In my first blog on “Buckner Builds Families,” I mentioned this phrase as the core mission of Buckner. Just three words: “Buckner Builds Families.” That is what we do and it is easy to remember. We build families for children through foster care, adoption, and family strengthening programs. We build a sense of family for senior adults through life planned communities. But what kind of families are we talking about?
My answer is simple. We build redemptive families. But this week I want to add another key descriptor of our work. We Build Families: redemptive families with hope. You have heard us say: Hope Shines Here. What we mean by that is that many, if not most, of the children and families we serve have very little hope for a better future. I have personally met hundreds of families struggling to survive right here in Dallas, in the Bachman Lake –Webb Chapel area.
Bachman Lake – Webb Chapel Area. My wife and I lived in this area off of Webb Chapel Extension just south of Walnut Hill Lane in the early 1990’s. I was a pastor of a local church right across from Love Field. While my office was there, the home where Belinda and lived was on Darvany Drive, just off of Webb Chapel Extension. My path to the church office took me down Webb Chapel, around Bachman Lake and down Denton Drive to the church office every day. The church was about 50 years old and declined to the point of survival. We had few resources surrounded by a sea of people that needed help. As a local church, we were not equipped to respond to gang turf wars, drug trade, violence, prostitution, and family implosion. That was almost 30 years ago. I wish I could say things are better today but how could they be?
Today, the Bachman Lake Area, just north of Love Field, south of Walnut Hill, and north of Northwest Highway, is a 3-mile radius filled with 82,000 inhabitants. About 93 percent of the people in this community are Hispanic (American Hispanics, Mexicans, Guatemalans, El Salvadorians, Hondurans, Peruvians, Dominicans, and others south of our border). Five elementary schools that serve this area enroll about 5,000 elementary aged students, 93 percent of whom are economically disadvantaged. The Bachman Lake area has the highest concentration of children birth through 5 years of age in Dallas and the removal rate of children by Child Protective Services (CPS) is twice the average of Dallas County. The teen pregnancy rate is 3 times the national average. About 70 percent of the families in this area speak Spanish at home and 57 percent of the residents in Bachman Lake have less than a high school education.
Our focus is to provide hope for these families. Hope for a better future, hope for their children; hope for their families; hope for the community. Our vision is to mobilize you to provide a redemptive helping hand centered on hope. Not a hand out but a hand up. We need you to help us engage, equip, and elevate families toward a better future. See www.buckner.org for ways to offer real hope to children and families right here in Dallas. As you help us to bring this vision into reality, our collaboration will give way to something even greater. I will write about that next week.