Community Development Committee (contact): Robert Blevins
Southwood exists to advance the kingdom of God (Our Vision) as we experience and express grace (Our Mission). Becoming a community where the grace of King Jesus flows to us and through us has always been our heart and continues to be our driving passion. We talk about Jesus so much because we need Jesus so much.
Southwood’s commitment to expressing grace MUST begin in our local community. Since our goal is to extend God’s kingdom, not Southwood’s, we can partner with many different organizations working to extend God’s kingdom in Huntsville.
In addition to partnering with local churches, various RUF ministries, and YoungLife, Southwood partners or supports the following organizations in community development projects:
The Cornerstone Initiative cornerstone-al.org
The Cornerstone Initiative seeks to build relationships among people in the low-income neighborhoods in Huntsville’s Westside who have lost hope. They work to build trust and eventually friendships with the people of that community. As CornerStone employees and volunteers listen to residents and grow to care deeply about the issues that affect their lives, they don’t just jump right in and try to solve all of their problems. Instead, they “walk with” their friends, seeking to empower them to find solutions to their problems that utilize the gifts, skills and resources that God has already given them.
The CornerStone Initiative actively partners with numerous existing community service providers in Huntsville. In addition to connecting Westside residents with these resources, CornerStone also provides training through classes such as Faith and Finances and Jobs for Life.
The Huntsville Assistance Program huntsvilleassistanceprogram.org
The Huntsville Assistance Program is a group of Christian congregations who desire to provide a ministry of assistance and referrals to needy individuals and families of Madison County, Alabama. This ministry focuses on the non-homeless and strives to achieve its mission by the pooling of volunteers, information, and financial resources of its members.
HAP’s primary goal is to help clients have a better life. This does not always mean paying their bill will be the answer. HAP endeavors to meet many needs whether they are emotional, financial, or spiritual. All clients are interviewed in person and as much time as is needed to “peel back the onion” and get to the core of that person’s particular problem is taken. We may need to refer this person for financial counseling, marital counseling, drug/alcohol addiction, or medical assistance. We are a major referral source for services available within Madison County. All persons interviewed are encouraged to find a church family regardless of their denomination preference.
InFocus ministry exists on the University of Alabama in Huntsville to reach out particularly to international students. UAH has a diverse student body and there is a unique opportunity to reach international students with the message of the gospel while they are studying in the United States. Many of these students will return as well-educated leaders to countries where there is currently little gospel influence. InFocus sees an opportunity to engage in foreign missions on the local university campus.
Lincoln Village Ministry http://lincolnvillageministry.com/
Lincoln Village Ministry is as multifaceted as the neighborhood in which they serve. Begun in 2002, the ministry has grown to include housing rehabilitation, a private elementary school, the LINC after-school program, Bible studies, and so much more. Each facet works together to bring the transformative hope of the Gospel into the Lincoln Village Neighborhood.
Second Mile Development http://secondmile.net/
Begun in 1985, Second Mile Development serves alongside Huntsville’s Terry Heights and Hillandale neighbors. Their ultimate goal is to bring about, through Christ, a reconciliation between all people – the rich and poor, the educated and uneducated, the fortunate and less fortunate. They serve their community through three programs: Pride for Parents (which includes the Neighborhood Store and the Baby Thrift Store), Second Mile Preschool, and Parent Initiative.
Pride for Parents
Seeks to empower parents to provide for their families – giving them the dignity of purchasing or earning credit for school supplies, clothes, and even Christmas presents.
The Neighborhood Store
Provides clothing and household items at low cost to any member of the community. Families who cannot afford to buy may work to earn credit for needed items.
Second Mile Preschool
The preschool provides opportunities for young children to learn in a Christian environment where they are safe and loved. It is the mission of Second Mile Preschool to give young children successful experiences and to help them develop listening skills, verbal expression, respect for authority, sensitivity to the feelings of others, appreciation of individuality, and pride in their work. Second Mile Preschool promotes kindergarten readiness through the efforts of teachers and community volunteers.
Parent Initiative began in 1993 and serves thousands of parents and children in six local schools and others nationwide. Parent Initiative builds relationships with families and schools to increase parent involvement and to promote education. The Parent Parties program, created and developed by Parent Initiative staff and currently used in 48 states, consists of a monthly party curriculum to teach parenting skills through interactive games and activities.
The Village of Promise http://villagepromise.com/
The Village of Promise serves the needs of children and families from cradle to college to career in distressed neighborhoods. They offer education for parents of infants, pre-K school, Bible classes for elementary students, mentoring for early college students, adult education GED classes, health classes, and other enrichment programs and family support services.