During the Christmas season, it is so easy to get caught up in the commercial experience of shopping and gifting and forget the real meaning behind this holiday. I’m guilty for one. I’ve had the Christmas tree up since November and was upset when the shoes I wanted to buy were sold out. Is life so hard? Get real, Meg. Though I’m slightly joking about the severity of my reaction to the shoes, I’m pointing out the reality that many of us forget how fortunate we are.
I now have three wonderful families, tons of supportive friends, and a life that I absolutely love. I have many blessings. I grew up under the wing of committed parents and strong community. I was taught important values and morals and received a great education.
I often think about those around me who are not as fortunate as I have been and how important it is to give back. Not just during this season, but as often as possible.
Today I want to talk about Crusher’s Club. If you read my post about my mom, you may be a little familiar. Crusher’s Club is an organization in Chicago that focuses on getting kids off the street and from joining gangs by providing something else to belong to: a boxing Club. Those who prove their achievements in school with good grades have the opportunity to also work at the club.
I think this organization is amazing. Both my mom and dad have become involved. Sally Hazelgrove, the founder, has completely dedicated her life to this cause. She now lives in Englewood, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago and does everything she can to help these kids.
They focus on four core values: ownership, love, discipline, and respect. To be part of Crushers club, these kids have to prove their dedication to their education and good behavior- attendance, grades, and avoidance of gangs.
Here are some interesting statistics from their website:
- 100% feel better about themselves by joining Crusher’s Club
- 90 % improve their grades
- It costs $85,000 to incarcerate a youth for a year while it costs only $5,000 to redirect through Crusher’s Club
- 98 % get off probation and 90% improve school attendance
- 95% are less defiant at home
- 100% feel they have more purpose in life
If that isn’t compelling enough, check out their 2014 Philanthropy Video here. I promise you will be inspired.
My mission is to contribute to this organization and find a way to continue giving back. If Crusher’s Club sounds awesome but you already support another organization you feel passionate about, please think about a way you can give back this Holiday season & in the New Year.
Cheers! Merry Christmas.