Meet Our Staff: Andrew Neal, Director

Meet Our Staff: Andrew Neal, Director

We are kicking off this session of Winter Play with a little something different. To all of our Play volunteers, parents, and kiddos, you might be surprised to find that, even though we act like big kids most of the time, we sometimes play the role of adults outside Brookside Community Church. So, let's get to know our staff!

How MLK Jr. Shapes Play

How MLK Jr. Shapes Play

Sometimes it feels like we have this idealistic picture of Martin Luther King Jr. in our heads. We remember him as the “Dream” guy. The hopeful guy. The sweet man who spoke out for equality and unity.

 

Unfortunately, we’ve whitewashed the memory of this man and what he stood for. We’ve made him safe and comfortable, but the thing about Martin Luther King Jr. is that he was never safe and comfortable. He was a boat rocker. He was a rabble rouser. He was hated and despised and he threatened the holders of power.

This Is Real Life...

This Is Real Life...

Confession Time:  I’ve been in a real funk for the past couple of months. I have felt myself becoming burdened by the stress and responsibility of running Brookside Community Play. Last year was so exciting because everything was brand new. It was the first time we had ever tried to create Summer Play events where hundreds of families from the community could come together on Tuesday nights to build relationships. It was the first time we had ever launched a play-based after school program that would focus on providing a safe environment where kids from our neighborhood could experience the love and hope that a gospel-centered community can offer.

When everything is new, the mountain that needs to be climbed seems to be within reach. When everything is new, you have no idea what it will take to pull off the vision. You just do it because there is no other option.

Last year everything was new, but this year…

The Effects of Childhood Trauma

The Effects of Childhood Trauma

There is a very real public health crisis ravaging our community and you may not even know about it. It is more pervasive than any communicable disease. Its reach is greater than public health concerns like cancer, heart disease, and mental illness and chances are that you have even been impacted by it. 

Why Play Is Important To Me

Why Play Is Important To Me

As the mom of 8 children and the foster-mom to over 20 children, I have seen first-hand the power of play. When many of my children came to live with us, they didn’t know how to play. We placed toys in front of them but they sat and stared. We took them to the playground but the swings made them feel unsteady and afraid. We had one very special therapist come into our lives that worked diligently with our children. She relied solely on play.

Why Play Works

Why Play Works

When I was around seven years old, I got in a fight with my neighborhood friends. We were in the middle of a pretty competitive game of tackle football and one of my good buddies was talking a lot of trash. I remember getting so angry at something that he said, that I just went off and punched him right in the gut. That one action quickly led to an all out brawl.