I joined the BridgeBuilders team in August of 2005. I’ve been here since, nearly 13 years.
How did you get involved?
I was hired to be the GED instructor at the old Turner Courts.
How are you connecting your education & formal training to making poverty history?
I am trained as a special education teacher. That formal training gives me a unique sensitivity to students’ individual needs in our WORK program. I also spent time teaching in inner-city high schools which God used to affirmed the call on my life for urban ministry.
None of the girls participating in BridgeBuilders KIDS After-School or Sports programs had ever seen a ballet nor were they familiar with this classic form of dance. This void prompted Michael Craven, president of BridgeBuilders, to seek a solution. Michael’s own daughter studied ballet for ten years, beginning at age seven so he saw, first-hand, the benefits of this highly disciplined art form and believed that the girls of Bonton might benefit similarly.
This past week, more than twenty 2nd through 5th grade students in our After-School program participated in a community-wide service day in Bonton. Students picked up trash and cleaned around the Buckeye Trails Commons apartments adjacent to Turner Courts.
The project began in response to a lesson taught by our own Shaun Grant, Director of BridgeBuilders KIDS, about what happens to our trash. Shaun was able to use recently donated Google Chrome goggles to lead the kids through a virtual reality tour of the waste disposal process in New York City.
As you may know, we believe that the most pressing need for those suffering from modern poverty in the U.S. is reconciliation with God through Christ. Why? Because the poverty that plagues our cities today is not a financial problem. Modern poverty’s most apparent symptom may be financial insufficiency, but it is really a cultural problem rooted in the human problem of estrangement from God, self, others, and creation that resulted from sin and the fall
It is abundantly clear that South Dallas is the sector of our city with the greatest concentration of poverty in the DFW Metroplex. In West Dallas, where we are currently headquartered, and our WORK Program is housed, there remain roughly 6500 residents living at or below the poverty line. Meanwhile, there are more than 100,000 people living at or below poverty in the neighborhoods south of Interstate 30 and east of Interstate 45, what we commonly refer to as South Dallas.
Last year, BridgeBuilders was blessed by more than 350 volunteers, who provided over 1300 hours of service. Without these faithful volunteers, we simply couldn’t serve the number of people that we do.
One such example of this faithfulness is the Cartwright/Scott Bible study class from Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano. It was a little over a year ago that Director, David Cartwright and Teacher, Jim Scott invited Lynn Pokorny, one of our most ardent supporters, to share with their class about her experience as a volunteer with BridgeBu
Want to experience one of Dallas' newest and most exciting culinary destinations...and support a great cause? Join BridgeBuilders for a dining excursion at Legacy Hall on April 17 from 6:30-9:30 PM. Legacy Hall is "a chance to immerse oneself in the sights, smells, sounds, and tastes of North Texas by presenting a collection of culinary experts who are passionate about turning each meal into an experience."
We are excited to announce that BridgeBuilders has been awarded a generous grant from the Dallas Mavericks Foundation to provide and install a new (and actual) basketball court at the Turner Courts Recreation Center in the Bonton neighborhood of South Dallas.
One of the most pressing problems facing the urbanized poor is a lack of personal transportation. The fact is 40 percent of the population in Dallas lives south of the Trinity River but 90 percent of the jobs are located north. And, although Dallas has a substantial mass transit system, less than 15 percent of the jobs in the area are reachable through DART. Without personal transportation, one’s access to economic opportunity remains severely limited.
In an effort to educate Christians on the many facets of poverty; what it is, what it isn’t, and how the gospel can solve it; BridgeBuilders is publishing a series of Poverty Essays, the second of which is now available.These small booklets, written by S. Michael Craven, are designed to correct the many misconceptions surrounding modern poverty in the U.S. as well as the Church’s role in solving poverty.
Kimberly Dunaway first walked through our doors in October 2016. She, like so many that we serve every day, was in need of hope and desperate for help. Kimberly, a thirty-one-year-old single mother of five, arrived here at the end of a long series of tragic misfortunes that found her homeless and her children taken away due to her extremely unstable situation. Kimberly came to BridgeBuilders at the recommendation of two former students
At BridgeBuilders we are dedicated to the alleviation of those conditions that create and sustain poverty in the twenty-first-century urban context. This differs greatly from poverty relief. Under the rubric of relief, the goal is to provide relief from the effects of situational poverty that potentially threaten one’s survival such as providing food, water, and shelter. Relief focuses on the external conditions or situations that are creating real human need. Sometimes relief is the only appropriate response, especially in the wake of natural disasters.
