A couple adopts a neighborhood
We at SixSeeds regularly remind ourselves that the "family" in "family based service and giving" does not necessarily mean only the biological version. For example, parents and children that are involved in foster care and adoption are obvious and profound examples of a broader definition of family. We have already given grants from our Pooled Giving Fund to reflect our appreciation of those kinds of family service, and we expect more grants and projects to follow this theme.
Ted and Sara Lucas (right) have expanded our definition of family in a special way. The couple has, in a very meaningful way, adopted not just another child but a whole neighborhood full of kids.
The Lucas’s live and work in San Francisco at the heart of the city’s financial district. Near this center of wealth and power lies the Tenderloin district, one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in the city. One day, Ted was driving Sara from their home to the airport and reported feeling “more overwhelmed than usual by its brokenness: the physical ugliness of the cracking paint and broken windows, the rundown buildings and the despair on the faces of the hundreds of homeless and addicted wandering aimlessly on the sidewalks.” Among those wandering are a high proportion of the city’s homeless youths (it is estimated that there are over 12,000 children living in the city without parents).
Ted and Sara thought of Roger Huang, a community leader who they had recently met. 24 years earlier, Roger had been driving through the Tenderloin himself when he had to pull over because of a flat tire. As he did so, he witnessed a young kid in the neighborhood getting beaten up. As Roger described the experience to the Lucas’s, “I felt God asking me what I would do if that kid was my own son.” Several days later, Roger and his wife spontaneously started delivering sandwiches into the low income hotels throughout the Tenderloin that housed many of these children.
Over the years, those sandwiches grew into City Impact, a nonprofit that runs a school, rescue mission, addiction recovery program, thrift store, food bank and children's programs. As a result, Roger (right), his family, and City Impact have touched thousands of lives in the Tenderloin, especially those of the most vulnerable children.
The Huang’s radical expansion of the boundaries of their “family” particularly inspired Ted and Sara. The Lucas’s had desired to have children of their own but were undergoing a very painful struggle with infertility. Hearing about the children of the Tenderloin, Sara felt like “God was giving me an opportunity to invest the love we would have had for our own children, and giving me a new way of being a mother.”
The Lucas’s decided they were called to be a family by providing for the children of this neighborhood. They were especially drawn to City Impact’s desire to expand the capacity of their kindergarten through eighth grade school in the Tenderloin, from its current 35 slots to over 300. The estimated cost of this expansion was $2.3 million in professional services and materials.
Ted and Sara committed their own finances to the project and began to participate in a team mobilizing resources for this effort. The resources that have come alongside the effort include a pro-bono team from Deloitte Consulting to help jumpstart the project. The team leading the school expansion project have committed over $1 million in pro-bono labor (architecture, engineering, contracting and construction); an additional approximately $1 million is required to buy materials to complete the project, which will expand the school from two classrooms to twelve. Approximately two-thirds of this amount has been committed thus far and the team is working hard to raise the rest in financial contributions.
How you can help:
The SixSeeds Pooled Giving Fund has made our own contribution as an expression of partnership with this wonderful project. We believe their example has much to teach us all about expanding the boundaries of our family in the face of suffering - our own and that of all God’s children.
If you’d like to join Ted and Sara in their efforts, you can do so by contacting Ted at email@example.com or (415) 315-1252. More information on the school project can be found at www.sfcityacademy.com.