Joey Simmons – LIT Service Project

Many thanks to Joey for all the very hard work and time the trueU LIT (Leader in Training) program requires.  This is truly a very big accomplishment! We are all very fortunate for Joey’s commitment to this program.  Service is an important part of LIT. I asked Joey if he could share more about his service project.  Please see below.

We worked with Shepherd Community Center. Their mission is to break the cycle of poverty on the near Eastside of Indianapolis by engaging and empowering the community to cultivate healthy children, strong families, and vibrant neighborhoods through a Christ-centered approach that meets the physical, emotional, spiritual, and academic needs of our neighbors.

Poverty rates in these areas reach as high as 38.6%. And eight out of ten children rely on school as their primary source of food during the week. Yet, Shepherd exists to provide hope and support to our neighbors. We are helping our neighbors break the cycle of poverty through a unique and holistic approach we call our Continuum of Care. The Continuum of Care is a full set of programs that allow us to be continuously engaged in the lives of neighborhood children, teens, and their parents. It is designed to help our families overcome the challenges they may be facing in all areas: physical, emotional, spiritual, and academic

We have watched several families become strong physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. Our students also attain higher academic achievement. In an area where only 33% of entering freshmen graduate high school, and only 75% of those who graduate go on to college, nearly 90% of Shepherd’s seniors graduate and go on to college, job training, or the military. Many of our students are first-generation high school graduates.

We had classes with Tim Streett every morning where he taught us his course on “Poverty 101”. We learned the definition of generational poverty and how to break the cycle for families and their children. Tim Streett has lived and worked among the urban poor for 25 years in cities—including Boston, Chicago, and Indianapolis. He spent the last 17 years as a resident of the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood in Indianapolis where he serves as the Assistant Director of Shepherd Community Center. His primary role at Shepherd is to provide continuing education to staff, volunteers, and partner churches through a ministry known as Shepherd U. Tim utilizes his twenty years of experience combined with a formal education in sociology to teach about issues of poverty, urban development, and urban ministry.

Every afternoon we went back to the Shepherd Center and had lunch with the school kids, grade K-5. We toured their facility and food bank and learned about all the programs they make available for the kids and the family. This was a great project and a very eye- opening experience for me.

We worked with our teammates at the home of Don and Gloria. They are long time Shepherd supporters. A few notes about the family. Don is disabled and has had a hard time keeping up with major projects (see below). Gloria recently had surgery and their daughter that lives with them just had a beautiful baby about two weeks ago. Her name is Journey and she is amazing! Gloria was delightful and full of energy. Don and Gloria relocated to Indianapolis when they lost their home and belongings in Hurricane Katrina.

Below are the projects that we completed over our two- day service project:

Kitchen Floor Project:

* Prepare the kitchen by moving the refrigerator, stove and other shelving units.
* Remove old tile and sub floor
* Install new sub floor
* Install new laminate flooring

Fence Project

* Install a new 20 x 30 chain link fence for their dog
* Includes digging holes and pouring concrete for the posts

Back Deck Project:

* Remove old steps
* Install new steps
* Scrap existing deck
* Stain entire deck

Front Porch Project:

* Install supports at the end of the porch
* Install lattice at the end of the porch

Front Hand Rail Project

* Remove old hand rails
* Pour new concrete for posts
* Install new hand rails
* Pour new concrete on the side walk near the hand rails.

General Landscaping

* Pulling weeds
* Removing old branches