Then his wife, Cindy, introduced Jeff to Neighborhood Transformation. They sought to adapt what they were doing to the Neighborhood Transformation strategy. Jeff and Cindy struggled with this adaptation for over a year but found it was not working. However, the Lord was working. He moved them to realize that Neighborhood Transformation was a wholistic ministry dependent on building relationships with neighbors. They prayed for direction and the Lord led Jeff to take a very early retirement to go full time into this city to implement Neighborhood Transformation. Also we assisted Jeff set up his own non-profit and provided the ability for him to receive tax deductible donations through our Affiliate program.
Friendships were built upon. Community members were motivated to come together to focus on their assets. A challenged community elected to begin its self-improvement process with a basketball team. Many kids in Guadalupe wanted to play basketball but could not afford the Boys and Girls club. Soon 35 highly motivated children were competing at basketball!
From this grew the desire to improve their children's education and job prospects, driving the creation of a community-run tutoring program. Less than 50% of their children were graduating from high school or getting their GED, dooming them to poor paying jobs, if they were lucky enough to find those. The community wanted to change this. A space was rented cheaply in the Mercado to hold tutoring sessions. Today, two tutoring sessions a day are held with approximately 50 children and their families participating. The best part is that most of the tutoring comes from members of the community who have discovered they have assets to change the future.
Then this re-energized community began focusing on establishing a job-training program. This accomplished, other innovations began cascading in. Dysfunctional families were worked with in mutual support groups. A young moms clubs was begun, giving the tools to become nurturing mothers to their young children. Graduate education degree training was begun to assist adults in completing their education.
The community reached out to partners like Grand Canyon University and the University of Arizona to bring community nursing and nutritional education to the community. The Sheriff's Department was engaged to improve mutual respect between police and community. The city took on painting and beautification projects. Today community leaders hold a quarterly gathering with those trying to implement NT from different neighborhoods across the greater Phoenix area, in order that they can learn from each other.
Through all of this, the community has learned confidence in problem solving and has been motivated to mutually support one another, sacrificially loving one another as Christ emptied Himself to love us. The community has learned it can conquer the issues which it has chosen to work on and is willing to invest in.