This is Vun'Shai.

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I became familiar with Cornerstone Crossroad Academy during the event, Help Portrait 2012.  Kristi Lichtenberg, the Principal & Program Director of CCA, told me the school’s story and immediately I knew I wanted to share it.

The mission of CCA:

Cornerstone Crossroads Academy exists to expose at-risk high school students to the hope and abundant life found in Christ, equipping students to know God and serve Him forever.
The mission of Cornerstone Crossroads Academy is to educate and teach “at-risk” high school students who have not been successful in traditional settings in a way that provides them with hands-on, real-life experiences in order that they may develop physically, socially, intellectually, and spiritually and so that they may graduate with a high school diploma.

I had the chance to meet Vun’Shai at the school.  He showed me why CCA exists.

Vun’Shai is 19 years old.  He remembers his childhood from when he lived in Richardson, TX.  Life was good and he had everything he wanted. "My mom would take us somewhere every weekend..." said Vun’Shai.  He seemed very happy about describing his old memories.

After his mom lost her job, they moved to South Dallas.  It was a life-changing moment; he was exposed to many bad things and his life took sharp a turn.

Even with his circumstances, he said a very poignant thing:

"God took away good things in my life to show me how blessed I was."

This is the kind of impact CCA has made on his life.

Vun’Shai describes his neighborhood as being "right in the middle of a battlefield,"  where there is constant peer pressure, drugs, violence, hopelessness, and much more.  He eventually dropped out of school during his junior year and began jumping from school to school.  

He asked me to take a photo of his scar and said "It's part of me."

During this rough time, he began meeting with a mentor, Glen Banks, at World Impact.  Glen told Vun’Shai about CCA and suggested that he check it out.  After visiting, CCA felt like the right fit so he began attending in October of 2012.  

He is proud to say that he will be graduating very soon!

I asked him about what makes CCA so unique.  "The teachers are how teachers are supposed to be, motivating and loving. They teach you to be responsible and interact with students."  He also said, "CCA is so much more motivating than being at home."

One thing that struck me was what it takes for him to get to school.  He has to take a 40-minute bus ride each morning. He gets to the bus stop at 7:50 AM each morning and if he's even a minute late, he would not make it on time.  Even with this tough commute, he is very motivated to get to school everyday and make the best out of it.

We also talked about being a believer and how CCA has impacted his his faith.  "Getting into the Word at school has been a transformation at heart."  Even though being a believer in his neighborhood is almost impossible, he walks with God daily and stays very faithful.  It was so encouraging to hear how strong his faith is in the midst of his "battlefield".

So what does a young man like Vun’Shai want to do after he graduates?  He wants go study criminal justice in college and become a police officer.

I wish Vun’Shai the best and will be praying for him.

If you are looking for a place where you can serve in Dallas or an organization you can give to, consider Cornerstone Crossroads Academy.  All the gifts are the time will prepare a better future for each student.

"Jesus Christ"