Crockwell driven to help young men find their way
Desmond Crockwell has made it his mission to help boys find their way.
He’s hoping men and women who share his vision will turn out for an event he’s organised tonight, Men of God Meetup, at the Heritage Worship Centre in Hamilton. The idea is that together, they can find solutions for the myriad issues affecting young males.
“The inspiration for this event actually came out of a conversation with a father I know whose son was killed due to gun violence,” said Mr Crockwell, founder of YouthVision Promotions. “He said to me, ‘Something good has to come out of this’.
“I’ve known a handful of people who have been murdered over the years, including my best friend. I was on the way to his house and had to see the crime scene when I arrived.
“I’ve had to look in his parents’ eyes and cry with them. There is just so much hurt in the community.”
Although he has given his time to the Department of Youth and Sport, Sunshine League, YouthNet, Mirrors and Pride, a few months ago he felt the need to do more.
Just before Christmas, he began contacting members of Bermuda’s faith community, believing its members had a crucial part to play.
“I wasn’t made to go to church as a child but I can see how that foundation and being introduced to God is important,” Mr Crockwell said. “Now that I’m older I have much more appreciation for that kind of moral and spiritual upbringing.
“I’ve been in touch with a number of people from the faith community and they understand the vision and the importance of believing in something bigger than ourselves.
“They respect values like discipline and sacrifice and they know that greater faith — and then rolling up our sleeves to do the work — is what it’s going to take for our young people to actually change. It’s the thing that changed me.”
The Right Reverend Lloyd Duncan of the New Testament Church of God said he was immediately sold on the idea and excited to get involved.
“My initial reaction was this is simply brilliant because we all know we are facing an onslaught of challenges with boys and men in the community,” he said.
“What Mr Crockwell is seeking to do is get groups of people to start projects in different parishes so tonight we will engage in a discussion and then start to sign up those willing to get involved.
“The hope is that a person will also emerge from each area who can act as a leader for the various initiatives.”
The reverends Ernest Peets, Daron Lowe, Nicholas Tweed, Andre Minors, Clarke Minors and Thomas Smith are among those who have also signed up for the scheme.
Bishop Duncan believes that by focusing on God’s way, the community can get back to a stronger foundation.
“Those of us who have been blessed to be raised by a parent or guardian that instilled faith in us, we can understand how vital that is to our existence, our stamina and our ability to overcome the challenges we encounter and that’s why something like this is so important.
“Desmond has done a wise thing to get people of faith to come out to talk about their experiences so people can get an idea of what’s needed at a basic level — that if you don’t have faith you are bound to collapse when storms, trials and tribulations happen. That’s in essence what has happened with some of our young men.
“They were given sport options and motocross options and the option to say ‘no’ and stay home on a Saturday or Sunday morning when others were at church. The horse is now well out the stable and it’s almost a question of how are we going to get it back. I’m a big believer of miracles and believe God can make anything happen, but we also have to play a part.”
Mr Crockwell believes that if tonight’s event is able to help save even one life, it was worth the time and effort it took to prepare.
“Everybody needs somebody — whether it’s a family member, friend or significant other,” he said. “You need someone to spur you on and challenge you.
“The problem is the youth have been influenced by the wrong people taking them down a negative path. We need to reverse the trend by speaking life and wisdom to them, but also by taking the time to listen.”
Both men and women are encouraged to come out from 6pm-9pm at Heritage Worship Centre, 59 Dundonald Street.