Love Wins Out In West Morningside
But instead of hiding behind locked doors, she opened them and neighborswent out to meet the troubles head on – with love and friendship.
A resident of Shreveport’s West Morningside neighborhood for more than 10 years, Mrs. Jones credits the Haven House concept for bringing true renewal to her community.
“There was conflict in the neighborhood and the police would be called. It was people not knowing each other,” she said.
“One time flower pots were broken; one time a car window was broken. There was vandalism. It was an ongoing feud.”
Until one day – Christmas Day – when love won out.
Without any fanfare, a man who had been anything but friendly took a gift to Christina Johnson, his across-the-street neighbor. The two families had gone through many troubles, but the power of friendship was finally taking hold.
“Community Renewal played a very important role in this,” Mrs. Jones said. “The first step was coming to the Haven House training. If you can show somebody a different way, they’ll usually be willing to take that step.”
Now Christina Johnson is not only a Haven House leader herself; she is recruiting others. “We Care” signs are sprouting on her street like spring flowers.
Today the residents of West Morningside work together on activities like Easter egg hunts for the children, clean-up days and neighborhood yard sales.
“I was raised to love my neighbors – that’s in my heart. It’s scary when you don’t know who’s living next door to you,” Ms. Johnson said.
“Communication is the key. I’ve already recruited five people to be Haven House leaders and I love to do that. And I love planting gardens. My goal is to plant one for the whole neighborhood. I’m a person who likes to take junk and make something beautiful.”
And while there are still problems, something beautiful is exactly what she sees now.
Charlotte Jones takes pride in the improvements thus far and has new hope for even better times ahead as the neighbors deepen their relationships. One of the best changes: less crime and less fear.
“We watch out for each other. If someone drives up to my neighbor’s house and I know she’s not there, I’m out there real quick. And she does the same for me,” Mrs. Jones said.
“Now I only see the police cars if they are passing through – and that’s wonderful.”