- Sarah Sheafer
- Students from School 51 welcome the Rice family to their new home. Rice’s family is one of ten families who will receive a Habitat for Humanity home in the Martindale-Brightwood area.
The Church Federation of Greater Indianapolis unveiled a new home Thursday for the Rice family in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood.
The house is the first of ten new Habitat for Humanity homes to be built in the Martindale-Brightwood area. The Church Federation is celebrating its centennial with this project.
The Rice family's new home falls under one of four zip codes targeted by the Youth Violence Reduction Team. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and Public Safety Director Frank Straub started the project in June 2011 in hopes of preventing victims of crime from becoming victims again.
Many residents of the Martindale-Brightwood community have been victims of crime, and the police district surrounding the area is one of the busiest in the city per capita. The police district hopes to partner with the community in order to take back the neighborhood from crime.
Mike Wally, an officer from the Indianapolis Police Department, was at the ribbon cutting ceremony and spoke about the goals of the Youth Violence Reduction Team. "Our goal as a collaboration is to reduce crime in targeted zip codes... We offer anything from education to financial assistance," Wally said.
The Youth Violence Reduction Team finds offenders and troubled youth, and attempts to steer them away from criminal behavior and integrate them into the community. One of the ways this is done is through volunteer work, such as the building of the Rice family's new home. Wally said, "We believe that if (offenders) become part of something greater than (themselves) it raises (their) self-esteem."
Building a greater sense of community is one of the main goals for the Church Federation and Habitat for Humanity. Jim Morris, president and chief executive of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Indianapolis, said the Rice family's new home is part of a greater goal. "This is a community effort," Morris said. "This is us helping each other. In this case, the Rice family gets a home, but we all benefit from them receiving a place to live."