Restoring Hope And Rebuilding Caring Communities
Cynthia Beadle - Director of Finance
After a 30-year career in accounting, Cynthia came to Community Renewal in 2011. “I had been praying for a job where I could serve people instead of serving the ‘bottom line’ of the company. I finally found my dream job at Community Renewal.” Cynthia first fell in love with Community Renewal through a tour where she saw the work at a Friendship House first-hand. “I could see that the children were nurtured and loved at the Friendship House, and the Community Coordinators were totally involved in teaching and leading them to care more about themselves and their neighborhood.”
Cynthia is a graduate of Belhaven University with a B.S. in Accounting, and of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Religious Education. She worked for non-profits for ten years in Texas before coming to the Shreveport-Bossier area. Cynthia’s strengths are spreadsheets, databases and streamlining computer and accounting procedures. She is the pastor’s wife and organist at the First Baptist Church in Benton, and enjoys Bible teaching, stitching, writing and music.
Sherry Brown - Project Coordinator
Sherry joined the staff following her long time mentor Jewel Mariner in 2002 because she wanted “meaningful work helping people. It doesn’t even feel like a job.” Sherry worked with teen-agers, their families, and neighbors in the Allendale neighborhood, a low-income area that has seen a remarkable resurgence thanks to partnerships with The Fuller Center for Housing, First United Methodist Church, AEP Swepco and others. In 2015, Sherry transitioned to work as the Volunteer and Service Project Coordinator. A USAF Veteran, Sherry works with groups who want to partner to do one-time or ongoing projects. She also places individual volunteers in our five target neighborhoods where Friendship Houses & Adult Renewal Academy Classes are located. Sherry received a basketball scholarship at Cleveland State Community College after high school and then served five and a half years in the U.S. Air Force as an aircraft pneudraulic system specialist. She received the Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal and the National Defense Service Medal-Desert Storm and the Longevity Service Award during her Air Force career. The proud mother of two sons, she wanted to be an example to them by serving others.
Lynn Bryan - Director of Community Engagement
Lynn came to Community Renewal in 2002 to serve as the coordinator for volunteers and to oversee the student internship program. “My passion is empowering people to help themselves. I get a lot of joy in helping people realize what they can do for themselves,” she says. Lynn now serves as the Director of Community Engagement, where her main responsibility is to connect volunteers, businesses and organizations to the work of CRI. Lynn spent 20 years with Knoll Pharmaceutical Inc., where she managed people, budgets and systems. In 2002, Lynn graduated magna cum laude from Centenary College with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and departmental honors. She is also a graduate of the School of Church Careers and recipient of the 2001 Jim Sears Award. In 2011, she was nominated for the Athena Award, which honors women for professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills. Lynn volunteers her time with Cross Bayou Emmaus and Keep Bossier Beautiful.
Jimmy Graves - Director of Development
Before joining Community Renewal in 2003, Jimmy served in church leadership. Prior to that he spent time in the banking industry and then enjoyed a successful sales career in the medical equipment industry, where he was inducted into the President’s Club. Jimmy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Finance from Louisiana Tech University. “I have had several opportunities to leave Shreveport-Bossier over the years but have always felt compelled to stay in this community. I truly love this community, the people, the culture, the pace, the tennis, and the food, of course! I believe our community holds much promise and potential to be a light and a beacon of hope impacting this region and our country. I am grateful to be a part of this amazing team and the dynamic movement of Community Renewal both locally and nationally.”
Sabrina Henderson - Queensborough Community Coordinator, Children
Sabrina reaches out to the children and their families in the Queensborough neighborhood, which has a history of low-income, high-crime problems to overcome. Sabrina and her husband have four children of their own and Sabrina wants the best for the neighborhood children just as much as she does for her own. “I have a heart for these children in the inner-city. I hope to give them confidence. I want them to know they can achieve things and have success,” she says.
Marlon Jackson - Cedar Grove Community Coordinator, Youth
Marlon Jackson was introduced to Community Renewal by (now) fellow Community Coordinator, Emmitt Welch. Marlon spent 8 ½ years in the Navy where he served as supervisor of retail operations. In the Navy, Marlon was the barber to see! Whenever a government official visited, he would sit in Marlon’s chair. During his time in the Navy, Marlon also served as Associate Pastor at First United Pentecostal Church in Portsmouth, Virginia. In 2006, he moved to Shreveport and drove 18-wheelers for a living, but also ministered to people through Restoration of Life Ministry, an outreach program that fed, clothed, and just loved on people in need underneath the East I-75 overpass. In 2011, Marlon started his career with Community Renewal. “The children are my motivation factor,” said Marlon. “Being able to be an uncle, dad, or friend to these kids is really what I love about my job. I’m coming from a similar background so I can identify with these kids and what they’re going through.”
