Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: Repairing the Breach - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: Repairing the Breach

By Joe Birch - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) -  Young men in Memphis are turning away from gang life thanks to a program housed in the Grizzlies Athletic Center.

The ministry, "Repairing the Breach," is one key to Taking Back Our Neighborhoods in the Alcy-Ball community near Airways and I-240.

It happens at the Grizzlies Athletic Center on Ball Road, which houses the headquarters for Memphis Athletic Ministries. "Repairing the Breach" is a biblical reference pastor Tony Wade found in Isaiah chapter 58, verse 12:

"Those from among you shall build the old waste places and you shall be called repairers of the breach and restorer of streets to dwell in. You shall build a foundation for many generations," Wade quoted.

Think back to Katrina. We remember images of the levies being *breached* and  floods that drowned New Orleans 9th ward. Many of these youngsters have been flooded with gang influence. Pastor Wade tries to counteract the glamour of thug life by building up kids in his old neighborhood near Alcy and Ball Roads.
"What we do is build relationship with them," Wade said. "Then what we do is bring them here. We share Christ with them, and we try to give them other tools they need."

An academic enrichment program brings those a grade level or two behind a means of catching up. There's a reading program, and an effort that focuses on social conduct. The whole experience is a joy for young people like high school student Deon Byers.

"It's a good place," Byers said. "I been here almost 6 years now. I love coming here. I don't want to stop coming. Somehow, I've got to move on with my life but I love coming here."

Repairing the Breach has plenty of work ahead. It may begin with jump shots, but the work ends with young people leaving with a firm foundation for life.

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