During the last, tense seconds of the Championship Round of Brackets For Good 2018, NeuroHope of Indiana eked past Brookside Community Development Corporation. The final score was 42,339 to 40,207. NeuroHope won by just 2,132 points and Brookside, the Cinderella Story of the season, was defeated. I told David Cederquist, Brookside CDC’s Board President, that I am a Butler University Alum and still dream of the basket that almost was during the last moments of the 2010 NCAA Championship game against Duke. “Is NeuroHope your Duke now?” I ask and David laughs. “We were thankful for the opportunity to do what we did and we raised some good money for our organization,” he says. “It’s just given us more fuel to come back next year!”
Apart from their incredible run in this year’s March Madness-style fundraising competition, Brookside CDC is doing significant work in their neighborhood. Borne out of Brookside Community Church, the Community Development Corporation received their nonprofit designation in 2016. Since then, their mission has been three-pronged: Re-Entry, Housing, and Play. And all programming in these three areas are built on a model of developing relationships.
“What’s great about being a church is we’re not Human Services and we don’t want to be Human Services,” says David. “A guy coming out of prison needs resources, but he doesn’t need to be resourced. He needs relationships.” For Brookside CDC, this means regular meetings where staff and those seeking assistance can be real with one another. Their men also go through an education series. “We’re checking off boxes to make sure they don’t have a reason to go back to their drugs or crime or old lifestyles, but they are walking in newness with a Bridge Coach that will support them all the way through the process,” David says.
Through their Housing Program, Brookside CDC also works to keep families in the neighborhood. “If we can help keep a broken family in the neighborhood, then we believe that stability is going to transform the whole family,” David says. This same principle holds true for their programming for children, known as Play. “It uses the power of play to effectively take a child out of their trauma and bring them to a place of development,” says David. “If we can get a hold of these kids early, then they’re not going to create the problem that we have in re-entry.”
Although the work is difficult, and not all of their stories are success stories, David would not want to be doing anything else. “I feel safe in this chaos and I feel safe in this brokenness,” he says. Like every person that finds their way to Brookside, David knows he needs God’s Grace just as much as anyone else. “We don’t have it figured out. We are running these initiatives by faith and we do not believe God is done speaking into how we do these things,” David says, “We so believe that every person that comes through the door gives a new facet of how to do things and why we do them.”
To learn more about Brookside Community Development Corporation, please visit their website.