Pam Kimble - Data Entry Administrator
Pam joined the technical support group in 2002 and provides administrative assistance for staff personnel. “I’m giving in my work. I’m uncomfortable when I’m not caught up in my job,” she says. Pam previously worked with a professional law firm, the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the U.S. Postal Service and others. Pam completed 81 hours from Grambling State University as an education major with additional training in word processing and accounting from Bossier Parish Community College, Shreveport-Bossier Vocational Technical School and Louisiana School of Professions. Pam is a Haven House leader in her neighborhood and is active as a community volunteer and in her church.
Michael Leonard - Associate Coordinator
At one time, Dr. Mike Leonard’s only plan for the future was to one day move from practicing dentistry to practicing his golf swing. “I wanted to play the top 100 golf courses in the United States,” he said. But after a series of connections with Community Renewal, and a growing friendship with CRI Founder Mack McCarter, the course of his life took a different path. In 2005, he left his dental practice of 24 years and joined the Community Renewal team as associate coordinator. “Before, it was all about me. In my early days I looked at what could and would benefit Mike Leonard. I was living for myself,” he said. “And now my view is an eternal view. Now it’s about what I can do for someone else and the legacy I can leave for others.” Mike attended LSU, where he played defensive back on the Tigers football team, and graduated from the LSU School of Dentistry in 1981. He has been named SB Magazine Favorite Dentist and won The Times Unsung Hero Award for his community involvement.
Dianne Loridans - Project Coordinator | Grants Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org Going from volunteer to full-time employee in 2004, Dianne brought a variety of skills from her previous professional positions. Dianne assists in a variety of work areas, including issues involving the Center for Community Renewal, property concerns and grant applications. She taught Spanish to middle school children for 10 years at Saint Joseph School. Her expertise in teaching has allowed her to sharpen her communication skills, both verbal and written. Additionally, she is a Notary Public and has experience in title research and real estate gained from her work as a paralegal in a law office.
Liz Mathews - Administrative Assistant
Liz first found out about Community Renewal through her mom, Dianne Loridans, who was an employee at the organization. Later, Liz started volunteering at Community Renewal and then became a full-time employee. Liz graduated from BPCC with a degree in 3-D Animation and uses her design skills to help everyone and everything look better! “I like doing graphic work more than anything else.” Liz believes that Community Renewal’s mission is an important “inter-social service” that sets the organization apart from other non-profits. Not only is she helping make a difference here, but the organization has made a difference in her. “It’s definitely improved my own social skill sets and that’s not something that comes naturally to me.”
David McCarter - Director of Information Management
David joined the staff in 1997 as Director of Technology and later assumed the additional role of Director of Administration. David is director of information management serving information systems, information technology, and information processing. He also assists with strategic planning and program development and he works alongside four other senior staffers as members of the internal advisory committee for program development, evaluation, oversight, curriculum development and nation-wide replication planning and technical assistance. David acquired a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Texas Christian University and participated in the TCU Summer Study Abroad Program at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He served on the board of the Shreveport-Bossier Service Connection for four years and served as vice-chairman for one.
Mack McCarter - Coordinator
Mack McCarter is founder and coordinator of Community Renewal International. A native of Shreveport, La., Mack holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in religion from Texas Christian University and a Master of Divinity Degree from Brite Divinity School. He served as a pastor for 18 years in Texas before returning to Shreveport in 1991 to begin implementing his vision for community renewal. Raised in Shreveport before the civil rights movement, he witnessed “massive injustice” and continues to be motivated by those experiences. His vision for community renewal came in 1981 when he was pastoring a church in Hereford, Texas. Mack and his wife, Judy, have two children, David and Nancy.
James Melvin - Queensborough Community Coordinator, Youth
After a 24-year career in the U.S. Air Force, James joined the staff to work with teenagers, their families and other residents as Community Coordinator in the Queensborough neighborhood in 2003. “I try to walk the walk like Jesus walked, have a positive faith and be a good example,” he says. In the Air Force, James spent six years as a Personnel Superintendent where he planned, organized and directed military personnel activities and statistically evaluated systems efficiency. He served 18 years as a law enforcement supervisor. James completed extensive studies in Human Resource Management, communications, leadership and Principals of Instruction through the Air Force Senior Non-Commissioned Office Academy and Military Training Centers. James is also active in his church, in a prison ministry and in other community activities.
