My name is Vatreisha Nyemba. I am from Cleveland, Ohio and currently work in Cleveland as the Director of Leader and Community Development with a great organization called Building Hope in the City.
I am thankful that I have completed the Doctorate of Transformational Leadership. It has been quite a journey, a tremendous journey. How did I come to know about Bakke Graduate University (BGU)? It all began when I was as a girl with questions, and they were very deep questions: Where is the church in the streets? In the streets of poverty, in the streets of racism, in the streets of just real life? These questions started my journey.
There is a quote that says, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." The biblical version of this is Jeremiah 33:3 that says: "Call unto me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things that you know not." For me, BGU was that great and mighty thing. One of the greatest things that BGU has taught me to be is a critical thinker, to be able to understand the both/and because none of us have it. But there are segments of things that help us understand what's going on in our society.
My dissertation was about Christian Community Development (CCD) in Cleveland. I looked at how the principles of Christian community development could help the body of Christ throughout the county, and how could those principles really help us to begin to mobilize a transformational movement. My research allowed me to look at how familiar people were in Cleveland with Christian community development as an approach to urban ministry, what were some of their sentiments and perspectives, and how might we advance those in the city.
My dissertation was inspired by the Fresno, California Immersion. That immersion just set ablaze a deal on my life. Following that immersion, I was able to go into my independent project and into my activities in Cleveland today. I plan on having a city-wide event to thank everyone for being a part of my research and to share the findings and recommendations. My dissertation provides me the opportunity to be on the front lines of implementing training workshops, experiential activities, to help with the formation of the Body of Christ in very practical ways to implement some of the CCDA principles that I've shared with my community.