|To search, type one or more key words below.|
By Linda Reeves, May 18, 2001, The Sun Sentinel
Courtney Cain and Victor Marshall are lifelong friends and founders of the Boynton Beach Faith Based Community Development Corp.
Both men are dedicated to making a difference in the community. They spend evenings tutoring youth and organizing after-school activities. Weekends, they repair rundown homes owned by the elderly and arrange cookouts with their own money for the hungry.
But after nearly a year and a half, they were getting discouraged. So they were getting discouraged. So they invited church leaders to share ideas over homemade biscuits and grits recently at Wilson Recreation Center, 211 NW 13th Ave. in Boynton Beach.
"I am praying real hard," said Marshall, 41, a Boynton Beach construction worker, as he spoke to about a dozen clergy. "I know God won't let me down. We want to change the community, but we need to get the churches involved."
The corporation already has the support of several businesses, which have donated time and funds. They also have the city's support in the form of $35,000 from community development block grants. Dan DeCarlo, neighborhood specialists for the city, came to the breakfast as a show of support.
"I am here to let you know I am a resource," he said. "I want to find out how the city can work with you to make things happen."
The Faith Based Community Development Corp. was conceived in Marshall's driveway one night when he and Cain, 40, a code compliance officer with the city, found themselves about 1,000 yards from a drug raid in Boynton's predominantly black area near Martin Luther King Boulevard. They decided that night it was time to do something to get rid of the drug problems and spruce up the community where they had lived all their lives. They vowed to help people get off the streets and find jobs. They made a promise to encourage children to attend school and set goals.
The Boynton Beach Faith Based Community Development Corp., 404 NW 13th Ave., was officially incorporated in December 1999.
Local Initiative Support Corp., a national nonprofit organization based in New York, has guided the two men.
"I can say that this group is very aggressive in their attempts," said Chris Plummer, senior program officer on hand for the breakfast.
LISC has reserved $50,000 to help the group. The money has been used to start an apprenticeship program, a business resource center and a home ownership program for potential home buyers.
The men see their next step as partnering with houses of worship.
"Efforts could be joined to organize several annual events to bring a positive message to the community," said Robert Dwelle, project manager for the Faith Based Development Group. "Churches could help spread the word about free services offered by the corporation through weekly bulletins that might, in turn, help church members."
Dwelle said they want to pool technical and physical resources.
"A church member might offer a tutor a child or help someone learn to read. A church group might spearhead a cleanup or a clothing drive."
The non profit also wants to help churches obtain grants to build senior centers, childcare facilities and educational buildings on church-owned land.
"We can just sit around and let things happen or not happen," said Dwelle. "Or we can work together and improve the community. Everyone will benefit."
Marshall closed the breakfast with a prayer.
"Holy Father, bless all the people that came out this morning. Bless them for their encouragement. I feel that with your help and their prayers, we can hold onto our vision. We can make things happen."
To volunteer or get a church, fellowship or temple involved, call (561) 752-0303.
Copyright © 2001, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
(webpage by Deborah Butler of Lighthouse Ministries)