Community leaders become servant leaders as neighborhood volunteers
For Release: Feb. 1, 2011
For Hurricane Katrina evacuee Nettie Pittman, the team of volunteers in her yard last Saturday looked like a hurricane for good.
“I am overjoyed. This is a blessing for me,” said Ms. Nettie, who now lives in Shreveport’s Highland neighborhood with her twin sister, Daisy.
“I thank God. I could not have done this. This is uplifting for the whole neighborhood.”
The volunteers who quickly raked up more than a dozen bags of leaves in her yard were from the Shreveport Leadership program from the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce. They were joined by a Byrd High School student and some nearby residents who turned a sunny Saturday into a day of service.
Working in partnership with Community Renewal, the Shreveport Leadership group was giving back for the second Saturday in a row, having worked in the Cedar Grove neighborhood a week earlier. Both projects were centered around a CRI Friendship House, which is there as a safe haven in the neighborhood. Friendship House activities include after-school programs, family nights, education programs and much more.
“This is part of our mission to do something that is high-impact in our community. It is so meaningful to do things for someone else,” said social worker Shreveport Leadership program graduate Jamie Scoggin.
“I think giving back to the community is a key part of being a leader. And we are meeting people we would never meet otherwise.”
Hannah Hensley, 18, is a Byrd High School senior in the Lyle Leaders program. She gave of her time to help paint a study room at the Friendship House.
“This made me really happy and feel better about myself to be here helping,” she said. “In just a few hours we can do so much to make a difference for these kids.”
Andrew Mulford, an independent insurance broker, has helped Community Renewal through his church, Broadmoor Baptist, and was happy to return with the Leadership program.
“I love this cause and mission. You are on the ground setting results and I want to be a part of it,” he said. “This has both an immediate and long-term impact. Knowing our community is a better place and lives are being changed by caring acts is our reward.”
Community Coordinator Sandra Simpson, who started at the Friendship House in 1997 and who has seen more than 500 children come through its doors since then, said service projects like this help build community pride.
“I am so proud of this neighborhood. People came out of their houses and started helping too because they care,” she said.
“This is a great way to meet our neighbors and show we care about them. It’s all about loving and caring for your neighbors.”