Making A Difference: Mission First - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Making A Difference: Mission First

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

This is a place where 15 years ago ‘3 On Your Side’ was reporting crime frequently. But now, a big difference has been made.

A catalyst for that difference is Mission First, a mature ministry established by First Baptist Church of Jackson nearly 15 years ago, that has brought stability back to the area around it.

It’s a couple of blocks off of West Capitol Street, near Grand Avenue on Roseneath. This is what the Rosedown Apartments looked like in 2000, abandoned and a trash heap. The neighborhood had gone down with it. That’s when leadership in the area proposed a challenge for entities in the rest of the city.

Lee Thigpen is the Executive Director of Mission First.

“And there had been seven murders in a 30 block area that year," said Thigpen. "This leadership group said, ‘we need to see some change here.’ And they invited a number of people to come to be a part of that, to address the needs of the community. And we accepted our challenge, which was to do something with this abandoned apartment complex.”

The old apartment buildings are now a part of a sprawling complex that houses many needed services under its roof for people, not only in that neighborhood, but for anyone who qualifies in the Hinds, Madison, Rankin county areas.

“There is a medical clinic, there is a dental clinic, there is a legal aid office," added Thigpen. "We have children’s ministries that are after school and summer. We have neighborhood revitalization work and then we have a sports ministry.”

New single-family homes have popped up nearby. The medical, dental and legal facilities are about to move into another area of empty stores in the neighborhood, freeing up space in the apartment complex for classrooms for a new school.

The momentum is there, but Mission First needs some folks to step up and Make A Difference for it, now.

Ministries go through different cycles," said director Thigpen. "There’s different times when they have different needs. Right now our main need is financial resources. We have been blessed with corporate partnerships and hospitals that have come on with us to partner. But right now we need to pair up the dollars needed to support this with those that are in need.”

Easiest way to help is go to the Mission First web page. Anybody can complain about how bad it has gotten, but there is a way to Make A Difference. Mission First has come up with it and needs us to help it continue.

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