The vision of Cross & Crown is to have indigenous people of the neighborhood be the leaders of Cross & Crown. The original vision for what is now Cross & Crown was revealed to a small group of people from a different neighborhood who felt called to move out of their circle of influence. Cross & Crown, as well as, Rock Island, continue to have significant leadership roles filled by non-indigenous individuals but over our 10 year existence more and more neighbors have began to fill leadership roles.
At Rock Island the same holds true. Ron and I both realize our responsibility with the youth of this neighborhood is not only in leading, advising and mentoring them but also to help them realize their potential in future leadership roles as we do our best to develop their passions and skills in ways that empower themselves and the people of THEIR neighborhood.
Bottom line: The future of Cross & Crown and Rock Island lies in the hands of the people of this neighborhood.
(the following has been done with permission and request (might I add, several requests) of Darvin)
Exhibit A: aka, Darvin
When we first meet Darvin 8 years ago he was just a wee lad at the age of 7. He was quiet, curious and sharp. Not much has changed for Darvin except that now he is starting to spread his social butterfly wings and is quite the conversationalist. He is still very sharp and is one of the more academically advanced students. (Don’t get a big head, Darvin).
Over the course of our 8 year friendship with Darvin we have had plenty of opportunities to see him grow and mature in just about every aspect of his life. With the exception of one or two summer breaks Darvin has made an effort to come be apart of whatever is going on at Rock Island 2-3 times a week for almost 9 years!
Recently, Darvin has shown an interest in being apart of a fundraising experiment Ron and I started to dabble in a couple years ago. With the permission of those donating, we began posting items, such as, furniture and electronics on websites such as Craigslist and Ebay. Any sales made from these postings went directly into the “Rebuilding the Walls” program.
After much deliberation and planning we worked it out so that Darvin could take as much ownership in this venture as he wanted. Because he is of working age and we didn’t want for him to have to choose between making money by getting a “real” job over choosing to hang out with two incredibly awesome, fun, hilarious, thought-provoking men (Ron and I) we decided to forge the two.
Now, Darvin works when he wants by helping pickup donations (when he can), taking all the pictures, uploading the pictures, describing the items and posting the ads online so that others can purchase them. He has seen reasonable success and now get’s to make a little extra change (10% of whatever he sells) while also contributing to the betterment of his very own neighborhood. Not to mention, this, also, allows for him to continue spending some quality time with the two incredible men I mentioned earlier.
The way we, at Cross & Crown, look at it is that it’s a win/win situation.
Earlier in this post I explained how the future of Cross & Crown and Rock Island is held by the men, women and youth of this neighborhood. We can’t afford to lose young men and woman with the skills, knowledge and ‘can-do’ spirit that Darvin possesses. This little scenario is just one small scale example of how Darvin, even at the ripe age of 15, can begin contributing to the future existence and success of Cross & Crown as we strive to serve the people in this often overlooked area of OKC.