“Connecting Caring Communities exists to build meaningful relationships that foster safe, caring, whole communities.”
In 2000, Abilene began a journey of community renewal in a single Abilene neighborhood—North Park. Over the years Hardin-Simmons University students, faculty, and staff had become fearful walking the streets north of campus due to the apparent decline of the neighborhood. Instead of blaming the residents or the city, HSU recognized that they must first become better neighbors. This idea was largely encouraged by Dean of Students Linda Carleton, who began exploring a successful model of “good neighboring” operating in her hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana. The model was founded on Christian values and offered a practical way to walk out one of God’s greatest commands: “Love your neighbor as your love yourself.”(Mark 12:31)
In 2002, Connecting Caring Communities (CCC) began working under the umbrella of the Neighborhood Enhancement Center at HSU. CCC was officially chartered to serve Abilene as a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization in December 2005. CCC’s strategies are adapted from the successful model of Community Renewal International (CRI) in Shreveport/Bossier City, Louisiana, founded by Mack McCarter.
What We Do
CCC strives to build a stronger community by working with residents in every neighborhood of Abilene, and by helping neighbors work together. Too often the lack of relationships with our neighbors leads to isolation, fear, and eventual decline. Our neighborhoods are filled with many resources—families, businesses, schools, churches and other groups. CCC helps to identify these valuable gifts by building relationships with the people living and working there. By nurturing relationships, trust develops, communication expands, and communities become more sustainable. We call this community renewal.
We seek to live out the principles of the kingdom of God, believing that we demonstrate our love for God best when we demonstrate love for one another. So, what does that really mean?
It means that we want to work with neighbors. We don’t want to come into a neighborhood with an attitude that says, “Hi, you’re broken. I’m here to fix you.” We believe that neighborhoods are strongest when leadership comes from within.
It means that we value relationships above things or programs. We believe we can learn a lot about our community by investing time in getting to know people on a meaningful level. Lasting friendships provide support and stability that shapes every aspect of our lives.
It means that we seek to build on the strengths inherent in every neighborhood. We work with neighbors to identify, grow, and share their gifts for the benefit of all.
It means that we seek mutually-enhancing relationships. In other words, we devote energy and time into listening and walking alongside our neighbors so that our relationships deepen as we learn from one another.