Over 100 guests descended upon Mike and Theresa Williams’ home  Friday, Nov 3. for the Brevard Neighborhood Development Coalition (BNDC) Annual Friends Gathering.  It was a wonderful event!  God blessed us with a gorgeous night, the warm hospitality of the Williams and with guests from across Brevard.  Their presence was a reminder of the support that undergirds our daily endeavors at BNDC.

We relished scrumptious food prepared by Creative Catering by the Farinas and a variety of noteworthy wines, compliments of Napa Cellars.  Specialty wines from Napa, France, and Italy were “hot” items on the silent auction tables!  Recording artist Jack Starr impressed us with his deftness on the guitar and our DOCK children’s band, Electric Altitude, performed a rousing rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”.

BNDC’s unique mission was also highlighted.  As a faith-based community developer, BNDC brings residents, businesses, churches and government together to address community needs.  Our projects have revolved around mentoring children, affordable housing and reviving neighborhood business.  Instead of “doing for” residents, we seek to “engage with” them.

At “The DOCK” children from Eau Gallie’s Booker T. Washington neighborhood are flourishing in a program designed to nurture them academically, socially, and spiritually.  DOCK Director Botavia Jackson is convinced that the opportunities afforded to the children will help them overcome poverty, as they succeed in school and make healthy life choices.  In north Palm Bay’s Powell subdivision, BNDC is partnering with resident leaders to realize the vision for Evans Center.  The Evans Center multi-use facility will combine youth job training with a neighborhood market/deli featuring healthy, fairly-priced foods.  Also, Brevard Health Alliance has committed to housing a clinic within Evans Center.  Thus, much needed social services and economic growth will converge.

As we enter this season of giving, we are inspired (and challenged!) by the words of Bob Lupton, “When recipients remain recipients and givers are content to remain givers, good has become the enemy of the best.  Perhaps the best giving is the kind that enables the poor to know the blessedness of being givers….  Perhaps the greatest poverty of all is having nothing of value to offer the community.  I want to believe that no one in my community is that poor.”

In this season of giving, those of us who are friends of BNDC have much to celebrate.  We are joining hands – so that communities that were once in need can become strong, with resources and emerging leaders eager to help others!

—Lynn Brockwell-Carey, BNDC Executive Director