Dr. Valentin Miafo-Donfack - Director of International Relations
Valentin is a native of Cameroon who came to Shreveport to further his education. He started as an intern and research analyst with Community Renewal and then moved into his current position as his passion for sharing Community Renewal with the world grew. Valentin earned a Doctorate in Political Science from the University of Yaounde in Cameroon and a Master of Science degree in Human Services Administration at LSU-Shreveport. In Cameroon, Valentin worked as a faculty member teaching constitutional and administrative law and a variety of social science classes while publishing various research. He is a former business owner and is the founder of the first Adult Learning Program in Cameroon. Through Valentin’s leadership, Community Renewal is now in development in Cameroon and other countries in Africa.
Gloria Millender - Adult Renewal Academy Coordinator
Gloria serves as the Coordinator for the Adult Renewal Academy, which helps adults of all ages broaden their education and earn their GED/High School Equivalency diploma. Gloria has worked tirelessly to recruit teachers, students and partners to develop the academy into the life-changing program it is today. “I want to see people, young and old, set free from all the things that prevent them from being productive citizens,” she says. Gloria is a Certified Elementary and Middle School teacher with nine years of service and a Licensed Professional Counselor with 18 years of experience. She has state certification in school supervision and principalship. She received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Grambling State University and a Master of Arts in Counseling and Plus 30 degree from Louisiana Tech University. She is the author of Anger in the North (Companion Press) and is an active leader in her church. She was a 2001 finalist for the Blue Cross, Blue Shield Angel Award.
Russell Minor - Director of Haven House
Russell came to Community Renewal in 2001 to serve as Director of Haven House. His passions are to love God and to love people. Russell served our nation over 28 years in the Air Force. He led in 14 command-level, war-time, presidential support positions around the world. He held the highest NCO positions of trust: a First Sergeant, Chief Master Sergeant and Senior Enlisted Advisor. Some of his military decorations include: the National Defense Meritorious Service Medal, six Air Force Meritorious Service Medals, 10 Top Leadership Awards of the Year, and five Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards. Russell graduated from the NCO Leadership School, the Advanced Supervisory School with top honors, the NCO Academy with honors, and the First Sergeants’ Academy, and the Senior NCO Academy with distinction. He is a minister at Mt. Canaan Baptist Church where he serves as Chairman of Evangelism, Worship Leader and Sunday School teacher. He has an Associate Degree in Management from the Community College of the Air Force, a Bachelor’s of Business Administration and Organizational Management from Wiley College, and a Master’s Degree in Theology and Ph.D. in Biblical Studies and Philosophy from Louisiana Baptist University.
Kim Mitchell - Director of the Center for Community Renewal
Kim officially joined the CRI team as founding director of the Center for Community Renewal (CCR) in February 2014. Association with CRI since 2002 has grown in him a deep understanding of the CRI model potential to make the world a better place. During that time his unique skills have contributed to research and development strategies and methodologies for replicating the CRI model nationally. Among innovations to date are Think Tank Charrettes and Agile Planning. Kim holds several degrees in architecture as well as extended sociological education. A distinguished 37 year adventure as architect, planner, civic leader and community advocate has prepared Kim for the exciting opportunity to launch and grow the CCR. He is a member of the core development team for “Strategic Doing;” a discipline for guiding loosely joined open networks currently incubating at Purdue University. Sustainable design, a skillset Kim has cultivated throughout his architectural career and LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environment Design) Accreditation, is founding chairman of the Louisiana Architecture Foundation, past president of AIA Louisiana, past president of the Louisiana Architects Licensing Board, architectural licensing test writing committee for the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, and adjunct architectural professor are among his many services to the architectural profession. He has also testified before a congressional subcommittee concerning small business size standards and is a tireless advocate for design thinking, meaningful community engagement, historic preservation and local economies.
Pam Morgan - Allendale Community Coordinator, Children
Pam was promoted in January 2017 to serve as Community Coordinator for the Kids Club in the Allendale neighborhood, where she once lived in a small “shotgun house.” One of many CRI success stories, Pam also coordinates many other activities at the Friendship House and previously served as neighborhood ambassador. She has a wealth of knowledge about Allendale and its residents and a commitment to meet and greet new and existing residents. Pam has also volunteered with her church and other community programs, such as the YWCA, Volunteers of America and the Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana.
