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Finish date in sight for second Friendship House

By Vicky O. Misa | Vicky.misa@news-star.com | (405) 214-3962 | Twitter: @Vicky_NewsStar
Vicky O. Misa SNS Staff Photo

Strategically placed near Boy Scout Park and Horace Mann Elementary and Pleasant Grove Elementary schools, a Friendship House — the second one of its kind in the city — is taking shape. Currently under construction, the project is estimating a finish date around the end of September, Community Renewal Executive Director Brandon Dyer said.

“The goal of a Friendship House is to build trust and bring resources into the neighborhood,” he said.

The three-acre site — established to become a Friendship House three years ago through a partnership with The Absentee Shawnee Housing Authority — occupies the southeast corner of Main Street and Bryan Avenue in the Rolling Hills South Addition on Absentee land — just a couple blocks north of Pleasant Grove school.

“(Absentee Shawnee Housing Authority Executive Director) Sherry Drywater approached us with the idea to put a Friendship House in the area,” Dyer said. “She dubbed it the Good Neighbor Project.”

In May 2018 Dyer named Michael Phillips the coordinator — and live-in resident — for the house. Phillips and his wife, Jessica, and their three sons — who are already living in the area — are set to move into the unique neighborhood resource once it’s built.

One goal of the Friendship House’s community room is to provide after-school activities and a safe place for children in the Horace Mann and Pleasant Grove neighborhoods, GED (Hi-SET) programs, adult literacy classes, and other services that meet the needs of the neighborhood.

Friendship House project

Community Renewal's inaugural project, the Craig Family Friendship House, at 812 W. 7th Street in Kickapoo Park, has been in operation for nearly two years now.

Ward 3 Shawnee City Commissioner Travis Flood, Community Renewal's Friendship House director, and his family call the site on the northwest corner of 7th and Pottenger their home.

Though it looks like a typical house from the outside, some alterations make it a distinctively different structure.

The family lives upstairs in the home, making room for a community space constructed on the first floor both accessible and available for neighborhood meetings and after school programs.

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. The project immerses Flood and his family fully into an area, making them a close and consistent resource for their neighbors.

With the same floor plan, soon the Phillips family will be doing the same across town.

Community Renewal

The program 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.

After the membership drive for We Care. team members and Block Leaders were established, the organization set its sights on its next phase — planting team members into neighborhoods so by becoming fully invested in the area they can be a constant and easily accessible resource to their neighbors.

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 http://communityrenewal.org or call (405) 273-1035.