Over the weekend BridgeBuilders was honored to be featured as an expert on poverty alleviation at the annual Movement Day Greater Dallas. Movement Day is a global movement of God to promote city transformation and unity through Christian communities working together.
If you've volunteered or been around BridgeBuilders at all, you've probably seen Caitlin Fechner. She is one of our most faithful volunteers and has been impacted the lives of the kids in Bonton through tutoring and sports.
On February 13th, the Board of Directors selected Matthew McIntyre as their new Chairman. Matt has served on the Board of Directors since 2012. Matt and his wife, Kim have demonstrated faithful devotion to the vision, mission, and financial needs of BridgeBuilders over these many years.
Ever wondered what BridgeBuilders does? Curious about what distinguishes poverty relief from poverty alleviation? Inquired as to how Michael Craven keeps such an impeccably groomed beard? Ask us your questions about Christianity, culture, and poverty and we’ll answer them via Facebook Live on the evening of March 8.
If you happened to be at Turner Courts Gym recently, while the BridgeBuilders KIDS After-School program was underway, you might have noticed Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive end, Michael David Johnson coaching the boys on the basketball court. At 6-feet-7 inches and 280 pounds, he’s frankly hard to miss!
As a young seminarian, Ronnie was tasked with reaching the lost in Bonton. In doing so, Ronnie conceived of the most effective outreach effort this ministry has ever seen: “Ballin’ & Bible.” Through basketball, Ronnie was able to attract a large number of men from the community every Monday night where he would serve as “pastor.”
In 2017 we were blessed by the faithful support of nearly 350 volunteers, all of whom together donated more than 1300 hours of service. The fact is, we could not effectively serve the number of people that we do each year were it not for this small army of dedicated volunteers.
Last weekend, BridgeBuilders’ awesome Director of MISSIONS, Josh Conner, was invited to train a group of Frisco Bible Church students who will be serving with BridgeBuilders in South Dallas over Spring Break. The students were equipped with a highly effective evangelism and discipleship tool called the “4-1-1.”
Ever since Richard Mauldin walked through our doors seven years ago, Texas Capital Bank has been a valuable partner in Making Poverty History.
Texas Capital Bank has a strong commitment to helping communities prosper. They do this by reinvesting in the communities they serve and by supporting programs such as BridgeBuilders that offer adult and financial literacy training in poor communities.
In light of BridgeBuilders’ dramatic achievements in the area of urban missions and poverty alleviation under Michael’s leadership, Michael was invited to join the Acton Institute as a Regular Contributor, offering subject-matter expertise on urban missions, poverty, and race.
If catechism is unfamiliar to you, you shouldn’t be too surprised since it is not as commonly used in the Church today as it was in the past. The word catechism comes from the Greek word (katecheo), found in the New Testament, which simply means to teach, especially when the instructor is speaking face-to-face with the students.
BridgeBuilders has been working closely with the Movement Day Greater Dallas leadership in preparation for the 2018 Movement Day Greater Dallas Conference. This year’s conference will be held February 24 at Dallas Baptist University,starting at 8:00 am and concluding at 1:00 pm.
The mission of Movement Day Greater Dallas (MDGD) is to unite the body of Christ around a common purpose in order to achieve measurable progress against the greatest spiritual, social, and humanitarian challenges facing the city. If you are concerned about the welfare of your city, MDGD is an opportunity for you to come together and collaborate with Christians from across the Metroplex.
Recently one of our allies was paired up with Callene, a student in our work training program. At BridgeBuilders, every student that enters our Life Skills and Vocational Training program is offered the option of being partnered with an Ally, what we used to call a mentor. Our Allies are trained volunteers who meet at our offices in West Dallas over lunch once-a-week for three weeks while students complete the program. Allies offer vital support and encouragement to our students, like Callene, as they navigate the often-turbulent road to self-sufficiency.
There is a lot happening at BridgeBuilders and we don't want for you to miss a moment. The best way to keep up with us is on social media. You can share content and interact with us. This helps more people see what's going on. Click to visit each page, and follow us to see how, together, we’re Making Poverty History in our city.