When my wife and I opened our front door to neighborhood youth over 15 years ago, we could have never imagined that simple action would grow into the community institution that exists today. Angie and I helped lead the charge, but it has taken an army to make these dreams a reality. We’re so grateful for everyone who’s been a part of this journey.
So what’s the announcement? Well, after a period of discerning with those closest to me, I’ve decided to step down as CEO at the end of December. For these first 15 years, I was just what we needed, a builder who jumped in to dig the foundation and frame up the walls. Now, on top of this foundation, we need to build an institution that will serve this community with excellence for the next 15 years, and beyond. We need a new generation to lead the charge.
That generation is already here. I passed the mantle of day-to-day leadership to our Executive Director, Stephen Weir, nearly 2 years ago. He has been living out our core values in the community for a decade. Alongside Stephen, we have an amazing staff, an incredible board of directors, and an army of volunteers who show up every week. Most of all, there’s the incredible youth we serve who will go on to achieve more than we can imagine.
It’s a bittersweet moment as Percy makes this transition. In the 10 years that I’ve been a part of this community, he’s been an incredible mentor, leader, and friend. Its also a great time to reflect on what he helped build. What started 15 years ago as after school tutoring on Percy’s front porch has become five tutoring sites, a private high school, a licensed pre-school, and a workforce development program, all serving over 200 youth every year. CHAT is in the middle of its strongest year ever. We’re reaching more youth than ever before, and the quality of our work has never been better
We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. This is a pivotal season for CHAT, as we add staff and systems that will allow us to become an institution that serves this neighborhood with excellence for the next 15 years and beyond. Becoming that institution makes a promise to the youth we serve: CHAT will always be here for you as a place to learn, to grow, and ultimately to work together for the good of our community.
While I am not leading anymore, a day won’t go by that I don’t pray for this amazing organization and community And a month won’t go by that I don’t financially support the work here, to see every one of our youth breaking entrenched cycles of poverty and living into the hope and future God has for them.
Again, thank you to everyone who has prayed, who has given, and who has served with us. As we move into the next season, you remain in our hearts. A Without you, nothing we accomplished over the last 15 years would have been possible. I’m excited to see what we accomplish together in the next 15.
Founder (and almost-former CEO)