SHREVEPORT, LA – The Manhattan Institute announced army veteran Sharpel Welch of Shreveport, La., will receive a $10,000 fellowship for her work at Community Renewal International, where she serves as a community coordinator with her husband, Emmitt Welch. The Welches’ home, called a Friendship House, offers a number of programs that seek to increase youth education levels, reduce crime, and build a strong sense of community in Shreveport’s Allendale neighborhood.
“Relationships matter. Allendale used to be one of the worst areas in the city, but today, you’re safer living next door to me than living in one of the city’s more affluent neighborhoods because it’s hard to rob someone you know, respect, and love,” said Welch. “We’re excited to partner with the Manhattan Institute, so that we can get the word out about this model to other distressed neighborhoods across the country.”
The Manhattan Institute’s Civil Society Fellows Program recognizes nonprofit leaders who are developing innovative solutions to America’s most pressing social problems. Welch is one of three fellows who will participate in the 10-month program that increases the visibility of nonprofit leaders nationwide, so others can see what is possible in their own communities.
“Sharpel and her husband are bringing hope to a neighborhood, where for many years, people were just struggling to survive,” said Annie Dwyer, the director of the Manhattan Institute’s Civil Society Fellows Program. “The Welches know these people—they are like family—and they are helping kids finish high school, get jobs, plan for the future, while also offering a safe, positive place to come after school.”
The Civil Society Fellows Program will kick off on February 19, 2019.
About Community Renewal's Friendship House Program
With 10 houses in five Shreveport-Bossier City neighborhoods, Community Renewal International's Friendship Houses are beacons of hope in these low-income, high-crime areas. The Allendale Friendship House, which is also Sharpel and Emmitt Welch’s home, offers a place for after-school education programs, character building, GED courses, computer training, art and music lessons, family nights, and much more. By building trust and relationships in their community, the Welches’ Friendship House has made an immediate impact on youth education levels, and crime has fallen 60 percent in the neighborhood since 2001.
About the Civil Society Fellows Program
The Civil Society Fellows Program is a part of the Manhattan Institute’s Tocqueville Project that seeks to advance America’s tradition of nonprofit leaders, volunteers, and private philanthropists working together to develop solutions to our most pressing social problems. Based in New York City, the Manhattan Institute serves as a leading voice of free-market ideas, shaping political culture since 1977. Learn more here.