Baylor grads minister to impoverished Miami-area communities
The neighborhood of Overtown, Fla., isn’t what most people picture when they think about Miami. Located just across Biscayne Bay from the glamour of Miami Beach, Overtown is one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city, and its residents daily face the difficult issues that come from living in poverty.
Overtown is also the home base for Touching Miami With Love, a nonprofit organization led by Baylor graduates that ministers to neighborhood families by providing resources to help them overcome the negative influences in the area.
Jason Pittman (BA ’95, MDiv ’02, MSW ’02) and his wife, Angel (BSEd ’95), direct Touching Miami With Love (TML), and their outreach in the neighborhood is personal. The Pittmans live in Overtown, so the people they serve are neighbors, and the issues they address hit close to home. TML seeks to “be the presence of Christ” by serving youth and adults alike in an area that sees nearly 60 percent of its residents drop out of high school, with over half living in poverty.
The organization’s outreach offers hope through youth leadership programs, life skills classes, character education, job skills training, community service and more. And they’re seeing results: students who participate see improvements in school and in their personal relationships. And their footprint is growing; earlier this year, TML merged with another non-profit organization to serve Homestead, a city south of Miami which faces many of the same challenges as Overtown.
The Pittmans aren’t the only Baylor Bears to serve at TML. Earlier this year, they hired another Baylor grad, Kristina Garrison (MSW ’11, MDiv ’13) as the organization’s clinical program director. The Pittmans’ calling to live and work in the community mirrors Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, where Jason was trained. In 2011, Baylor social work moved to downtown Waco to place students in the midst of their community, better preparing students to follow the example of Touching Miami With Love and other organizations where Baylor grads meet the needs of the underserved.
Sic ’em, Touching Miami With Love!
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