“Beating the odds? No, it’s about coming together to change the odds for these kids to help them find lasting success for generations to come,” said Bryan Kelly, founder and executive director of Common Ground Montgomery.
Founded in 2006, Common Ground Montgomery (CGM) started as Bible study sessions with Carver High School’s football team while Kelly worked as a volunteer coach. Within two years, CGM started its first boys and girls camps and after-school program at McIntyre and Carver community centers in west Montgomery with about 40 students.
After creating CGM, Kelly moved into the neighborhood with a vision to make a difference. He bought and renovated a former illicit drug house in the Washington Park neighborhood as the primary residence for his young family. That building is now the home of Common Ground. It has become a safe haven for Montgomery-area children and provides a protective and loving environment for all ages, where children can get assistance with homework and participate in extracurricular activities during the school year. After the school year, the doors are open for camp, consisting of tutoring and summer fun.
While Common Ground Montgomery is in the heart of the most underprivileged part of of the Capital City, the impact of its work is immense and does not go unnoticed.
In addition to offering a stable, safe environment for schoolchildren, providing scholastic support through its Leadership Development Program, CGM provides mentoring, counseling and preschool education. The organization’s vision is to teach principles of unity and neighborhood transformation that create an umbrella of services that mold future, godly leaders. CGM does this by focusing on three main areas: academics, social skills and spiritual studies.
The program mirrors the Montgomery Public Schools calendar and is available each school day 3-6 p.m. During the 2019-2020 school year, before COVID-19, the organization served more than 125 pre-K through 12th grade students and provided transportation from each child’s school to the center, then home. The children also participated in Wednesday Bible study.
Alabama Power Foundation, the charitable giving organization of Alabama Power Company, is a supporter of Common Ground Montgomery and its Leadership Development Program.
“The partnership between CGM and the Alabama Power Foundation has been long-standing and has a proven track record of stewardship,” said Summer Williams, director of development for CGM. “With Alabama Power Foundation’s support, we have been able to grow our programs and pour into the lives of so many children.”
“We offer the program and camp, but programs are not all that we are,” she said. “Our staff is here to try to change the odds for the at-risk youths that we work with on a daily basis. We are present, available and have made a commitment to walk with the children and their families.”
For more information about Common Ground Montgomery and its programs, visit www.cgm.life.
(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)