Two boys started fighting and had to be separated. Buckner staff assumed it was gang related, as was often the case in the early days of the nonprofit’s first programs in the Wynnewood neighborhood of Dallas, but the real reason helped redefine the way Buckner served the community.
It was a story Cheryl Williams, regional director for Buckner Family Hope Centers in North Texas, had told dozens of times over the years. This time, she was telling it to a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
“The fight started because one of the boys was teasing the other over having two different colored socks on his feet,” Williams recalled. “When we asked why his socks didn’t match, the boy said it was because the electricity in his apartment had been turned off a few days prior, and he had to get dressed in the dark.”
“That got us thinking,” she shared. “If his family was without electricity, when was the last time they could cook a meal or fill the fridge? And how could the children do their homework if they couldn’t see?”
“We realized our approach to the community needed to be so much bigger … we needed to look at a holistic approach that wrapped around the families and got to the root of their issues, such as jobs and finances.”
Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett sat across the table from Williams absorbing every word of the story. The Buckner Family Hope Center® at Wynnewood is part of Crockett’s district, which covers portions of Dallas and Tarrant counties.
Also seated at the table were Crockett’s deputy chief of staff, Kendyll Lockett, as well as Buckner leaders including Dr. Albert Reyes, Randy Daniels and Salome Gasabile. The group discussed the mission and history of Buckner International and the programs and services Buckner offers in the congresswoman’s district, including in Wynnewood since 2009.
Following the roundtable discussion, Williams led the congresswoman on a tour of the Family Hope Center, including the newly renovated children and teen rooms. The tour concluded with the opportunity for Crockett to speak with two of her constituents and long-time clients of the Family Hope Center, Cruzita Rodriguez and Chloe Robertson.
Rodriguez spoke of the blessings three generations of her family have found through the Family Hope Center, from becoming better with their finances to developing a stronger sense of faith and worth. Meanwhile, Robertson asked if she could pray for the congresswoman, and the two embraced for nearly a minute.
A packed schedule meant the congresswoman needed to rush off to her next appointment, but she was already listing off ways she wanted to support Buckner and specifically the Family Hope Center at Wynnewood.
“There is no substitution for experiencing the transformative power of a Buckner Family Hope Center firsthand,” Williams said. “I look forward to seeing how we can work with Congresswoman Crockett to better serve the families in Wynnewood.”