Restoring a broken community; volunteers help Hi-crest residents take back its neighborhood

TOPEKA (KSNT) — How do you restore a community after a string of violence? About a hundred volunteers have stepped up to do just that in Topeka’s Hi-Crest neighborhood after several weeks of violent crimes, including two homicides.

For Brian McCracken and Shannon Dukes living in Southeast Topeka has been a nightmare.

Just last month the little girl who lived across the street, Lily Coats-Nichols was killed in a drive by shooting.

Five years ago their daughter was raped by a stranger in their own backyard.

“She hates the backyard, she won’t play back there,” says Shannon Dukes, the mother of the little girl.

That’s where the Topeka Rescue Mission’s neighborhood improvement division steps in.

They’re helping restore a backyard and bedroom, so a little girl can stop the nightmares.

“Bringing back the neighborhood so that people then can move on with their lives and be able to have a new life,” Terry Hund with the Topeka Rescue Mission tells KSNT News.

In the midst of the violence Doxazo, a ministry of the Topeka Rescue Mission is letting kids be kids again.

“Just to pray and to hope for the better, and have faith in God so he can change it,” says Jajuan Peppers, a teen volunteer.

Jajuan and his sister Jasmine are just two of hundreds of kids who walk the streets of this neighborhood. And the program seeks to give them hope.

“They are the ones that are going to change their own community,” says Ryan Wynne, Director of the Doxazo ministry.

The neighborhood improvement division of the Topeka Rescue Mission is not only holding empowerment camps for kids, and fixing homes, but most importantly restoring faith in this community.

This camp is teaching kids how to deal with adversity.

“We should love our neighbors,” says ten-year-old Zaiden Williams, a camper with the Doxazo ministry.

Volunteers say in order to restore this neighborhood it has to pull together.

“For the community to actually come together and bring a little more light on a bad neighborhood,” Brian McCracken, Hi-Crest resident.

The Topeka Rescue Mission, Net Reach, and the Doxazo camp will be in Hi-Crest tomorrow to finish the work on both the house and camp.

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