Community leaders leave for Louisiana today (Sunday, Nov. 16) to explore a program designed for community rejuvenation.

Community leaders leave for Louisiana today to explore a program designed for community rejuvenation.

The Avedis Foundation is interested in integrating the Community Renewal International program locally. Monday, the City of Shawnee is expected to pass a resolution of support.

Michelle Briggs, Avedis Foundation CEO and President, explained the program reestablishes neighborhoods by reestablishing relationships.

“It’s kind of a three-pronged approach,” she detailed.

The first prong is the implementation of a renewal team, which works to unite business, churches, civic groups and residents. The second step encompasses Haven Houses. Haven Houses rest in the heart of neighborhoods.

“In the event, say, I was a single mother and woke up one morning and I couldn’t get my car to start, I could go to the Haven House and say ‘I need help,’” Briggs explained. “That Haven House leader would either take me to work or maybe connect me with Jimmy down the street, who knows how to fix cars.”

The final strategy focuses on Friendship Houses, which are lived in by staff members and offer after-school programs, in addition to other resources.

Visiting Shreveport, Louisiana, home of the program, are Community of Development Director Justin Erickson, Commissioner Linda Agee, Program Director Paula Waters, Shawnee Police Chief Russell Frantz, other members of the Shawnee Police Department and several local church leaders.

“It’s a short trip,” Agee said, adding the group will return Tuesday around 5 p.m.

For more information about the program, visit