SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Major crime in Shreveport has dropped as much as 69% around one of Community Renewal’s Friendship Houses since CR launched in 1997, and by sponsoring a teen who feels at home in a Friendship House you can aid this non-profit organization continue to succeed using their time-proven methods.

What is a Friendship House?

CR’s Friendship Houses are basically community centers located in a home, where at-risk youth and families can come for after-school programs, help with projects that benefit the community, and be a part of activities that help families and neighbors become more connected to one another. A community coordinator (and their family) lives in each Friendship House and becomes active in the neighborhood. Neighborhoods have two Friendship Houses—one that is focused on children and one that is focused on teens. More than 3000 kids and teens have been a part of Friendship House society since the first FH was opened in Shreveport in 1997.

Teens who frequent the Friendship Houses are encouraged to attend summer camps that give them enriching educational and social experiences; it is up to the citizens of NWLA to make the teens’ camp dreams come true.

A one-time gift of $300 will give one Friendship House teen the opportunity to attend either LEAD Academy, Phonics Camp, Southland Christian Camp, BizCamp, Kids Across American, or the Caddo Parish District Attorney Camp.

And in a region where teens are facing problems that previous generations can barely begin to comprehend, summer camps are a much-needed intellectual vacation that enriches their lives and provides intellectual opportunities during the crucial summer months when school hallways are empty.

Crime rates fall drastically when a Friendship House is near

This is how much the crime rate has fallen in Shreveport neighborhoods with Friendship Houses:

Allendale                               60 percent

Barksdale Annex                   55 percent

Cedar Grove                          69 percent

Highland                                39 percent

Queensborough                     37 percent

Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator has praised the positive impact CR has made and is making in Shreveport.

Community Renewal International’s founder, Mack McCarter, said all of CR’s partners—from people, churches, businesses, and organizations, to schools, the city, and law enforcement departments—deserve credit for the program’s successes.

“But our work is not done,” says McCarter. “We must take this trend to our entire community.

“I applaud what you are doing and the pillars you stand on,” Sheriff Prator said of Community Renewal. “There is now peace and quiet in areas that were once No Man’s Land and that’s refreshing.”

In Shreveport’s Allendale neighborhood, crime has fallen 60% around the streets where drug dealers and gang leaders once had control. Community Renewal Friendship Houses have made what Sherry Brown, a previous FH community coordinator, has called a “remarkable change.”

“When we first moved here it was depressing,” said Brown. “There was a lot of drug activity, and I was often in fear for me and my children. Now we’ve built relationships with good people and there are new neighbors, and this is becoming a good neighborhood.”

Brown said there is a sense of hope in the neighborhood now, and that something beautiful is happening before our eyes.

How to help

CR is searching for sponsors so teens who spend much of their time in Friendship Houses can go to summer camp.

Don’t have enough extra cash to pay for a teen’s entire camp? That’s fine. Donation options on the website range from $25 to $10,000.

Every little bit helps.

Click here to sponsor a Shreveport teen’s summer camp experience.

And please remember that donating money isn’t the only way you can help CR lower the crime rate in Shreveport. Click here if you want to volunteer with Community Renewal.