University students have a passion to change the world
For release: Oct. 19, 2011
University student Jonathan Davis says he tends to be a skeptic.
That’s good news for Community Renewal. When Jonathan heard that major crime was down an average of 50 percent in CRI's target neighborhoods in Shreveport, La., he wondered if that could really be true.
So this enterprising 20-year-old took it upon himself to do his own research, check the crime statistics independently and compare the numbers. The result: He also found that major crime is down an average of 50 percent in the target neighborhoods.
Jonathan is a junior at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, studying communications and education, with plans to earn a master’s degree in education. He is one of many students at universities and colleges in Louisiana, Texas and other states who are developing a passion to change the world for the better through Community Renewal.
"I hope the impact of the We Care and the Bossier Parish Community College partnership lasts for years and will reach out to our state and then our nation," said Sarah Bolton, president of the Student Government Association at the college in Bossier City, La. Students from the University of Texas, Louisiana Tech, Northwestern State and other campuses have also engaged with CRI.
Jonathan Davis comes from Niagara Falls, Canada. His hometown is a place where neighbors know one another and watch out for one another. It’s the type of community he likes. That’s why he is thrilled TCU is building that type of community on campus and is instilling respect for that type of community in its 9,000-plus students (including graduate students).
TCU is moving full speed ahead as a Community Renewal University, turning students into active “Haven House” leaders who not only care about one another like never before, but who also have big dreams for taking the “We Care” attitude into the world. This year they named staff member Christy Lehew as Community Renewal Coordinator at TCU.
On Oct. 6, for the second year in a row, the university hosted the internationally recognized Drum Cafe' and brought students together for an engaging outdoor session in which they learned how random noise can be turned into beautiful music. In the same way, harmony comes to a community when residents learn to live and work, marching to the same beat.
“In Canada, I feel like we know all our neighbors and we need to have that here again. We have to be intentional about it, even if it means going out of our way,” Jonathan said.
“In our neighborhoods in Canada there is almost no crime. Once someone stole our car – but they brought it back. If something does happen, everyone comes together and works it out.”
When sophomore Alexandra Erwin talks about taking Community Renewal off campus, she’s not talking about West Texas. She’s talking about West Africa. Her dream is to start or work with a nonprofit there and use music as a way of bringing children together and bringing joy into their lives.
“I want to be involved because I think this is a powerful movement. People don’t feel lonely when they are part of something bigger than themselves,” said Alex, 18, who is from Thibodaux, La.
CRI Founder Mack McCarter spoke to the 120 student resident assistants in August as they prepared for the start of a new semester. When senior Gibson Singer, 21-year-old nursing major, told Mack how much he inspired her and other students, he was quick to tell her just how much the students inspire the staff at CRI.
They are full of energy, full of passion and full of ideas.
“So much of what we do in college is temporary. But this can have a lasting impact and it will not stop when we graduate,” Gibson said. She is one of several students who have visited Community Renewal in Shreveport.
Senior Leah Miskin, a marketing major from New Jersey, said college campuses need a sense of community just like neighborhoods do. “My heart goes out to new students,” she said.
“I sincerely believe relationships are the foundation. That is the way to change the world – through caring relationships. That is why I invest my time in this.”