The Avedis Foundation continues to invest in one of its flagship endeavors — Community Renewal — as it has doled out a $460,434 grant for the nonprofit for 2019.

The Avedis Foundation continues to invest in one of its flagship endeavors — Community Renewal — as it has doled out a $460,434 grant for the nonprofit for 2019.

Brandon Dyer was employed by Avedis to head the Community Renewal project –– a relationship program aiming to bring caring back into the community.

Though an intentional caring program is a prototype in this area, community renewal has been around for a couple decades.

A few years ago Avedis invested some money into researching the program, did a survey, and made multiple trips to Shreveport, Louisiana, where the program originates, Avedis President and CEO Kathy Laster said.

Shreveport’s We Care. program is designed to re-establish neighborhoods by re-establishing relationships.

Shawnee's version of the program launched in April 2016, and has made significant strides.

Community Renewal of Pottawatomie County has consistently shown that its mission is an easy sell — still gaining momentum since it hit the ground running just three years ago, the group passionately promotes the restoration of relationships from within neighborhoods, bringing member after member into its fold.

The nonprofit's first Friendship House in Kickapoo Park is in operation. And its second, at Main and Bryan, will soon follow suit.

Travis Flood, Friendship House director, and his family, live at the first Friendship House, at 7th and Pottenger.

Moving a trained staff member into a neighborhood is a good example of how a Friendship House — and future ones — intend to serve the community. Flood and his family are a close and immediate resource for their neighbors.

It features a community room where neighborhood meetings and after school programs are held.

The kicker, of course, is that it immerses Flood and his family into that neighborhood. They have a stake in what goes on there –– a personal investment.

“He’s in the fight right there with them,” Dyer said.

Partnering with The Absentee Shawnee Housing Authority, Community Renewal is working on construction of its second Friendship House, near Pleasant Grove school.

Last year Dyer announced the new coordinator for the second house would be Michael Phillips. Phillips, his wife, Jessica, and their three sons are set to move into the unique neighborhood resource once it's built.

The nonprofit is set to have its annual Good Neighbor fundraising banquet April 16 at the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center. Tickets are on sale now.

Community Renewal Pottawatomie County's office is at 1000 N. Kickapoo. To learn more, join in or make a donation, visit Community Renewal Shawnee, OK on Facebook, visit communityrenewal.org or call (405) 273-1035.