A Church-Based Non-Profit

 Andrew Neal, Director of Play and Development

Andrew Neal, Director of Play and Development

The local church was never intended to be an isolated entity that was only open one day a week. The local church was designed to be a hub of community where believers were drawn to worship God through regular gatherings and the rhythms of everyday life.

Brookside CDC was established by a local church that is striving to shine Christ’s light into every area of brokenness in our poverty-riddled community. Brookside Community Church is comprised of wealthy and poor, black and white, educated and uneducated, employed and unemployed individuals who recognize their mutual brokenness and seek the transformation that is only brought by Christ’s redeeming work on the cross.

As a local church in a high-poverty, high-crime area, it is the calling of the church to minister to the areas of brokenness that plague our community. Brookside Community Church has stepped into the real-life issues and injustices, specifically in the areas of reentry, youth development and housing.

The Brookside neighborhood has been labelled “the most dangerous in Indianapolis” because of the high crime rate and number of homicides that take place each year. We know that poverty begets crime and that the issues of the neighborhood are magnified by the large number of individuals that reenter from the criminal justice system each year without the resources and connections to keep them from returning to prison. We see these individuals not for the crime that they committed, but for the new creation that God has called them to be. Brookside Community Reentry was created to help previously incarcerated men and women overcome the challenges and stigmas they face.

The children in our community are often stereotyped as hopeless and unintelligent. They are oftentimes defined by their poor academic performance and behavior issues. If you were to take the time to get to know one of our children, you would hear a life story full of trauma and you would begin to understand that bad grades and behavior issues are merely a reflection of the trauma that they experience on a daily basis. Our neighborhood doesn’t need another afterschool program that focuses on homework and remediation. It needs a safe place where our children can escape the worries and fears that weigh them down. Our children need to experience caring adult relationships and connectedness to their peers while learning about God’s plan for their life. Brookside Community Play is a new kind of afterschool and summer initiative that uses the power of play to help children overcome trauma.

The chaos that many of our families and individuals face is perpetuated by the lack of safe and stable housing options within the neighborhood. On one hand, out of state landlords and slumlords continue to oppress our community through numerous housing injustices. On the other hand, gentrification is creeping into our area. Rising property values and increased cost of living threatens to push our families out of the neighborhood that they have called home for generations. Brookside Community Housing exists to provide dignity, stability and accountability to Brookside Community Church families that face these struggles. We provide Gospel-centered relationships and strategic programming that allow tenants to thrive in their own community.

Brookside Community Church has chosen to use Brookside CDC as the channel through which our outreach initiatives flow. Our CDC is not separate from the church but is instead governed and led by the mission of Brookside Community Church. If BCC is our heartbeat, then Brookside CDC is our hands and feet. We invite you to join our journey. Your gifts, talents and story are needed here. May God be glorified in all of our efforts!

Andrew Neal