Posted by Crosswalk Teen Center | The County Journal | Charlotte, MI | February 8, 2020
The following is a poem from one of the participants at Charlotte's Crosswalk Teen Center. Deanna Brasseur is a senior and has already had some of her work published. Crosswalk is a free afterschool program for teens, grades 7-12, focusing on providing educational support, community connections, everyday life, and expressive arts. It is located at 103 W Lawrence in downtown Charlotte. Find out more information at crosswalkteencenter.org or the "Crosswalk Teen Center" Facebook page.
I Gave You My Best.
By Deanna Brasseur
I love you with a love that no one taught me how
to hold onto. I had no role model for healthy
relationships or consistency in marriages from the
generation who claims they are so much better than the
one I am living in now.
I love you with a love that my hands don't know
how to latch onto because I have latched onto so many
things like the fleeting episodes of games me and my
father used to play every other weekend. I latched onto
things like the idea of a mother who would hold me
back when I reached out for her hand.
I love you with a love that I have yet to
understand because I have never seen love survive
through the trenches of dishonesty or disrespect, much
less distance. I have only heard myths and fairytales
where love like this dances through the strands of
weeping willow trees and magic.
I love you with a love that the people I know
have only dreamed of. As my housewife mother was told
she was bad at her job by my stepdad who laid hands on
me harder than the metal scraps he wrapped his bare
knuckles around daily. It was during these times that my
mother dreamed of a man who would call her beautiful
at every waking moment and she dreamed of a man who
could hold her with not only his arms but his words. My
father, he dreamt that a woman would comfort him the
same way the lips of a brown beer bottle always knew
how to. He dreamt that a woman knew more than how
to walk out of his life quicker than she said hello on the
day they met.
I love you with a love that is a miracle in my
family. Something we’ve only seen in the pages of open
books. This feeling is something I never knew existed in
the real world. I left you and I hurt you and I bruised you
because I grew up thinking that love was limited to
scars and addiction. I never knew how to love you this
deep. Deep has always meant pain to me. I wasn't aware
that there was any other definition. I taught myself that
love needed to be found everywhere. My heart was a
desert in need of water and the love was the water that
could keep me moving for one more day and I searched
for it. In all the wrong men. I could feel every word
creeping into my ears as I heard a new lie from a
different person. Eventually, dishonesty blossomed into
just another synonym for love.
I grew up searching for a love that my parents
had defined in their own books, their own mistakes,
their own lives. And I didn't know how to do anything
but follow blindly, hoping that I wasn't being led astray.
I love you with a love that my parents did not
define for me because they never had the privilege of
feeling this themselves. Our love would have been a
blank page in their book, yet I have managed to fill page
upon page about how what's left of my soul aches to
belong to you because I know that you'll take care of it.
When I fell in love with you, you wrote me a new
book. You showed me how love is supposed to be. Your
book says nothing about empty promises that keep you
awake at night or broken glass that is used as a short
term mask. I still don't know how to love you right, but I
do love you completely. And I am trying.
The Crosswalk Studio has become the hub of creative minds. Each day, teens race to Crosswalk so they can start working on their media projects. These teens learn to use music creation software, video production, and musical instruments. They use these skills to create their own video blogs in The Studio, where they add commentary to video games or share their thoughts on a variety of subjects. The opportunity to create unique production projects in the Crosswalk Studio opens the door to opportunities ranging from an engaging hobby to a career. Crosswalk loves providing opportunities for teens to explore their creativity and launch into new and exciting projects! Big thanks to the Charlotte Rotary for helping to purchase new technology for the Crosswalk Studio!
She recruited over 20 teens to volunteer at the Time Piece Park Flower Planting Community Meeting; then, she got many of her peers to join her in working with Jr. Main Street as they brainstormed positive events and directions for the community. This has inspired her and several teens to look for opportunities to serve the community. Crosswalk is excited to help foster and encourage this excitement and interest in the community. Crosswalk teens are community changers!
Teens have been learning about woodworking with one of our dedicated volunteers, Mr. Bryan. He teaches students to plan projects, predict supply needs, and determine how much time their project might take. They also learn to select the appropriate tool and use it responsibly. In addition to teaching woodworking skills, Mr. Bryan models patience and focus. He teaches that good projects take time and cannot be rushed. Projects have included fixing a foosball table, building cornhole games, creating wooden coffee trays to sell, and building and installing wooden shelves. This is one of many avenues Crosswalk provides for teens to have fun while learning new skills. We are excited to see what they will make next!
Recently Crosswalk opened up an area for teens to learn basic boxing skills. Mr. Tom, a Crosswalk volunteer, is a former Golden Glove Boxer who believes teens will benefit from learning basic boxing techniques for fitness, confidence, and a last resort self-defense. According to Mr. Tom, “Teens need a place to let off steam, without hurting anyone. A place where they can punch a bag and talk to a mentor about their frustrations.” With every lesson on proper boxing technique, Mr. Tom also talks about confidence, self-control, being a peacemaker, and becoming a person with a strong moral code. Mr. Tom believes teens should be able to defend themselves, but strive for peaceful resolutions in every situation. Crosswalk is excited to provide this new avenue for teens to explore and experience.
Teens came pouring into Crosswalk at 2:43 pm after their first day of school, and they were surprised to see a tower of pizza boxes waiting for them. The teens were thrilled and surprised that someone would buy them pizza. Many teens asked, “Why would somebody do this?” Our answer was simple; “New Hope Community Church wanted you to have an amazing first day of school!” New Hope Community Church provided 15 large pizzas from Swampers, and some of their members brought in tasty desserts. Crosswalk and the teens enjoyed this special treat. Thank you! We are looking for event sponsors each month for holidays and special events. If this interests you or your group, please reach out to Nathan or Rick.