Rooftop Revelations: Killing the belief that ‘life is cheap’

on Feb7
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It has been mentioned in earlier Rooftop Revelations that a child born today into the South Side of Chicago did not choose to be born into such a violent and impoverished world. But that was the child’s fate. The hope here is that the child will have strong parents or at least one strong parental figure who can provide the guidance to turn that fate into a rags-to-riches story or, at the very least, a rags-to-middle class story. But what about the child who has no one or perhaps was born to children? What hope is there that such a child will survive the streets where every day killings send the same message: life is cheap?

Pastor Corey Brooks knows the odds are against that child. He knows that men and women like him may be the child’s best hope to see that there is a world of opportunities out there. That is why on the 79th day of his 100-day rooftop vigil to raise funds for a community center to bring hope to such children, he invited Vondale Singleton, CEO of CHAMPS Mentoring, for a fireside talk.

Singleton began the conversation by thanking the pastor (and Project H.O.O.D.) for being the first person “to give me an opportunity to work within the community.” 

He went on to say, “What determines our success is how well we can make somebody else successful … We believe that every young person is born to win in every situation in life. Education, empowerment and exposure, those three Es are the basis of what we do every single day.”

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“And you are doing it well, man,” the pastor said. “Whenever people talk to me about mentoring, I say, ‘Yeah, we do a lot of mentoring, we mentor a lot of kids, but the best one that I know at doing it, hands down, is Vondale Singleton.’”

It is not hard to see why when one reads Singleton’s motto: “Find the life you’re meant to live. Discover the path to get there. Change your life, your community, and your world. Start telling your own story. You are Born 2 Win!”

The pastor continued: “I’m going to talk specifically about the [boys] who are on the edge. When I talk about the edge, I’m talking about the ones they just one step away from making some really bad decisions. How is it that you take those young boys and you redirect them and help them change their lives?”

“Building authentic relationships, meeting them where they are, not judging them,” Singleton said. “I take the Jesus approach, unconditional love, a Godly love, thinking about when I was a sinner, thinking about when I was messed up, thinking about when I was on my way to be drugged out, to be locked up, to be dead. So I put myself in the shoes of these young brothers because I was once these young brothers.”

“Some people who are watching across America are saying, ‘All this violence in Chicago, what are they doing about it?’ And I want them to know that, listen, there are some people like you, like myself, really working hard to get rid of this violence. But from your point of view, what can we do more of?” the pastor asked.

“Everybody talks about violence prevention, but no one wants to talk about violence intervention and prevention working together,” Singleton said. “So I want to do prevention before we have to do intervention. I want to get the brothers before they’re going to need it. The younger we start accessing families—because we know we’re dealing with a lot of young brothers who don’t have a father in a home, so the only example they get is from the block, is from the hood.

Singleton continued: “When we replace that and we are consistent and we show up and we steadily come in, we replace these negative images of what they know to be a man, especially a black man.”

The pastor shared: “That’s what I tell people, that we got to figure out ways that these institutions that are working, that have the outcomes like Project H.O.O.D. and CHAMPS Mentoring, we have to figure out ways to get the resource even more so that we can 10X it, maximize it. That’s why we’re trying to build this [community] center so we can just do more work, greater work.”

“The power in what we do is power of partnership,” Singleton said. “You mentioned Project H.O.O.D., so we partner across corporate sectors, business sector, schools, churches, clinics, hospitals, whoever need us … This is not rocket science stuff. We know mentorships work, we know doubling down on trades, certifications, license, degrees, whatever pathway we can create, whatever pipeline we can create to give them opportunities, to give them exposure, to have their brain cells grow in a different way — we know it works.”

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“And it’ll keep working,” the pastor said.

“Over the past three years, we’ve grown 766%. That’s growth in enrollment, that’s growth in finances,” Singleton said. “We’re after 1,000, but we want to get 10,000, we want to get 100,000, we want to get a million, we want to get a billion, we want to get all of the world. So it’s just a few of them that’s out there doing bad, but we got a million brothers, and we can get those couple of [bad] guys.”

These two men represent the best hope that a child born into this dangerous world will grow up believing his or her life is of value to this great nation of ours.

Follow along as Fox News checks in Pastor Corey Brooks each day with a new Rooftop Revelation.

For more information, please visit Project H.O.O.D.

Eli Steele is a documentary filmmaker and writer. His latest film is “What Killed Michael Brown?” Twitter: @Hebro_Steele.

Camera by Terrell Allen.



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