I am writing this month about the tremendous work being done in Montgomery by Common Ground Montgomery (CGM). This work is making a real difference in the lives of hundreds of youngsters in our city. The mission statement of CGM, which is to “create a ‘safe haven’ of love and grace along with structure and discipline for the children of our community when they are most vulnerable to the destructive influences of our streets,” is being carried out. Staff and volunteers who work in the program at CGM provide a lot more than lip service in carrying out the mission goal. The staff members live and work in the community they serve, opening their homes to children who need guidance, direction, friendship and love. Folks at CGM not only “talk-the-talk,” but they really “walk-the-walk!”
CGM Founder, Bryan Kelly, his wife, Delta, and their four boys are convinced they have been called to become part of the fabric of the Washington Park community, located in West Montgomery, to help bring about its transformation. They, along with staff members and neighbors, provide what they call “life on life” training for young people through Biblically based “discipleship” relationships. These relationships allow youngsters to develop character, social and life skills, and this also provides guidance for them to work on the skills they need to be successful in academics, arts, sports and entrepreneurship.
In 2011, CGM created the Urban Seed Xchange, a relationship-based entrepreneur and mentorship program. Our firm, community volunteers and local media partnered with CGM for a four-week renovation project. An old 4,300-square-foot double storefront located in the community was converted to house the program. Since the summer of 2012, “Urban Seed” has started a screen-printing shop that produces T-shirts, hats, bags and other items. The goal is to involve interested high school students and help them learn basic job skills and marketable talents aimed at future employment. The program is working.
CGM also helps connect children, starting at the fourth-grade level, with Christian mentors from throughout the city. These relationships continue throughout a youngster’s life up to high-school graduation. In addition to the Mentor Program, CGM also provides an After School Program, Christmas Store, House to House outreach to help renovate homes, and a Summer Camp. Each of these programs is badly needed and there also have been successful.
In addition to Bryan and Delta, the CGM staff includes Program Director Kevin King, Chaquana Townsend, Justin Hampton and Dr. Leslie Cowell. The Administrative staff includes AmyLynne Blake, Ken Austin, Matt Wolfe, Rachel Fisher and Jamie Welch. After School Program Teachers are Cedreanna Stafford, Marilyn Greer, Ava Conley, Abigail Hunter, Latosha McBryde and Tontalea Horne. Common Ground Montgomery depends on community donations to do its work and lots of folks have helped out. CGM needs help to allow them to continue their very important work.
Lots of folks in our firm have helped out in a number of ways. They want to see that the youngsters being ministered to by CGM have a bright future. For more information on CGM, you can visit their website at www.cgmlife.org. Regardless of where you live, there are opportunities to participate in efforts such as those carried out by CGM in Montgomery. I encourage our readers to seek out those opportunities. My hope and prayer is that more folks will get involved with groups such as CGM. Not only will you be helping folks who badly need help, but you will be blessed by helping them.