“Truly a model that is renewing the entire city”

“Truly a model that is renewing the entire city”

One of the first things that Dianne Schick realized and liked about Community Renewal is that this is a work not just for a few, but for all. “I like that Community Renewal is building relationships that go across the city. This is truly a model that is renewing the entire city,” she said. “Just look at how the crime rate has gone down in the Friendship House neighborhoods. But Community Renewal is not just for those communities – it’s for all communities. We need it in Southern Trace just as much as any other neighborhood does.” Woody and Dianne Schick were introduced to Community Renewal by a friend who suggested they take a tour. He did and then she did. (CRI tours are conducted monthly.) They liked what they saw and got involved. Today they are Haven House leaders and Dianne has hosted a block party, brought friends on CRI tours and helped with other events. “God calls us to love our neighbors and that can be a challenge when people are so busy. But building relationships is important. When you don’t care about your neighbors, that’s when things start to fall apart,” she said. “We all need relationships and especially relationships outside the family. God made us to love and help other people get out of our self-centered souls.” Dianne hosted a block party in her cul-de-sac last fall. Although retired, she and Woody are still busy themselves, including raising their teenage grandson. But she found that the effort it took to put on a block party was well worth it. “We were able to really visit and we...
Students build dreams through welding class

Students build dreams through welding class

Magnolia Bates is building her dream for a better future with a welder’s torch. She is one of about 15 students earning a certificate in welding through a partnership between Community Renewal’s Adult Renewal Academy and Northwest Louisiana Technical College. Red Ball Oxygen has donated welding rods and equipment. “Some people told me that welding was for a man, not a woman, but I like challenges. I like using the torch and building things,” she said. Magnolia, a mother of three, is an ARA student who is close to graduating. “I want to start my own soul food business – I’ve already had training in culinary arts – and then I can use my welding skills to work on my own building.” One of the best rewards of this new Community Renewal outreach: Students not only learn a marketable job skill; they also learn self-confidence. “This is building me up and building my self-esteem. I feel like I don’t have to worry about anything because this takes stress off of me.” Students meet on Saturday mornings on the LTC Shreveport campus with Allendale Community Coordinator Emmitt Welch, also an experienced welder. “Without this class, some of these students would be at home watching the wind blow through the trees. Their lives would be at a dead end,” he said. “This program gives them hope. They will become responsible, productive citizens because of this class.” Teacher Harris Williams, a welder for 40 years, said helping these students is one way of giving back to the community. “My hope is they complete their welding education and get their diploma. They can...