What Does Community Empowerment Look Like at DBC?

Dallas Bethlehem Center News


By Fran Lobpries, Donor Relations

SUCCESS READINESS… is Dallas Bethlehem Center’s (DBC’s) tag line, and the backbone of this concept lies in volunteer engagement.  How does DBC empower?

First, DBC infuses all interactions with these CORE VALUES:

  • FAITH – Living God’s Grace
  • INTEGRITY – Honoring entrusted resources
  • RESPECT – Affirming individual worth
  • CONNECTION – In relationship with all
  • HOPE – Inspiring belief in tomorrow
  • CHANGE – From within

Next, DBC encourages neighbors to assume leadership roles in programs.

And last, but certainly not least, DBC nurtures the blossoming spirit of generosity that occurs naturally when one extends service to others.

As our neighbors help DBC fulfill its mission to create a bright future through education, food security, empowerment, and neighborhood development, they create their own paths to success.

Gwen Bell’s story is a great example of Dallas Bethlehem Center’s impact on lives in South Dallas/Fair Park.

When I began working with DBC in 2012, Gwen, a neighbor across the street, was the one who called DBC’s facility manager in the midst of a burglary. Gwen’s call stopped the theft of the air conditioning units about halfway through. Because the gym units were not destroyed, we were able to continue our programming with the Dallas Police Activities League (D-PAL).

When we replaced the HVAC units, we added a partnership with Crossroads Community Services to provide a food distribution site with Gwen as the lead volunteer. She proudly showed me her flash drive where she stored the DBC orders, using our computer lab.

The program grew quickly from 25 families the first month to 250 families and 720 people who received one week’s worth of groceries each month. As the program grew, so did Gwen’s confidence. Soon she was offered a job at a child care center where she quickly rose to the role of lead teacher.

Last month, Gwen dropped by DBC to show me her Associate’s Degree and Certification in Early Childhood Education. Gwen has moved from watching the world go by on her porch to a vital role in the community. Her self-esteem has grown, and we are so very proud to have been a part of not only her journey, but that of her son, Marquale. Some of you have met Marquale at one of our events where he assisted with the catering and serving. Marquale has graduated from Lincoln High School and is now gainfully employed.

Even with all these changes, Gwen has never stopped volunteering her services at DBC.

Gwen Bell is success worth celebrating!

Once you see for yourself and know a child or parent or grandparent living in the conditions of South Dallas, please do not stay silent. Tell others what Dallas Bethlehem Center is doing to change the face of poverty in South Dallas.


Fran Lobpries
Donor Relations