October 16, 2020
East Texas Baptist University met Tuesday with members of the Nu-Town Revitalization Group (NRG), a local non-profit organization that strives to promote social, educational, and economic awareness to improve the Marshall community. University President J. Blair Blackburn presented co-founders Chris Frazier, Tasha Williams, and Anna Ansari with a donation of $1,500 toward the creation of NRG’s forthcoming Educational Resource Center and Youth Recreation Center.
“This donation will help us get the essentials we need to bring our plans to fruition,” Frazier said. “We’re starting from scratch, so we need everything—office supplies, desks, chairs, computers. We’ll also be renovating our future facility, so once we get our building together, we can do everything we want to, such as open after-school programs and offer adult education classes.”
Nu-Town Revitalization Group was recently granted non-profit status by the state of Texas, and their soon-to-be-opened Education Resource Center will offer a variety of services to both adults and children, including tutoring, computer access, homework assistance, and resume-building. The organization hopes to serve the Marshall community and give hope for the future through the gift of education.
“When I was growing up, we did not have these avenues for community growth or development at all,” Williams added. “That’s what inspired me to make an impact in our community. Like me, a child may not know what is inside them, what they are capable of doing. All it takes is someone working with that child, helping them discover what makes that light come on and showing them that someone actually cares about them. This is what we want to achieve at the center.”
Working with NRG is part of the University’s continued commitment to serve the city of Marshall, including the Neighborhood Renewal Initiative. Dr. Blackburn looks forward to partnering further with NRG in the future, including donating more funds, supplies, and essential needs, as well as encouraging students to volunteer in support of NRG.
“Partnering with Nu-Town will give ETBU students the chance to get involved and enhance our community,” Dr. Blackburn shared. “Part of our mission is developing Christian servant leaders that can invest right here in Marshall. We want them to take the initiative, wherever God leads them after this Hill, to invest in their community, much like Chris, Tasha, and Anna.”
Three of NRG’s founders in attendance on Tuesday graduated from Marshall High School and eventually found themselves in a position to give back to the town in which they were raised. Each had an overwhelming desire to make a difference. Co-founder and Marshall native Anna Ansari moved to Austin to become a lawyer but says she keeps coming back because of her family roots and the feeling that she can’t help but want to be involved in the place that has her heart.
“I’ve always believed education gives you so much power,” Ansari said. “I have a law degree, and with that single piece of paper, I can do lots of things. Many kids don’t feel like they have that power, but if you give them education, it emboldens them. That’s why it’s so great to have a partnership with this University, so these kids can see college students and know the kind of power that’s accessible to them through education. Giving them inspiration and experiences like these embodies what we hope to accomplish with the opening of NRG.”