Robert Odom - Program Assistant
Although Robert was born in Dallas, he’s spent most of his life in Shreveport. Before joining the CRI team, Robert worked in management for McDonald’s restaurant and served in the Army National Guard. Robert found CRI through a non-profit employment agency and worked as a full-time volunteer for two years before being hired on as a full-time employee. What he enjoys most about his work is the relationships with his co-workers, “I like the way people stick by you no matter what.” Robert has spent over 10 years at CRI and hopes to continue working here until he retires. He describes his career at CRI as a “pleasant experience” and firmly believes that “Community Renewal may be the path towards world peace.”
Deidra Lewis-Robertson - Director of Operation H.O.P.E. (Helping Our Pupils Excel)
Deidra Robertson grew up in the Martin Luther King area in Shreveport and saw neighbors fall in to drugs and delinquent behavior. “I’ve always had this ‘save the world’ mentality,” said Robertson. “I thought it was my mission to save kids from that kind of future.” After graduating from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Robertson interned with the Lafayette Police Department where she discovered that police work was not the job for her. After volunteering for with a church summer camp, God gave her a vision, much like the Operation H.O.P.E. program that Robertson is the director of and holds so dearly to heart. “I don’t look at it as a job, it’s really a kingdom assignment.”
Eric Robertson - Highland Community Coordinator, Youth
Eric is a native of Shreveport and is a graduate of Booker T. Washington, a school many of our Allendale Friendship House students attend today. As a Diesel engine operator and technician for over 15 years, he never thought he would see himself working in ministry. He’s driven the van for his wife, Deidra Robertson, the Operation HOPE coordinator for many CRI events so he’s been a regular presence at CRI for a while. The natural progression was to join the team, after opening his heart to the mission and work of Community Renewal. As a father of two, he understands the role a father plays in a child’s life. He runs a lawn crew composed of Friendship House teens and teaches basic auto maintenance to his club. “I just felt that it was time to stop looking at the problem, and become a part of the solution. Our communities didn’t get like this overnight, but through the power of positive relationships, we’re gonna take them back.”
Rebecca Scott - Director of First Impressions | Finance
Rebecca Scott and her daughter, Jamie, lived in New Orleans until late August of 2005, when their home was destroyed by the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina. They evacuated to Shreveport and applied for one of the homes built by The Fuller Center for Housing for the Building on Higher Ground project. In New Orleans, Rebecca worked as a customer service agent for a phone company and as an administrative assistant for Sears Regional Credit Central. Rebecca – who is one of 21 children – also has a grown son, Michael, and she has one grandchild and two step-grandchildren. She was active at Metropolitan Baptist Church in New Orleans, where she worked in the youth department, and she served as vice president of the PTA at her daughter’s school. She is now just as active in her new Shreveport neighborhood, where she serves as a Community Renewal Haven House leader.
Tina Sheffield - Barksdale Annex Community Coordinator, Youth
Tina started as a Community Coordinator for youth in the Barksdale Annex neighborhood of Bossier City in 2002. Tina retired after 21 years in the U.S. Air Force as a Senior Master Sergeant. She supervised Airmen and worked as Drill Instructor for the Caddo Commission in the Specialized Treatment and Rehabilitation (S.T.A.R.) Program, where she supervised children. Tina earned an Associate Degree in Logistic Management from the Community College of Air Force and an Associate of Applied Science from Henderson County Junior College. She received the Meritorious Service Medal, Commendation Medal and the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year Award. Tina enjoys the interaction with people at the Friendship House. “We pray with people, get to know them and their needs, strengths, fears, and what they would like to see in our neighborhood. I’ve seen changes for the good,” she says.
Sandra Simpson - Highland Community Coordinator, Children
Sandra joined Community Renewal in 1996 as a Community Coordinator. She works out of her Friendship House in the eclectic Highland neighborhood, where she often has a house full of children in the afternoon and parents and adults in the evening. Sandra has spent much of her life in outreach to children and families in need. She actively worked in street ministry in inner-city neighborhoods before joining Community Renewal full time. Sandra studied at Northwestern State University for two years and graduated from Draughon Business College, where she earned an Associate Degree in Accounting/Computer Programming. After graduating from Draughon, she worked in accounting for 15 years while attending LSU Shreveport at night to complete her bachelors degree. In 2011 she received her Bachelors in Biblical Studies at School of Urban Missions. She is active in her church, where she is a member of the choir, and also supports her neighborhood schools.
