Will you join us in bringing Shalom to our neighborhood?
In the fall of 2014, the City of Indianapolis and government officials identified Shepherd’s neighborhood to be the third most violent area in the city. Their analysis of the area included:
- Drug overdoses 300% higher than the rest of the city
- Shootings 400% higher than the rest of the city
- Murders 200% higher than the rest of the city
- Food and medical desert
- Mental health issues are 400% higher than the rest of the city
- 35% of all houses are abandoned
- 39% of our neighbors live below the poverty line
- 19% of our neighbors are single females with children compared to 9.5% for all of Indianapolis
Inside our Shepherd programming we are seeing real results and the cycle of poverty is being broken. Lives are being transformed through our Continuum of Care as we work to meet our families’ physical, emotional, spiritual, and academic needs from cradle to career – and beyond.
The City of Indianapolis has challenged us to take our programs outside our buildings and go to the people instead of waiting for them to come to us. We want our entire neighborhood to have the access to services and support we offer our families inside our buildings. Our goals are to lift up all residents and include them in the life of the neighborhood. They challenged us to transform the entire community and bring about Shalom, peace.
Simply going door-to-door and listening to our neighbors has confirmed the city’s analysis. Our neighbors shared a sense of hopelessness and despair, but we were able to identify some bright spots of community. Collaborating with the City of Indianapolis, our neighbors, and partners like you, Shepherd is empowering our neighbors to band together to reduce the violence, crime, and poverty that plagues our community while helping to:
- Feed the Hungry – helping neighborhood families feed themselves with much-needed fresh fruits, vegetables, and food basics to ultimately end hunger among the most vulnerable in our neighborhoods. Partners: Elanco, Gleaners, Future Farmers of America (FFA), and the Marion County Farm Bureau
- Promote Health – focusing on health to deepen the level of trust with our neighbors and improve their physical and mental well-being. This includes having a full-time, on-site paramedic as well as a police officer to serve the needs and build relationships with our neighbors. Partners: Ezkenazi Health
- Improve Housing – dramatically impacting the access and quality of housing in the neighborhood by constructing of new homes and renovating others in our neighborhood as well as providing affordable, stable housing and employment for our neighbors. Partners: Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity, Englewood Community Development Center, Health & Hospital, the Fuller Center for Housing
Nearly every block has someone who could be a block captain with whom we can work. Surprisingly, there are a high number of artists and we are collaborating with them to build community events and economic sustainability with a Shepherd Etsy Store to sell their art.
The Shalom Project is more than just an idea; it is an action plan. We have already started to make a transformative mark in the neighborhood. We are:
- Making basic repairs and painting homes
- Mowing yards
- Fixing home appliances
- Connecting families to resources such as health care, mental health services, legal aid, and more.
- Providing a listening ear, love, and support to our neighbors
- Helping neighbors plant backyard gardens
In its most concise form, the Shalom Project is community transformation through:
- Identification of all our community’s assets and liabilities
- Extension of Shepherd’s mission, cultural values, Continuum of Care and programs into the neighborhood
- Collaboration with strategic partners to maximize our impact
St. Francis of Assisi prayed, “May God’s peace be upon you,” for everyone he met. Like St. Francis, we are praying Shalom – God’s peace – over our neighbors. While it runs counter to the neighborhood belief that, “no one cares,” and “I can never get ahead,” the Shalom Project fills our neighbors with the hope that justice will be done, wrong will fail, and right will prevail.
Want to get involved? To volunteer with the Shepherd Shalom Project, fill out the volunteer form and specify “Shalom Project” and be sure to list any specific areas in which you or your group would like to get involved in the comment box.