Sandra Underwood saw kids in her new neighborhood committing crimes in the open. She was robbed and assaulted. Sandra had moved to Carver Pond Apartments in North Durham, North Carolina to help her mother.
But after these experiences, her reaction was, “What have I gotten myself into? I’m getting out!” But with some encouragement Sandra made a major faith decision to stay and help the kids despite the risks and hardships. Her friend Wendy Clark immediately connected her with CEF of Durham. Director John Blake shard his vision for reaching city kids in under-resourced communities. He advised, encouraged, prayed with her and helped her make needed connections.
Sandra developed a plan and gathered a ministry team. Within two short weeks the Butterflz after-school program began. Butterflz includes Good News Club, Wonder Devotional time, sports camps and Truth Chasers Club. To be involved in the weekly club, kids at Carver Pond must be accepted into the academic and Bible club program, which meets twice weekly.
Retired teacher Lou Brogden works diligently alongside Ms. Underwood to run the Butterflz weekly club, other residents of the neighborhood have begun to help as their eyes have been opened to the needs and the assets within the community to meet them.
Soon Carver Pond management agreed to create more space for the club. Over the summer a major clean-up and reorganization job was conducted in the old Carver Pond community building. This free-standing building more than tripled the space available for the Butterflz program. The city took notice and its citizens got involved with the Carver Pond Butterflz project.
CEF has also come alongside the Butterflz program to help with special events such as a recently held outreach called “Blacktop Games.” This carnival style event included games, food and performances from residents, churches and collaborating ministries. Prizes for soccer, basketball, corn hold and other contests were provided by groups outside the community. Performances, demonstrations and Gospel presentations were offered every 30-40 minutes. Duke basketball staff, clowning, a testimony from a former gang member and a world-record-holding basketball spinner were featured attractions. Over 45 kids received Christ as Savior!
The Butterflz program moved into its newly renovated space on the Monday after Blacktop Games. More kids will now have the opportunity to participate in the weekly program.
John Blake said, “Here is tangible evidence of a community with great needs beginning to turn around because people in the neighborhood are engaging a shared problem. Concerned friends are coming alongside, helping bear the neighborhood’s burden and giving hope to the city. Reconciliation and biblical transformation are taking place. Ordinary people are doing extraordinary things as they work together empowered by Almighty God.”