March 2015 – Paint-A-Thon
Eighteen Crosspoint residents and staff gathered to participate in the EastPoint Paint-A-Thon this morning. Our crew was assigned to paint the entire exterior of a home owned by a senior citizen on Lamar. Four hours later, the house had a completely refreshed appearance thanks to the hard work of our volunteers. The owner came out to see the difference made by two coats of white paint and brown trim. She presented the crew with a card offering her appreciation and prayers for us and then posed with us for our team photo, which will be posted on our website and Facebook page. I am so proud of all of these dedicated volunteers.
February 2015 – Basura Bash
Seventeen Crosspoint residents, staff and family members devoted a Saturday morning to cleaning up the debris lining Salado Creek at Martin Luther King Park. This community service project served to restore not only this beautiful East Side park, but also those who gave of themselves to give back to their community.
November 2014 - Temple Baptist Church
On November 15th, we had a crew of 13 once again at Temple Baptist Church (4 staff, 8 residents, 1 community volunteer). We came very close to completing the painting of the chapel in the 3 1/2 hours we allotted. Three noteworthy items:
- Jeanetta Davis (relatively new line staff member) once again came and worked hard despite challenges with her work and home schedules. She has yet to miss a community service project since she started working here in July.
- One BOP resident worked today even though he discharges on Monday. I asked him why he came on his final weekend at Crosspoint. He said he was at the church during our first community service day there and thought that this was his final chance to do something good in the community of this nature. Another resident asked if would be allowed to do volunteer work with us after release on home confinement. A 3rd resident told me that his daughter always tells him of the volunteer work she does in the community and now he can proudly tell her that she inspired him to do the same.
- Finally, the pastor of BTC said he was impressed with our work and now wants to hire one of our residents as a custodian!
On October 25th, a crew of 13 Crosspoint residents and staff undertook on a community service project at Baptist Temple Church on Drexel to refresh their chapel. These volunteers split into teams to sand, prime and paint the various chapel surfaces. Because of the size of the project, it will take one more day to finish it. During the morning, two US Probation Officers showed up unexpectedly to spot-check a client. They were clearly impressed with the project and the number of volunteers. Perhaps most impressive, one of the USPOs told his client how pleased he was to see him giving back to the community on his day off. The client replied, "Thanks but it’s not my day off. I have to be at my regular job at 3pm."
On July 26th, four Crosspoint residents and three staff members teamed up with a member of the Government Hill Neighborhood Association to engage in a landscaping project at Prince of Peace Baptist Church on Runnels. The church's backyard was transformed from an overgrown, unusable area to an open space in which the congregants could set up chairs and enjoy their property. One of the residents took a bus from her home site after changing work shifts to make it to this volunteer project while the three others were Veterans that have worked on multiple volunteer projects. Working at this kind of project in 98-degree heat is the sign of volunteers that are certainly willing to put the needs of others before their own comfort.
On June 14th, an 8-person crew of six residents and two staff members devoted their Saturday to refurbishing a kitchen and dining room where the Community Table Project will now be able to prepare food for a far greater number of homeless and hungry citizens. The crew scrubbed walls and floors, painted, cleaned carpets and washed kitchen equipment and utensils. Todd Glasgow from Community Table and Dennis Quinn organized the work and Joan Cheever prepared a homemade meal for the volunteers. By restoring this kitchen, Crosspoint clients made progress in restoring their own citizenship.
On May 10, 2014, ten Crosspoint residents and staff completed a community volunteer project with the Government Hill Neighborhood Association. Working with hand tools, residents cleared underbrush for a community garden and they dug a dozen post holes for a fence. The residents worked tirelessly, impressed our hosts and left with a sense of accomplishment.
On May 31, 2014, another group of resident volunteers and staff participated in a District 1 graffiti wipeout project to paint over graffiti in a drainage system along Vance Jackson road. Our resident volunteers worked with remarkable commitment and focus. The team covered far more area than the planners had expected. The work completed demonstrated our client’s eagerness to give back to the community.
A 12-person Crosspoint team of residents and staff participated in spring cleaning at the Quaker Meetinghouse on Vandiver. Volunteers helped change filters, build a new park bench, install a bicycle rack and catch up with landscaping. An equal number of congregants worked with our crew to prepare the meeting house for another year of service. The congregants showed their appreciation by providing a pot-luck lunch that included a variety of home-made dishes.
Catholic Charities Wellness and Community Resource Fair was held at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church where 8 residents volunteered to do set-up services.
A four-man crew trimmed, mowed, pruned and picked up trash along Yucca Street. Neighbors commented on how much of a difference this group of Crosspoint residents made in this section of the neighborhood.
After participating in Crosspoint’s 7th Annual Community Resource Fair in 2013, Alamo Colleges Mobile GO Center made a return trip to provide services to residents at Crosspoint in April. Personalized services made available by Alamo Colleges staff included assistance in applying online to any of the Alamo Colleges, financial aid information and options, college awareness and career exploration.
