Since its chartering in 1980, Theressa Hoover Memorial United Methodist Church has been a mission-minded church.
"Members of the church really looked at community outreach and engagement from the beginning and identified the big needs for the community," said the Rev. Deborah Bell, senior pastor of Theressa Hoover UMC.
Bell, who is a founding member of the church, said that once they looked at the needs of their community, the members of the church founded Black Community Developers as a non-profit ministry to assist people living in the areas around Little Rock's 12th Street Corridor.
The name was later changed to Better Community Development, Inc. in 2010 to reflect the organization's inclusive nature.
|Volunteers sell snacks for attendees at Recovery Jam. Photo provided by Better Community Development, Inc..|
BCD provides resources for developing programs that reshape and rebuild communities and lives. Some of the programs that BCD currently manages are their affordable housing program for new home buyers; Empowerment Village, a residential facility for limited income, homeless or disabled individuals; the Youth Initiative Program that develops positive learning opportunities for at-risk youth; and the Hoover Treatment Center, which has provided treatment and recovery options for those suffering from substance addictions for more than 38 years.
Your gifts on Human Relations Day Sunday, helps supports projects and ministries like Better Community Development, Inc.
The Hoover Treatment Center offers a 30-day residential treatment program and is licensed as the only faith-based substance abuse program in the state of Arkansas, according to Bell.
The Center is equipped to accommodate 24 residents, men and women, and 30 additional residents at the apartments in the Empowerment Village. According to Bell, the apartments at Empowerment Village provide an opportunity for patients who have completed residential treatment at the Center to move into an affordable, rent-based home.
The Hoover Treatment Center is able to supply treatment for low or no income patients and those without insurance thanks to Arkansas state funding and funding from the United Methodist Church's General Board of Global Ministries.
"We serve the least, the last, and the lost who truly have nothing," Bell said. "These are people who come directly from the county jail or who have been on the streets for years or have burned all their bridges with their families. We rarely turn people down unless they need something that we can't provide."
According to the Hoover Treatment Center website, patients who enter into Hoover's treatment program will receive safe, holistic treatment based on evidence and clinically sound approaches to treating substance abuse and trauma.
|Face painting is one of the many activities that is available at Recovery Jam. Photo provided by Better Community Development, Inc.|
"We utilize a cognitive-behavioral and 12-step approach to treatment with a spirituality component as our foundation," according to the website.
About two years ago, BCD submitted an application for a Global Ministries grant to help fight substance abuse. The grant program, SPSARV -- which stands for Special Program on Substance Abuse and Related Violence -- awarded BCD with a $100,000 grant to assist with their work on helping people recover from substance abuse and mental health issues.
Bell said they were asked to apply for the grant again this year and were just recently notified that they would be receiving the same funding again to assist with their programs.
"That's good news for the Annual Conference and the general church to know that in Arkansas, there is a church that is helping with substance abuse and residential outpatient care for men and women in our community," Bell said.
"The blessing over the years has been that most of the people we provide services to have been unchurched or hurt by the church. Because we're a faith-based program, we have a spiritual component. And most people who come through our program end up joining our church at Theressa Hoover."
Bell estimates that close to 80% of the members of Theressa Hoover Memorial UMC are people that BCD and the Treatment Center have provided some sort of treatment service to.
"We have a very diverse congregation with more than 100 members. We might have the most diverse congregation in the Conference," Bell said.
excerpt from a story by Caleb Hennington, Digital Content Editor, Arkansas United Methodists magazine
One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, Human Relations Day calls United Methodists to recognize the right of all God's children in realizing their potential as human beings in relationship with one another. The special offering benefits neighborhood ministries through Community Developers, community advocacy through United Methodist Voluntary Services and work with at-risk teens through the Youth Offender Rehabilitation Program.