Dr. Lynn Parsons, Director of the Zip Code Connection
As we welcome the new year, the Zip Code Connection is thankful for each of the blessings we received in 2015—and your support is at the top of our list. Because of your faithfulness, I am able to share with you great news about work the Zip Code Connection is doing, the connections and partnerships we are building, and how you are making this happen.
We are making visible progress as we engage in ministry with our neighbors in South Dallas/Fair Park (75215) and Red River County (75426), helping to transform these communities to become vibrant, thriving places that are recognized as good places to live, work, learn, do business, raise children, and worship.
In January 2015, we welcomed two Connection's Directors to our ministry: Rev. George Battle III in South Dallas/Fair Park and Melinda Watters in Red River County. These additions to our staff were made possible by a combination of your support for the ZCC, the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church and grants from the Texas Methodist Foundation and the Lennox Foundation in Red River County.
George and Melinda have deepened and strengthened collaborations already in the works, and have created new ones in our expanding circle of partners.
In South Dallas, we are making connections inside the community through our facilitation of the South Dallas/FairPark Faith Coalition, an organization which works with the 140 churches inside the neighborhood to increase the collective impact of the faith community on poverty. One example of their work is a Saturday morning breakfast and tutoring program already serving more than 60 children across multiple neighborhoods. We also have some promising economic development partnerships in the works. Through partnerships with the City of Dallas and others, we are employing 15 community residents at a livable wage. They are working to survey and identify needs for house and property rehabilitation. Over the next year these same workers and others will be trained to connect families with new health resources through a multi-hospital partnership, and they will receive additional job skills training to facilitate their path into higher levels of employment.
In Red River County, we partnered with the city of Clarksville’s Economic Development Corporation to purchase and renovate a building to be used as a new community center. The Hub, as the center is now known, is a home for our ministry partners, an incubator for transformative partnerships in Red River County, and our center of operations. This space is serving as a catalyst for the community’s renewal—giving a permanent home to the local Boys and Girls Club for after-school and summer youth programs, hosting community forums on important topics, and providing a space for Paris Junior College to bring GED classes and adult education programs to the heart of Red River County.
I am grateful each day for the amazing generosity you continue to show in supporting the Zip Code Connection through the support of your churches, your donations, your assistance in helping us make connections and develop partnerships, and—most of all—your prayers. We have said from the beginning that we want to accomplish our goals by 2025, and we are well on the way.
I look forward to sharing more stories with you as we work to transform these two communities. Until then, I invite you to explore this document to learn more about the Zip Code Connection’s focus areas and the innovative approaches we are developing to reconcile, strengthen, and create connections that will help us realize our vision of vibrant, thriving communities.
Warmest wishes for a blessed New Year.