The Alvin Leonard Youth and Family Center is named after the founder of
Greater Deliverance Church of God in Christ, who passed away in December 2007 after serving 21
years as pastor. Pastor Alvin Leonard had previously worked as a
vocational instructor for LA Unified School District and had long
spoken of his desire to provide more opportunities for local youth.
Greater Deliverance had already been using our building as a place for local outreaches, including an annual Vacation Bible School and weekly food distributions. After a car crashed into the front of the building in 2006, the church took it as an opportunity to refurbish and redesign the facility to also provide an afterschool program. The refurbished building has a multipurpose room, computer lab, kitchen, office and playground areas.
The appointment of Elder Mark Leonard as youth pastor at Greater Deliverance had helped renew his father's interest in providing more positive alternatives for youth. Elder Mark drew up a plan for establishing a youth center. His mother, Evangelist Mamie Leonard, shared the plan with new member Naomi Bradley, who had directed youth centers under the same format as developed by Elder Mark. In a meeting discussing the possibilities, the Spirit of the Lord fell on everyone present, including Pastor Leonard, confirming their desire to move forward.
Pastor Leonard appointed Mark and Naomi over a planning committee comprised of Greater Deliverance members who assisted in developing an organization that would be more caring and considerate in its approach to youth and family services. As our current pastor, Elder Mark Leonard is building on his father's work and example going beyond church walls to extend God's love and commitment to people wherever they are.