The impetus behind the development of a Community Arts and Enrichment Center is the vision of Rev. Leonard Barksdale. As Pastor of Fifth Ward Baptist Church, Rev. Barksdale saw the conditions that plagued the residents of the community. He became involved with the various programs already in place in the community and he knew immediately that they were not enough and he knew that he had to do something about it. One of the programs that Rev. Barksdale had previously started was the Shoulder To Shoulder Program. This very successful program is a Rites of Passage program for boys and girls ages 10-18. Each year, the number of participants had increased and the curriculum expanded. Future plans would call for a broader outreach that would engage a more diverse and larger population of youth while serving the residents of the Fifth Ward Community. Rev. Barksdale realized that a Multipurpose building would have to be built in order to provide a place for meetings, training, and other activities. Faith Revitalization Center, Inc. is the mechanism chosen to facilitate this plan.
The Fifth Ward Missionary Baptist Church has constructed a $1,000,000 Multipurpose Facility to be used for Faith Revitalization Center, Inc. activities. The Center will sponsor positive cultural, recreational, social, and academic programs that would be a benefit to all residents of the Fifth Ward Community, especially seniors and youth. These programs and activities will be designated to help bridge the gap between youth and seniors. Youth would be engaged in positive peer interaction, learn personal discipline, and enrichment activities. They are placed in a positive environment that helps promote academic achievement and social responsibility.
The main goal of the Center is to provide a place where the youth of the Fifth Ward area can come and gain the tools needed to help them to escape the plight of so many other children and youth in the Fifth Ward area.
Another major component of the Center will be to establish an Adult Day Care Program to help meet the social, physical and emotional needs of elderly residents of the community. The Center will be a place where senior citizens can meet together, receive information and services, and participate in activities that will enhance their dignity, support their independence and encourage their involvement in and with the community. The combining of these two distinct age groups perform a valuable function of intergenerational support and maximizes the use of the Center during the day when children and youth are in school.
The third component of the Center is to offer training in computer technology to underprivileged men, women, boys and girls who are seeking training for the expressed purpose of bettering their economic condition. The program will be free to all. First serving those who are in need and are unable to pay for or get assistance from any other organization.