Community Resource Fair
The 7th Annual Community Resource Fair was held in the Nau Library at The Summit on October 5th. An all-time high of 25 local community service organizations sent volunteer representatives to provide essential information to clients and their family members from Crosspoint, Chrysalis Ministries and Alpha Home. The information shared with these citizens can provide a life-saving link when crises emerge in their lives. The participants got the opportunity to meet face-to-face with agency staff who could help them navigate through challenges including housing, education, healthcare, substance abuse, financial and transportation. We are eternally grateful to all of the agency staff members who gave up these week-end hours to ensure that a safety net was in place for those who struggle to become productive members of the community while keeping their families intact.
The community garden at The Summit has produced a beautiful harvest all summer, thanks to the commitment of Crosspoint residents. On October 10, 2013 the garden was dedicated as the Bickham-Cheever Restoration Garden in honor of Moreese Bickham, the oldest living survivor of death row, and Joan Cheever who chronicled his life in her book Back From the Dead in 2006. Bickham and Cheever have each spent much of their lives striving to help those in need, so it is fitting that the Bickham-Cheever garden fills the needs of District 2 citizens as its bounty is shared with area food pantries.
On October 19, 2013 Crosspoint staff and residents took part in San Antonio’s Graffiti Wipeout for 2013 at the invitation of Councilman Diego Bernal’s office. Working as a team with other District 1 residents, Crosspoint’s participants covered graffiti along a 1½ mile stretch of West Boulevard. Afterwards all were treated to a picnic and music at Carmargo Park.
On September 28th, Veterans from the Crosspoint program along with 200 other community volunteers constructed a playground at the Carver Branch Library. The new playground will serve 24,000 children and their families in the community for years to come.
One of Crosspoint’s most challenging community projects has been the restoration of the home of Andre Richardson and his son on Dafoste Street. The home was extensively damaged by fire in June. Now thanks to the leadership of Dennis Quinn and his wife Joan Cheever, the donation of materials by Lowe’s on Callaghan and Jon Wayne Heating and Air Conditioning, and the hard work of Crosspoint residents the renovation is well underway. The homeowner and Mr. Quinn have worked alongside Crosspoint residents and staff every step of the way. They have helped remove all of the debris from inside the structure and have installed insulation. Crosspoint and resident volunteers from Lifetime Recovery are now in the process of hanging sheetrock. KSAT recently featured stories on Mr. Richardson’s plight and collaborative efforts are now underway to get the Richardson family back into their home.
Throughout this summer residents at The Summit have expertly cared for The Summit community garden and have harvested a remarkable quantity of vegetables—tomatoes, squash, peppers and more. All of this has been donated on a weekly basis to the parishoners at our neighbor, Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Everyone involved has learned (again) the restorative value of tending a growing, living garden. Now residents have planted a second crop of beans, radishes, corn and even lettuce. The Crosspoint community garden will be producing wholesome foods well into the fall, all of it accomplished by genuine volunteers.
A second project still in progress is the renovation of the home Andre Richardson and his son on Dafoste Street. The home was extensively damaged by fire this past spring and now, thanks to the leadership of Dennis Quinn and his wife Joan Cheever, the generosity of Lowe’s on Callahan, and the hard work of Crosspoint residents, the home is under repair. Crosspoint residents have helped removed all of the debris from inside the structure and installed insulation. Crosspoint and recent volunteers from Lifetime Recovery have now begun the process of hanging sheetrock. Everyone looks to the successful completion of this project and the return of the Richardsons to their new home.
To kick off 2013, Crosspoint residents at The Summit started close to home to cover graffiti on the railroad overpass on Yucca Street on February 9. The resident worked in misty weather and made short work of the project. The next weekend was bright and clear when residents of the Summit teamed with volunteers from Shearer Hills Baptist Church to begin work on our community garden. One team of volunteers constructed 6 garden boxes and filled them with topsoil, while a second team added new plantings to the meditation garden. Once again the enthusiasm bordered on celebration as everyone worked as hard as needed to prepare the garden. The next stage of the garden project was completed by The Summit residents when they planted vegetables. Once again, an observer could have been forgiven for feeling a sense of great pride in the dedication, sincerity and simple joy this kind of work reveals in us all. In every project the Veterans and men of the Residential Reentry Center have worked seamlessly as a team committed to its goal.
During the first quarter, Crosspoint residents and staff continued the projects begun last year. In preparation for the Martin Luther King march in January, our residents contributed several hours of service to complete exterior renovations on the Greater Faith Institutional Church on Martin Luther King Drive. We continued on interior projects there on March 17 and March 31, completing painting of the sanctuary. On March 3, Crosspoint returned to the Denver Heights Community Garden to dig in to some much needed spring weeding. Also on March 17, residents and staff of Crosspoint’s women’s facility participated in graffiti abatement work in Tobin Hill, just north of downtown. Over the next few months our work in District 2 will continue with clean up projects, renovation and garden work. Our residents are always eager to help out and contribute to the community that gives them a chance to come home.
Crosspoint ended 2012 with a major effort at cleaning a vacant lot in District 2. Our residents, worked mostly with hand tools plus dedication and determination. They transformed a space overgrown with weeds and shrubs and choked with trash into a green space that seemed almost like a park. The improvement was clear to local residents, several of whom stopped by during the work to offer their appreciation for the work.