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FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 2007
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NCC recovering after 22 months without director

By Paul Huggins
phuggins@decaturdaily.com 340-2395

You might have thought the Neighborhood Christian Center disappeared when it went without a director for 22 months.

But Tim and Pam Bolding, who became NCC directors in June, said the 12-year-old organization is revitalized and improving the lives of more and more people who want out of poverty.

The couple told the Decatur Kiwanis Club on Thursday that NCC has re-instituted many of the programs that disappeared when NCC went without a director from August 2004 to June 2006.

The community began to think NCC closed or existed only to provide food and clothes to the needy, Tim Bolding said, because that is mostly all it did during that time.

But in less than a year, NCC has seen a 50 percent increase in the number of people participating in programs ranging from adult Bible studies to summer youth camps, he said.

NCC has about 105 people regularly involved in its programs, such as 45 youths for a Truth Seekers Bible study each Tuesday, Tim Bolding said. And NCC still operates a food and clothing pantry on Mondays and Wednesdays and assists 150 to 180 people per week.

As an example of their work, Pam Bolding said, NCC recently teamed up with the Pregnancy Resource Center and Committee on Church Cooperation to help a pregnant, single mother with two children under age 3 flee from an abusive home. The three organizations helped her get an apartment, completely furnish it, connect utilities and pay deposits in one day, she said.

The Boldings are not new to Decatur. They first moved here 19 years ago and were regular NCC volunteers until leaving six years ago for French Camp, Miss. There, they helped operate a Christian boarding school for troubled youths.

They said they are excited by how quickly the community has helped bring the organization back to speed.

NCC had fewer than 20 faithful supporters 10 months ago and received less than $3,000 a month, nearly half of which came from two donors, Tim Bolding said. Today, twice that amount comes in every month, and that doesn't include one-time donations.

Volunteers needed

Still, they said, NCC could always use more volunteers and financial assistance. Specifically, they are looking for help to fund this year's Summer Youth Work and Arts Program.

The program provides each participant with a $1,500 stipend of which he or she must bank 70 percent until the end of summer. The youths receive the stipend in exchange for facilitating children's day camps and helping write an original play performed locally, in Memphis and in other cities.

Last year, they performed the play in Chicago.

The camp also involves participants in daily Bible classes and teaches them financial, social and leadership skills.

In addition to money, NCC needs volunteers to provide lunches for as many as 20 students during the seven-week program. To help or for more information, call 351-7633.

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