More than one night out
After 11 years, National Night Out has turned into more than a one-day occasion for the Rev. Quentin Boger and the parishioners of his east High Point church.
The Word of Reconciliation Ministries has built on each year’s event designed to prevent crime and promote neighborhood awareness to make connections that make a difference all 12 months.
“We have to be a catalyst for the community, be a representative for what they need,” Boger said Tuesday night as families streamed into the church parking lot. “We want to bridge the gap so people know each other.”
In the 11 years that the nondenominational church has hosted a National Night Out gathering, Boger said the mentality of people in the neighborhood around the sanctuary has shifted.
“We seen crime come down and more neighbors are getting to know each other,” Boger told The High Point Enterprise.
Shaberta Fairley, who coordinates National Night Out for the church, said the event gives Word of Reconciliation Ministries the chance to reach more young people. Since the church became involved in the event, children have joined the dance ministry, she said.
Word of Reconciliation Ministries was among about three dozen locations in the High Point and Thomasville areas that held National Night Out gatherings. Founded in 1984, National Night Out was set up to promote involvement in crime prevention efforts, support police-community partnerships and foster relationships among neighbors.
At the church, red, white and blue balloons dangled from the portecochere that covers the driveway leading to the sanctuary entrance.
The highlight of the evening for the boys and girls arrived when a High Point Fire Department fire truck pulled into the parking lot. The children yelled and smiled as fire fighters opened the array of doors on the truck to show the equipment.
At High Point University, one of the largest National Night Out gatherings rolled out across the soccer field. Hundreds of people had arrived early Tuesday evening to enjoy the mini-carnival atmosphere.
Booths sold roasted corn, hot dogs and shaved ice as musical performers and dancers drew applause from the crowd. Children enjoyed playing in the giant, inflated bounce house, while others spruced up their appearance with a hair cut from three barbers set up with stools under a tent.
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National Night Out was founded and is promoted by the nonprofit group National Association of Town Watch. The first National Night Out took place Aug. 7, 1984, drawing 2.5 million Americans across 400 communities in 23 states. Now National Night Out involves 37 million people and 15,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide, according to the organizers. National Night Out traditionally is held the first Tuesday of August.