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Friendship House Aims To Create Culture Of Caring

(Photo by Joy Bonala) Community volunteers and Baptist Church Builders of Texas work together to add studs to a wall during construction on the College Heights Friendship House on Monday, September 21, 2015.
(Photo by Joy Bonala) Community volunteers and Baptist Church Builders of Texas work together to add studs to a wall during construction on the College Heights Friendship House on Monday, September 21, 2015.

One by one the walls are going up in the College Heights Friendship House and by Friday the home located at 1500 block of Orange Street will close to done. It’s Abilene’s third Friendship House from the non-profit, Connecting Caring Communities. The previous two are in the North Park and Valley View neighborhoods. Aaron and Arielle Shaver will live in the house with their daughter Jubilee, 2.  Aaron is the College Heights Community Coordinator for the CCC. He works to strengthen the area by hosting neighborhood events and nurturing an overall sense of community fellowship.

“The Friendship House is going to be a community hub, but in a lot of ways we hope that we can actually help disseminate an attitude of neighborliness,” Shaver said.

His goal with the friendship house is to spread a “culture of caring” through the neighborhood. He’s already been working in the area for the past year but soon he will actually be living there. Neighbor Maria Torres said she is glad about that change.

“He would go around door to door and ask everybody what they needed,” Torres said. Most recently Shaver made sure all the kids in the neighborhood had the essential school supplies before the school year began.

“They love Aaron and his wife and the baby girl,” Torres said. “We’re very thankful that they’re here.”

Torres said her family plans to help paint the house but the main construction is handled by a group of Baptist Church Builders of Texas. The volunteers typically gather to build a church but they’re making an exception for the case of the Friendship House.

“It’s not just Texans and it’s not just Baptists, even though the name implies that,” Dave Butler of Amarillo said. He’s a 10-year veteran of the group that includes volunteers from several states and a number of denominations. 

“This is just a blessing to be able to be a part of something like this, bigger than me, bigger than individuals,” Butler said. “It’s all of us coming together and doing something that’s a good work for this neighborhood, for this community; it’s just a fantastic thing.”