Hillburn Hills reaches out to neighborhood children with afterschool snacks

By Chelsea Quackenbush

DALLAS – Buckner-Hillburn Hills and AZAR Foundation, Inc. are reaching out to students in the Piedmont Home Association community to serve afterschool snacks twice a week to foster relationships and lay the groundwork for community transformation.

Students from John B. Hood Middle School and San Jacinto Elementary School swing by the community center to pick up a snack and either stay to socialize and work on homework or head home.

Buckner partnered with AZAR in November to provide the snacks, and plan to host a summer food program and GED and literacy programs within the community. They’re also working on a summer mentoring program to including job skills education.

“I believe in partnerships and collaborations because everyone has a piece of the puzzle and it makes it that much stronger … You can see Buckner’s passion for children and youth,” Azar cofounder Deborah Brown said.

Their focus is to empower children and see them grow in a positive way, Brown said. They also hope to provide a computer technology program with advanced training in web design and multimedia skills.

The snack program takes place every Monday and Wednesday from 3:30 to 5 p.m. They currently serve about 30 children but hope to expand the program to 50 to 75 in 2012.

“It’s not just the focus on the child but the families. And it’s not just the families, it’s the community,” Adrain Blackwell said. “It’s like that saying of the village raising a child … We’re headed in the same direction. We are that village.”

The AZAR Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit organization geared toward meeting the needs of children – especially those in low-income, high-risk environments – to bring about a positive change while supporting families by focusing on hunger relief, educational excellence, health, community service, missions and economic empowerment.

To learn more about Dallas community ministries, contact Buckner Foundation at 214-758-8000.

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