Latino/Latina Religions 2012, Dallas

The students in the Cultural Formations/Religious Studies course Latino/Latina Religions are conducting research on the history of the Walt Humann and T. Boone Pickens Community Center at Jubilee Park and its surrounding neighborhood. The center, near the Fair Park area of Dallas, was founded by Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in 1997 and serves a diverse population. Through their research, students hope to learn more about the ways religious organizations impact local communities, and about the changing landscapes that have formed Dallas over the years. At the culmination of the project in December, students will present their findings in a presentation at the Jubilee Park Center, www.jubileecenter.org

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A sense of pride and revival

An update from Tracy, a senior markets and culture major, with a minor in psychology: 

As part of service learning for our Cultural Formations course, I visited the Jubilee Park Community Center, which is in Southeast Dallas by Fair Park.  I began by interviewing the community members who regularly visit the center and found that the building of it signaled a revival in the community and a rapid historic change.

The community members recalled there being no sidewalks on the streets and a severe lack of proper crime reporting.  While the community center has fostered a sense of family, the most significant change was the ability for residents to walk through a neighborhood where the streets were paved, sidewalks were built, and most important, police regularly patrolled the 62-block area.

By instilling a sense of pride in the community, a cycle was created in which people felt a shared responsibility to partake in the upkeep of the area and to become involved members of the community.  The Community Center did what many viewed to be the impossible. It took an impoverished area and brought it into the 21st century with a revived vitality.

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