Though Neighborhood Christian Centers, Inc. was established in 1978, the ministry actually began years earlier. JoeAnn Ballard was born in rural Mississippi to a poverty-ridden family where the only words heard were angry ones. When she was only three months old, her parents separated, and she and her two older siblings were placed in the home of a great aunt and uncle. It turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to JoeAnn. Though this home was also financially poor, it was filled with love. It was through her experiences, first as an unwanted child and then as a recipient of someone’s sacrificial care that JoeAnn decided how she wanted to live.
The result became Neighborhood Christian Centers, whose mission is “to provide compassionate, Christ-centered ministry to the practical and spiritual needs of the city’s poor.”