Manuela Standard - Barksdale Annex Community Coordinator, Children
email@example.com A native of Berlin, Germany, Manuela joined the staff in 2002 as a Community Coordinator in the Barksdale Annex neighborhood of Bossier City. She has found a common bond with many of the residents in the neighborhood. “When they hear my accent and stories about my parents and grandparents suffering in the Holocaust, they see we share suffering,” she says. “I can relate to people and give them hope. It is a joy to see people bloom.” Manuela worked for eight years as a para professional and teacher’s aide for the Bossier Parish School Board. She has worked with troubled children and youth at Success Institute and women with drug addictions at Volunteers of America. At Evergreen Presbyterian Ministries she provided job skill training for adults and children with disabilities. She attended State College for Educators in Berlin for three years and has completed numerous training courses.
Michelle Walter - Cedar Grove Community Coordinator, Children
Michelle joined the staff in 2002 and has moved from receptionist to community coordinator in the Cedar Grove neighborhood. “You start with the kids, the kids become adults, and the lessons they have learned at their Friendship House will make for a better, safer neighborhood,” she says. Michelle previously worked for The City of Shreveport in both Community Services and the Code Enforcement offices. She holds an Associate of Applied Science from Southern University. “I like the fact that I have the opportunity to make an impact on young children’s lives to make them better citizens,” she says. “I don’t want to be another program. I want to be somebody who truly cares. I want to know their dreams and goals and help them reach those goals. I want to be able to go to their high school graduation and see them succeed in life.”
Emmitt Welch - Allendale Community Coordinator, Youth
Emmitt Welch serves as the Community Coordinator for Youth at the Allendale neighborhood Friendship House. He previously served in the same position in the Highland neighborhood. Prior to joining CRI, Emmitt worked for G.E. Energy in Houston, where he developed a passion for helping urban youth. He founded Kids of Cornerstone Youth Outreach Program, “Lights on After School” youth program, and redeveloped a drug-infested vacant field into “Love Field,” a park and sports facility for neighborhood children. “Working with youth is like breathing to me,” he said. “Being a catalyst for positive change in the lives of young people is what I believe is my purpose in ministry. We will give them the tools for life’s journey and we will do it with love. We want them to be productive citizens now and forever.” Emmitt is assisted in his work in Allendale by his wife, Sharpel, who is a mentor and role model for many of the girls in the neighborhood.
David Westerfield - Director of Communications
After a 22-year career writing for newspapers, David joined Community Renewal in 2004 to produce the quarterly newsletter, work with the news media, oversee the web site, produce videos and handle other communications. “What I really enjoy is telling the human interest stories about people whose lives are renewed and changed. It’s so rewarding when those stories then inspire others,” he says. In his journalism career, David wrote on many topics. He traveled to Russia soon after the fall of communism for a special report on a church outreach there. He was one of the first reporters on the scene after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. David has won numerous writing awards from the Associated Press, Gannett News Service, The (Shreveport) Times and other groups. David has done freelance writing for Guideposts, Kiwanis, USA Today, USA Weekend, The Dallas Morning News and others. He enjoys photography and traveling.
Ro White - ARA Overseer, ARA Life Skills Teacher | Development
Before joining CRI and ARA, Ro White, a Shreveport native, moved all over the country with her husband raising their three children. During these moves, Ro found the time to teach and gained experience teaching in several different states. After 22 years away, Ro moved back to Shreveport and was looking for a way to use her teaching experiences. She found out about CRI from her father and Bill O’Brien. “I loved the whole concept and started volunteering one day a week in ARA, which slowly changed to a fall commitment in the ARA. I love going into each neighborhood and teaching the willing and eager students. Gloria Millender is such an inspirational leader. She pulled me in and has allowed me to teach and do what I love.”
Part Time Staff
Cedar Grove Neighborhood Ambassador
ARA Public Relations Coordinator | Social Media
Barksdale Annex Neighborhood Ambassador
Haven House Assistant
Adult Renewal Academy Staff
HiSET Teacher (Night)
Life Skills Teacher, Counselor
HiSET Teacher (Language)
HiSET Teacher (Math)
| Irma Martin
HiSET Math Tutor
|Chef Richard Hexter
Culinary Arts Administrator
Culinary Arts Teacher
|Nettie Cooper Pamplin
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“Many people have had their dreams crushed and through the power of friendship we give them the courage to dream again.”
– Mack McCarter, founder