Adopt-A-Block: Changing Lives For Low-Income Families

By JESSICA MARTINEZ

ATLANTA — Trevor Nixon, 23, Jess Crabtree, 25, Whitney Brown, 25, drive to a low-income neighborhood in the city of Atlanta weekly with the hope of sharing their religious beliefs through Adopt-A-Block.

Adopt-A-Block is a program that has been sponsored by the Atlanta Dream Center for nearly 12 years.

As of today there are over 135 blocks that have been adopted. According the Atlanta Dream Center website, there are over 500 volunteers going door-to-door weekly.

For the past six months, Nixon, Crabtree, and Brown have been part of Adopt-A-Block, reaching out to multiple families hoping to see change within their lives. They are in charge of Forest Cove, the largest section 8 housing in the state of Georgia. The community deals with gang-related violence and drug abuse on a daily basis.

Nixon has been involved with Adopt-A-Block for the last six months.

“When I first started people were very closed off. They were hesitant of us coming into their neighborhood. It was a rough start,” Nixon said. “The kids recognize us now. They know when we are coming and they expect us.”

Nixon explained the attachment that he has developed with the kids.

“I know when someone isn’t there,” he said. “I know when a kid is missing. I know the families by name.”

The three welcome anyone who would like to join them. They start off their morning around 10 a.m. welcoming anyone who comes to volunteer with them. They explain for anyone who is new what they will be doing and about how long it will be. They walk around the apartment complex offering to pray with anyone who is interested.

“When you learn a person’s struggle, when a mom shares something private with you, I can’t help but care,” Crabtree said. “It only took one time for me to know this was something I had to do.”

Nixon, Crabtree and Brown pass out donated goods to the families and finish off their mornings at the playground with the kids. A free Sunday shuttle to church is offered to anyone who may be interested.

“I call them my kiddos. I love coming back and seeing the same faces every Saturday,” Brown said. “I’ve gotten to know them all individually. I talk to them about school, birthdays, lives. You will be surprised how much a kid will enjoy talking to you.”

The three are pursuing teaching as their future careers.

“I believe there is a purpose on us being there weekly,” Nixon said. “If more people knew about it, there is no doubt we would have hundreds of people coming with us. I will be here when there are only three of us and I will be here when there are 50.”

Nixon, Crabtree and Brown plan on continuing their journey for as long as they can.

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