Tuesday, September 20, 2005

 

Desire Street ministries

I received this in an e-mail alert this morning, and wanted to post it on the off-chance that any of my readers might be able to help. I'm posting the entire article here, so that all of the information I have gets out there. If anyone can help, please visit Desire Street Ministries or phone 1-866-633-0070.

Desire Street Ministries Looks for Lost Students

By Melissa Charbonneau CWNews

CWNews.comJACKSON, Mississippi - Desire Street Ministries in New Orleans runs a school for disadvantaged children. But the ministry was hit hard by Katrina.

They are what is left of the football team of the Desire Street Academy, running plays with a soda can instead of a ball. The team will miss its first season game since Katrina's flood waters submerged their homes and schools in New Orleans.

Camping out in borrowed apartments in Jackson, Mississippi, some of the schools staff and students are trying to relocate - still stunned over their loss.

Daniel Ballard, Desire Street Ministries relief coordinator, explained, "It's completely gone. So we are desperately looking right now for facilities to turn our school into a boarding school."

Ballard says that the high school boys are from the nation's largest public housing community. Desire Street Academy was their refuge from inner city poverty, drugs, and crime.

Student Josh Edward commented, "They (the academy staff) will love you...take care of you...and they hang out with you, but in a public school, I don't think you get that."

"And they treat us like we are their own children - their own child," remarked student Deangelo Peterson.

Peterson just returned to his teammates from Houston, after spending three nights in the New Orleans Convention Center with his family. "There was people stealing,” Peterson recalled.

“There was people shooting outside the convention center. They had all types of stuff...old people were dying, and they had no water."

His friends call Peterson a hero. When his school evacuated during the storm, he stayed behind to rescue his family from the flood.

"I just held my nieces over my head, and I walked through the water. I told her I could walk through water. And I brought them to the hotel. I had to carry my mother, and my cousin... the water was above my chest," Peterson said.

Now the search is on to find the missing - nearly 200 fellow students scattered in shelters across Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

They are constantly working their cell phones, battling bad connections to track down every classmate and bring them home. "I got in touch with a few, but not everybody," said a student.

CBN News asked one female student, "What are you guys doing to try to find them and bring them together?"

Carry Matthews responded, "Phone conversations, people that talk to other people - they call me and I tell them - everybody, yeah."

Once the boys locate their lost, they say it will be time to rebuild. And like so many here, they have to start from nothing.

Clinging to hope out of disaster and devastation, the young men of Desire Street say that some day they will return home to start again.

Desire Street Academy sees a silver lining in the forced relocation of their school. They see it as a chance to help expand their work helping young men across the country. And once they return to New Orleans, they say they hope to rebuild their community and make it stronger than ever.

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