Tucked away in one of Dallas’s oldest and most prestigious neighborhoods, where Mercedes sedans and BMWs are a regular part of the scenery and price tags for homes can top a half-million, an adult Sunday-school class worries about inner-city children.
On Sunday mornings you will find straw baskets being passed up and down the rows of chairs seating 300–400 people in the Elliot Sunday School Class of Highland Park Presbyterian Church. Some of Dallas’s most prominent people live in this posh community and attend this church. Many have money, but when the Sunday-school baskets overflow this Sunday, it is not so much with cash as grocery-store receipts. A local grocery-store chain has pledged to donate a computer system to an inner-city elementary school this Sunday-school class supports if members can raise $200,000 worth of grocery receipts from the chain’s stores.
Much of the credit for this involvement belongs to two members of the class: Bill and Elaine Farrell. They exude a genteel, southern warmth that belies their ability to get things done. And underneath their neatly tailored good looks is a concern for the youngest residents of some of Dallas’s poorest neighborhoods.
Their work with Dallas’s inner-city youth got its start several years ago when Bill, an insurance salesman who is quietly commanding in presence, began volunteer work with the Dallas Housing Authority (which oversees the city’s low-income housing). Brought face to face with needs he and Elaine could not ignore, with children who were being lost to drugs, crime, illiteracy, abuse, and pregnancy, the Farrells decided they had to act.
They Had A Dream
Within four years, they had established the first “I Have a Dream” ...1