The City of Birmingham Journeyed to Tallahassee on a “Road to Hope” for Children and Families
By Christal Searcy
Senior Outlook Staff Writer
Forty leaders traveled on the “Road to Hope” bus tour to study ways of lifting neighborhoods from Sept. 25 – 27 to Bethel Missionary Baptist Church “Community of Hope.”
The “Road to Hope” tour included tours of neighborhoods that have been transformed into positive spaces where children and families can thrive.
City leaders shared their successes and efforts in engaging the community to improve outcomes for children and families in struggling neighborhoods – providing concrete examples of positive transformation.
Leon County Commissioner Nick Maddox advocated collaboration within the community.
“It can’t be the barriers standing in the way of people coming together,” Maddox said. “You can’t let your political affiliations get in the way, you can’t let race get in the way, you can’t let religion get in the way. You have to be concerned about what’s going on in the community enough to put all that down and attempt to do something about what you see.”
Bethel’s Community of Hope representatives gave an overview in which stakeholders and community residents worked together to develop programs to help turn troubled neighborhoods around.
Consultant of The Bethel Empowerment Foundation, Inc., Lucretia Shaw Collins spoke on how Bethel’s Prison Transformation and Re-Entry Program has sparked hope and a sense of togetherness within the community.
“Every two weeks Reverend Holmes, Reverend Williams, Reverend Mercer and I go into the prison and conduct services because we know about 100 of those offenders will be coming back into Tallahassee within the next year,” Shaw Collins said.
“We’re trying to establish a mentor program where members are asked to volunteer to work with these offenders, get to know them before they’re release so when they come out there will be a support system in place,” she added.
“We are pleased to share our vision with our Birmingham neighbors,” said Rev. R. B. Holmes, pastor of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church for 30 years.
“The Casey Family Programs organization has been a tremendous partner in helping us to refine and focus our mission on serving the community, its families and children. This partnering and sharing will provide a first-hand view of working partnerships and the value of community collaboration,” Holmes said. “It takes a faith base community to get this done.”