We have been listening to you!
Good morning, Community,
I have read each one of your replies, and I thank you for your feedback. I am happy to receive any feedback at all. Creative Gestures Inc. was incorporated in the state of Texas in August 2021. As many of you know, a non-profits biggest gain in the community is the support that comes from within. I am only as good as the community allows me to be. So here is my word, my perspective back to everyone as I see the concerns and issues that could potentially hurt the Youth Center.
We understand that we cannot support the whole community, and sometimes my visions are often more extensive than needed, and I must scale it back a bit. As a mom of six children, I understand a lot of the concerns. I also understand that many of these concerns are the possibilities of what could happen. The youth center will be membership-based. If you are not a member, you don't come. It's just that simple. With a membership fee, I hope to aid the issues and concerns that many of you have. I don't see problems coming to the youth center as big as what we see happening in our community.
It is a craft center. A craft center that allows children to explore their creativity and full potential. If you can create it here, you can sell it elsewhere. What I see is children designing t-shirts, bling sneakers, decorating mugs, etc. These can turn into sales for children, which leads to them learning about money, banking, and being sole proprietors. There is a lot of talent in central Texas, and they lack the tools. This youth provides them that with maximum support from volunteers.
I also understand that children in our community are engaged in other things that happen after school and on the weekends. I currently have four children running through this city in sports, band, choir, and trust me, it gets complicated. My older son wants all of us to be there at his games and events, but the tables turn when it is time to support his siblings because he is a teenager and wants to hang out at home. But the younger kids can't do the same because they have to go where mom goes. So having a center where they can be dropped off opens a sense of relief for me. Because my younger children should be awarded the same benefits, sometimes they want to relax or play video games. They are in school all day and then come home to run with us around the soccer fields, baseball fields, or go back to school and sit in a chair to hear the band. I get it. But while I speak of only kids, I know that out there, this is not the same for every child.
Some children come home to no one. Parents work, which is understandable because the second they stop working, we are bashing because they turn to state benefits. Some children cannot participate in sports or after-school activities because they have to watch their siblings. They are impacted the hardest because they don't have a teenage lifestyle of hanging out with their friends after school, playing sports, or after-school activities. Some have it easier than others. I have it easier because my first child came into this world when I was 16. The struggles I went through then are helping me now as my oldest is 23 and my youngest is 5. I GET IT.
I also get not everyone has it easy, and this youth center helps way beyond how we run our households. When we speak of our children, we are not speaking of the community. If I designed the youth center to accommodate everyone's needs, it would be a 24/7 youth center. I don't benefit from keeping a youth center open until 10 p.m. on the weekdays. It is not beneficial because they have school, and I know many of you speak from a household standpoint, and I support it. But not every household is run the same. And these events that we speak of today won't' always be there tomorrow. There are off times from sports, what about the youth during the summer, there are not many summer programs, sports? Do we think about school closures and holidays? What about parents who have these sports but don't want their other kids at the practices because it is hot, cold, or even boring. I am big on family support at every event, but sometimes I feel like I am paying more attention to my kids running around and their safety than watching my son on the field. I am creating a place where they want to hang out with their school friends. I must approach these issues from every perspective. Some of these issues are beyond my household; it is more significant than i could imagine, but Creative Gestures Inc. has a platform to help the community, so we are trying.
I have a guy who is forced to pay child support during the summer months when he has his child for the summer, and when he brings him down here, it's hard to find placement for his kids because they are nearly slotted, so he pays outrages fees. I am sure he is not the only person going through things like this. Soldiers go through this. Sometimes these centers don't benefit his hours of work. I can alleviate it by at the very least staying open until 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on weekends.
When it comes to safety, I cannot emphasize this enough; safety is my ultimate concern. You want metal detectors; we will get them, no backpacks? Not a problem.
Safety crosses my mind every time I leave home; I had to stop watching the news because I found myself confiding to my home and limiting places I would take my children to. Carnivals? Forget it. I would hire from time to time a zoo to come to my house just because it is safe. But the reality is we can't live like this because crime is everywhere. But what we can do is be more proactive. Instead of promoting the risk, we can demonstrate what we can do to alleviate it as a community. If it means having staff monitoring the outside of the building and the inside, we can do that. Our team will have background checks, ESPECIALLY THE PERSONNEL INSIDE THE BUILDING. It is the only way it will work.
The staff will also have to show that they want this for the children. That this is not a job, it is a lifestyle! It is our future. If you cannot positively speak to children when they are entering or leaving the building for the day, we will not work. If Nicole asks you to be in her Tik-Tok video as part of the youth fundraiser and you shy away, you are not an asset to the organization. And I am genuinely not sorry.
I walk my children to school each day, and I will go out to ensure teachers acknowledge the children and speak to them, because why not? It's not that hard. I get it we have issues sometimes, and they are stressful but don't' take it out on the kids. I tell my kids whatever problems we have at home better not be brought to school and pushed on others. Drop your attitude at the car and bring that same attitude to the car at pick up but separate it from personal and business. And I expect my staff to do the same. I will enforce it with the team.
There will be a 0 tolerance for the youth center from staff and children. We will revoke your membership fee, and whatever your membership fee was, upon termination, the membership fees you invested will roll over into a donation. Parents must understand this is to ensure that before you sign your child up, you know that these are the rules. As far as pricing for the membership, it is still in the works based on community support. I would hope to have the help needed.
I could go on and on. But I will say this:
• Safety is a concern. At the top of our list
• Teens mixed with younger children (I feel we have to fail first before we push to separate them as a whole. I want the teenagers to engage within the youth much like we see when we take our children to Chucky cheese, bounce houses.
• Due to covid the launching of the organization won't be pushed yet.
• We still need feedback from the community.
• Still are in the process of the 501(c)(3), And pending the community feedback, it will depend on if we stay non-profit or for profit.
• We still are searching for a site that our youth can access from all parts of Killeen, Heights, Cove, and Belton.
• Transportation will have to be looked into. We understand America is short-staffed right now. If you have ideas, share them. Resources? Please send a message.
• We still need donors. Will you donate? Will you volunteer? Will you become a director, secretary and help oversee the organization?
One of the many things you will learn about me as we go further down the line as a community to establish this center is I have always been a meet you where you stand type of person. Getting through an internship as a mental health counselor was tricky because if you knew the problem and could identify it, we would not go around it. I am also a here-and-now type of person, so whatever we had or did not have back in our day cannot possibly relate to today, so it is irrelevant. We must focus on today as it stands. I tell my older kids if you're holding on to something from your childhood that you feel is stopping you from reaching your full potential, you must let it go. It would help if you focused on the here and now. Compartmentalization is a tricky tool to use, and it will fail you when another event happens in life. All those boxes will collapse in your lap. If we felt that the world was so much better back, let's fight to recreate the 80's within this center.
Lastly, and probably one of my worse but successful characteristics, is that I talk back. Because we are all adults, and be it constructive criticisms or positive, I intend to answer back in the same tone that you dished it out. If you feel like something won't work, is dumb, or is designed to fail, help me see your visions. Just an I won't do this, or I won't do that does not enhance the conversation in any way. What we don't agree with, many others might agree with your standpoint but can't find a way to support it because we don't know where you're going.