A Letter from Our Foundation President, William J. Chatlos

November 15, 2005

One of the best stories to come out of the 2005 hurricane season involved relief work for and by Desire Street Ministries (DSM) Let me tell you about this organization.

Founded in 1990 by Rev. Mo Leverett, DSM has transformed the lives of hundreds of youngsters and their families, creating a community of hope and healing in the most challenging of urban environments, a crime-riddled housing project in the New Orleans inner city.

In 1997 Heisman trophy winner Danny Wuerffel discovered Leverett and the people of DSM and was hooked. Two years ago, he retired from the NFL and devoted himself full time to this dynamic organization of community outreach and Christian discipleship. “Our vision has always been to create a vibrant and healthy community in the Desire neighborhood,” says Wuerffel, who refuses to let a hurricane destroy his optimism or faith. “I believe God is opening the door for us to do more than we ever imagined in the city.”

We at The Chatlos Foundation realize it takes a special kind of organization to find a silver lining in such a disaster.

The silver lining is the rebirth of Desire Street Academy, a Christian high school for boys. Leaving their three-year-old mud-caked school behind, the staff and almost 80 students resumed classes on Oct. 3 in their temporary home, a boarding school at a 4-H camp in the Florida panhandle. “Coming to Danny Wuerffel Country has its advantages,” says Leverett, DSM’s Executive Director. “Danny has been flexing some rather large muscles on behalf of the ministry, and we’re extremely grateful

for the extension of his accomplished reputation to benefit the poor and needy of New Orleans.” In its fifteen years, Desire Street Ministries has accomplished the impossible, building a new church, a pediatric clinic, and a multi-million dollar high school in one of the country’s most impoverished areas. Wuerffel rejoices that “the structure of our building is predominately concrete and looks to be salvageable.” Desire Street Ministries will rebuild and continue to grow. As Leverett explains, “The camp site is a temporary solution to a long-term strategy to board and educate the young men of the 9th ward of New Orleans.”

We applaud the people of DSM. Danny Wuerffel and the Desire Street Ministries team scored a touchdown by opening a boarding school in Niceville. Please consider helping Desire Street Ministries to rebuild, so it can continue to reach out to those “who are in need of both physical and spiritual support and encouragement.”

To learn more about Desire Street Ministries and make a donation, visit

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