Local church reborn in crime-ridden neighborhood
Photo: Video by ktnv.com
CREATED Sep. 12, 2013
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- In the shadow of the Stratosphere and in the heart of the once-notorious Naked City, Casa de Luz is born again thanks to Julie Murray of the Moonridge Group.
When the co-founder of the Three Square Food Bank discovered the church and community center was on the verge of being shut down, she got a group of local philanthropists to pony up half a million dollars for renovations.
She says it's a targeted approach called "collective impact."
Murray says, "If one funder would have helped Casa De Luz it would have been good, but when 20 of them came together it uplifted the lives of thousands and thousands of children and family members in need."'
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for Casa de Luz was held on Thursday. Now the once rundown facility is practically new. Renovations include a new roof, a new kitchen, a playroom and a computer room.
Benita Weneza says it's a safe haven for families in a neighborhood once dominated by drug dealers, hookers and pimps..
Weneza says, "It really helped a lot, like, here they ask you if you want drugs if you want alcohol, they try to sell you drugs. But if you come here, like, they're family."
That family now includes donors like Trinity Schlottman, whose company managed the massive renovation.
Shlottman says the experience has deeply touched his heart. "I have a great feeling that I was just able to be part of this whole process."
Casa de Luz' Pastor Chris Chapel says that gratitude goes both ways. "What we've noticed is that people are just hungry for love, and that's really what transforms."
The woman who made Casa De Luz' transformation possible, agrees.
Julie Murray says she's proud of the Southern Nevadans who came together on the project. "And what's fabulous about our community is we have so much heart."