I appreciate Réna Bradley greatly. This podcast solidified that reality as I learned more about her background, the intentionality of her past work experience, and her boldness in how she goes about her work. Most of all, I’m so encouraged by how she integrates her faith throughout all she does at Bridge of Grace.
You may be familiar with Bridge of Grace, but you may not be as familiar with Réna unless you work directly with her on a project or two. Loved by two incredible parents, training as a architect, and driven by her desire to transform neighborhoods through relationship, the transforming of the built environment, and the integration of faith, Réna is an asset to the Fort Wayne Community.
Réna moved to Fort Wayne in 2015 after responding to a job opportunity posted by Bridge of Grace via the Christian Community Development Organization (CCDA) who at that time was looking for a program manager for a specific program. Réna got to know the organization and during the interview process communicated that maybe what BOG needed was someone that focused on the transformation of the neighborhood, and that someone ended up being her.
Réna currently serves as the Community Development Director and oversees many of the projects that engage neighbors and neighborhood youth in transforming vacant lots into mini-parks through an intentional program that teaches kids the entire process of building something in a community. They identify the opportunity/need, come up with the vision, define the solutions, get approval for those ideas, gather the resources, and then participate in turning a vacant lot into something beautiful and useful.
Réna and I talk a lot about her journey to Fort Wayne, what it’s like being an intentional neighbor, how to share out of our abundance, and when you go from work life balance to work life integration. She’s a beacon of light to her neighbors and has created a safe place to be known, cared for, and believed in. That spirit is transforming the social connectivity in her neighborhood and is beginning to see significant fruit in other more complex issues, like crime reduction, housing development, and youth development.
I encourage you to listen to get to know Réna better, visit her at Bridge of Grace in the SE side of Fort Wayne, and get involved however you can.