It was an unusual invitation: come out to West Dallas to watch us tear down 26 crack houses. Norm Henry and the Builders of Hope team plans to replace these drug-infested shanties with beautiful new 3-bedroom homes for deserving families. To see the neighborhood physical change — and meet the people involved — is to truly understand what “transforming a community” really means.
Behind the bricks-and-mortar are some amazing, dedicated people. That’s the deeper level of what Builders of Hope does. They hire young men and women from the neighborhood to do the building. Some of the folks have sketchy backgrounds — jail time, drugs, petty crimes — but they have grabbed this second chance and run with it. Having grown up in the construction business, I was impressed by the level of quality in their carpentry, painting, and brick work. What’s more, there is a spirit of self-determination and joy around this organization that is inspiring.