Making the turn in Flint Hill

Jun. 29, 2013 @ 04:52 PM

A party at the park drew about 200 parents and children to an area of Henderson once long neglected and unused before neighborhood efforts turned things around.

The family day complete with games, bouncy-house attractions, face paintings and refreshments included hot dogs, punch and iced tea. It was a welcome alternative to Saturday TV for dozens of children.

“I wanted to come out here because I was bored and I wanted to have some fun,” said Tafari Yarborough.

Antavis Evans came with several family members and friends, and he was proud that he was able to find the way to the park for their group.

“We used to go on a path through here, and I showed them the way,” he said. “I like to go on the swings.”

Rikiya Small said she had a blast in the bounce castle.

“We went down the slide. We had fun,” she said.

Responses were not unanimous, as one little girl expressed anger toward several siblings who were taking her by the arm to go home. Did she have fun? “No,” she said. But she might have really wanted to stay longer.

Parents at the park were unanimous in expressing appreciation for a positive event in a neighborhood begging for them, especially for little children.

Donny Vass said he loved being able to bring his granddaughter Tykirah to the park, and to see a real neighborhood event.

“It was really nice,” Vass said. “It’s a togetherness thing and I like that. I was born and raised here, and today I brought my granddaughter here. What’s really nice is all the people, that’s what I like.”

“I think it’s good to have something for the neighborhood, and they’ve been doing good things in the neighborhood,” said Natasha Barzey. “We don’t have things like this very much.”

Tarrance Alston said things being done by event host Clearview Baptist Church and their Kindle Outreach ministry included boarding up blighted homes, cleaning up areas, and he jumped at the chance to help with that work as well.

“I helped the guys board up a couple of houses down here,” Alston said. “They’re going to get them all cleaned up. There are a lot of the Henderson Police Department out here, and that helps.”

Some of Henderson’s finest were out at the park Saturday. Some of them are members of Clearview who also volunteer with the Kindle outreach work. Capt. Marcus Barrow, the interim police chief, is among that number, and he said Kindle has put its mark on 10 vacant structures on six streets in the Flint Hill area.

“We’ve also been cutting the grass down, trimming bushes,” he said.

Referring to criminal activity and other dangers, he added, “It helps make the area safer.”

The aim of the event, and ongoing efforts that Kindle represents, is more connection between Henderson residents with a vision for helping solve problems.

The day at Owen-Davis Park was possible because of several other Flint Hill area churches that recently cleared and reclaimed that area, according to Kindle organizer Mike Breedlove.

Breedlove said the name Kindle comes from a vision for helping hands to not just help, but to also inspire more helping hands to rise up from the county and from downtown churches and community leaders working together.

That point was not lost on Pastor Dorothy Henderson of His Glory Ministries Outreach, who brought some of the 25 children she works with in the Flint Hill area to the park. She said she’s inspired by what is being done under the leadership of Clearview’s Rev. Abidan Shah.

“I thank God for him and his people for being here, to get out of the four walls of their church and help here,” Henderson said. “It is important to have things for children to do.”

The event also highlighted ongoing outreach events that include a July Bible club for children in the Flint Hill community on Mondays from 1:30 to 3 p.m., also at Owen-Davis Park.

A sports camp community outreach program starts July 22, led by a half dozen other churches that are part of Embrace Henderson. It is scheduled to take place in the South Henderson area at Harriett Baptist Church.

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