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Profiles in compassion

"Profiles in compassion" Continued...

Issue: "UN: Kofi's crisis," Dec. 18, 2004

One by One Leadership emerged from experiences like that with the goal of sparking civic renewal. For example, when a medical center prepared to expand near a high-crime neighborhood and fence out the surrounding community, One by One built up a neighborhood association so that residents would have a voice in planning renewal. As the medical center began offering training for entry-level positions and local schools increased their class offerings in English as a Second Language, the center and the neighborhood began to see each other as partners rather than adversaries.

One by One has since mobilized former welfare recipients to mentor families transitioning from welfare. The organization has taken at-risk youth on camping trips with police officers who mentor the youth, and in doing so decrease the likelihood of future run-ins with the law. Now One by One is recruiting mentors for children of prisoners.

Another program has mobilized and trained teams from 87 churches to serve in ministries throughout Fresno. Volunteers offer parental education, after-school programs, assistance to battered women, and counseling for substance abusers.

Fresno's transformation earned it the status of an "All-American" city in 2000.
-Barbara J. Elliott founded the Center for Renewal in Houston and is the author of Street Saints: Renewing America's Cities (2004). Bruce Walker provided information on the Boston, Grand Rapids, and Denver groups, all of which received awards from the Acton Institute's Center for Effective Compassion earlier this month.

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