Sociology Professor Mark Warren, Ph.D., offers a vivid portrait of how a racially diverse faith-based group has managed to turn blighted communities into thriving neighborhoods in his new book, Dry Bones Rattling: Community Building to Revitalize American Democracy. “Rather than just talking about the problems, I wanted to identify a model program that turned things around,” said Warren, whose book was released this month by Princeton University Press. Given President George W. Bush’s proposal to support faith-based community organizations with government funds, Warren’s research is timely and offers a concrete model for inner-city revitalization. In his book, Warren describes job-training programs that provide long-term training for adults in fields such as nursing, diesel truck mechanics and medical technology.
He also describes school reform programs that raise test scores and build alliances between parents, teachers and principals. All of these services are provided by the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) network, a faith-based organization operating in Texas and the Southwest. Warren describes the network as “a model for reviving democratic life in the inner city.” Warren is the founder and director of Fordham’s Service Learning Program, which offers students an additional college credit for performing community service related to their course work. He sits on the board of the University Neighborhood Housing Partnership, a joint program between Fordham and the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, which finances affordable housing in the Bronx. He is also a member of the Parent Teachers Association in Mount Vernon, N.Y., where his two daughters attend public school.