This is a high-crime rate area. As one of the kids in the program put it, "there are a lot of bangers, like gang bangers."
Frank, the ARC director, wasn't surprised to hear this. "There are a lot of gang bangers and would-be gang bangers in the area," Frank explained. "These people try to convince the youth to join their fledgling gangs." This makes the ARC a community asset that helps keep kids out of trouble.
The ARC was with whom we did our first NRI project.
Several weeks ago, a few kids tore the shingles off the play structure outside the church and started a shingle fight. Frank had the shingles and nails, but didn't know how to re-shingle the damaged roofs. So, Mike Hammerquiest, Asa Peller, and myself visited the ARC one morning to help Frank re-shingle the play structure. It was a very minor job, about 2:30 hours of work, but after when we finished Frank told me what it meant to him.
"Thank you for the help Ted. The church was very upset when the shingles were torn off. If they were ever to kick us out these kids would have nowhere to go and would much more likely join these gangs. Thank you."