Community Engagement

In one sense everything 2nd Mile does is in an effort to engage our community, however, our ministries we label under the category of “Community Engagement” stand apart because these ministries are focused on, “going towards”—pursuing, serving, loving and supporting our community on their turf, in their spaces, and under their leadership.

Our community engagement activities include informal and formal activities. They range from playing in a local park every week, working in the local nutritional garden, and volunteering in our local schools, to hosting community Action Days and our annual Family Fall Festival. As we “go” we do so intentionally as the fragrance and presence of Christ seeking to build relationships and to be a blessing in very tangible and concrete ways.

Action Days

Recently there have been several articles in the news about blight in our city. One article said,

“School Children walk home past a ditch full of trash and discarded home appliances...Budget cuts have reduced the city’s municipal code compliance division, leaving residents to feel their neighborhood doesn’t matter....The piles of tires and rotting wood on side streets. The neck-high weeds in a lot next door. The fetid ditches with nesting mosquitoes. The creeping blight gives kids a creeping thought: that their homes are less important than the clean neighborhoods in other parts of the city.”*

Our community Action Days allow us to work together with other neighborhood citizens to tackle these overgrown yards, the trash, and the blight. It is our desire that as we do so, piece by piece we will have a small part in restoring the pride and values in our community meanwhile communicating loudly—“You do matter. You are important. God hasn’t forgotten about you!”

*Rutland, Meredith, Matt Soergel, and David Bauerlein. "Once a booming area, Northwest Jacksonville sees blight creeping into the community." The Florida Times Union. 28 Sept. 2013.

School Partnerships

Dozens of teachers and staff labor in our local schools day after day seeking to educate and empower future generations. Within the American context, education is one vital ingredient in promoting a life that is able to flourish and thrive. In fact the lack of a high school diploma inevitably assigns a person to the opposite—a life of chaos and struggle. It is our desire that each student in our neighborhood is able to fulfill whatever works God has planned for them before the foundations of the world. Works that make and impact on present day society and eternity.

One of the ways we are engaged in equipping the students in our neighborhood is by supporting the schools and teachers who are doing this on a full-time basis. 2nd Mile volunteers every week in local elementary schools to help assist the teachers and administration any way we can. The more our schools are successful, the more we are successful in reaching our goal of comprehensive community transformation.

Family Fall Festival

Our Family Fall Festival has become one of the highlights of our year as we partner with several other neighborhood organizations and over a dozen churches to host an extraordinary community event. With fun games, great food, music, a bounce house and lots of candy, around one thousand people come together for a safe, healthy, community building event. We eat, have fun, and celebrate life together!

Nutritional Garden

As we go towards our community we get the opportunity to partner with and support other community leaders as they pursue vitally important aspects of our community’s transformation. The Nutritional Garden in our community is a learning garden for kids in our neighborhood—kids from the local early learning center, and kids from our own two:fiftytwo program. The children regularly go and learn about everything from gardening to the value of healthy eating. They get to interact with and eat yummy healthy vegetables as they participate in helping them grow.

As our neighborhood suffers from inordinately high rates of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease, we believe that one vital, proactive approach is early education about healthy eating.