize their value, to break the fangs of starvation mentality, and to help people transition out of poverty and into lives of sufficiency. We have stayed true to our commitment, and become a positive part of the Edgewater District. We stepped to the edge, and we pushed back darkness.
Since our first day in the fall of 2004, the crime rate at the edge has dropped consistently by 9.6%. Today the juvenal crime rate in Edgewater is 29% lower than communities with similar demographic’s. Vandalism has dropped by 79%. The middle school in the heart of the Edge went from having one of the lowest academic achievement standards, to one of the highest in the city. In 2004 63% of the children from the Edge graduated. Today 98% of the kids from the Edge graduate, and 100% of the teens who are active in our programs graduate. In 2016 Dream Center teens volunteered more than 7,200 hours in the community.
When faithful and dedicated people show up, and keep showing up, amazing things happen. Yes we stepped into the Edge, and we pushed back at the darkness letting light, hope and love pour in, thats how dream are made.