‘The results have far exceeded expectations, bringing blessings to so many,’ says Child Evangelism Fellowship Executive Vice President Moises Esteves
For Immediate Release
January 2, 2024
ST. LOUIS — Redberry Street in Las Vegas, Nevada, was recently known mostly for its troubles. Residents of its 27 apartment buildings have endured two rival gangs, drug dealers, prostitution, vehicle thefts and nightly bursts of gunfire.
But now, thanks to a partnership between local police, Child Evangelism Fellowship’s (CEF) Good News Club®, an elementary school, churches and other members of the Redberry Coalition, the neighborhood is reviving in important ways. Good News Clubs® are weekly Christian programs for kids five to 12 years old featuring a Bible lesson, songs, memory verses, and games.
According to local police, street-level violent crimes have decreased by 33.3 percent in the first six months of 2023 compared to the last six months of 2022. Children who were afraid to be on the street outside even in daylight hours are back playing basketball, soccer and other games.
“When CEF’s Good News Clubs® of Southern Nevada teamed up with the Redberry Coalition, our staff hoped that it could change lives. The results have far exceeded expectations, bringing blessings to so many,” says Child Evangelism Fellowship Executive Vice President Moises Esteves.
“At Good News Club®, children are learning about how much Jesus loves them and bringing that good news home to their families.
“We also appreciate the openness of the Las Vegas police to work with the Good News Club® and others in the Redberry Coalition,” Esteves says. “They deserve a lot of credit and don’t get enough. That’s why I’m happy to note that CEF recognizes National Law Enforcement Day, which is on January 9.
“We honor the sacrifices made by the men and women in law enforcement at all levels — local, state and federal — who protect all of us. The U.S. has over 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers and more than 150 American police officers are killed every year in the line of duty.”
For their part, the Las Vegas police appreciate the role played by Good News Club® in bringing about change on Redberry Street and in other neighborhoods and schools.
“Having the Good News Club® being a part of this coalition and being able to reach out to these kids on a weekly basis through Doris Reed Elementary School has been such a big help,” said Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Captain Rodriguez. “It provides them hope on a whole different level than we ever could achieve with law enforcement.”
“At the beginning of this coalition, folks didn’t want to talk to us and now people are opening up. They’re willing to communicate with us,” Captain Rodriguez said. “You’re seeing families walk around their neighborhoods, out like any other community without fear of being victimized.”
At Doris Reed Elementary School, Principal Jennifer Aznarez talks about how much of a difference it has made for the school to host a Good News Club®.
“We’re so happy to have a Good News Club® on campus,” she says. “This brings students together after school. It teaches them how to respect each other, respect their surroundings, respect their community. Students tell me all the time how much they love the Good News Club® and how much they enjoy going, but the values and the structure that they’re learning at Good News Club®, they bring into the home.”
Neal Berkey, associate pastor of Liberty Church, concurs.
“The police tell us that crime has been lowered. We have seen God do amazing work through that neighborhood as a result of the Good News Club® and the Redberry Coalition,” he said.
The Good News Clubs® of Southern Nevada have more than 800 children enrolled in Good News Club®, 160 volunteers, and are working with 16 churches and 25 public and charter schools, “and we’re constantly adding more!”
Child Evangelism Fellowship, which was founded 87 years ago, has been establishing Good News Clubs® in countries around the world for decades. Clubs are thriving worldwide, in countries including Australia, Cambodia, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Uganda.
Last year, through CEF’s combined ministries, more than 19.5 million children worldwide heard the Good News. In 2022, more than 439,000 teachers were trained around the world.
For more CEF news, see the ministry’s latest edition of the online magazine Impact.
Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) is an international, nonprofit, Christian ministry that has been dedicated to seeing every child reached with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, discipled and established in a local church since 1937. CEF is located in all 50 American states and in most countries around the world, with over 3,500 paid staff and tens of thousands of volunteers around the world.
To interview a representative from Child Evangelism Fellowship, contact [email protected], Beth Bogucki, 610.584.1096, ext. 105, or Daniel Moyer, ext. 104.