GO Cincinnati engages community, serves nonprofits

About seven years ago, Crossroads began a transformation that positioned it as more than just a church. Its vision was to focus on ways in which it could serve others—in not just the community, but across the world.
Crossroads’ work with GO South Africa was making an impact in the lives of those battling poverty and HIV/AIDS, but at the same time, volunteers began to think about their roles in their own community.
Modeled after GO South Africa, a team of volunteers initiated GO Cincinnati. It's an outreach activity that started out with about 1,200 volunteers who completed 65 projects throughout Greater Cincinnati in a single day for nonprofits.
“People really connected with the idea of serving their city, and on the front line serving those in need,” says Kelley Kruyer, director of Cincinnati ReachOut projects and leader of GO Cincinnati. “They’re doing the hard work every single day, so we thought it would be cool to thank them for the work they do in our community.”
This year, 7,000 volunteers will combine forces on May 18 to complete 400 projects that range from painting and landscaping to putting up drywall and serving meals.
According to Kruyer, the best parts of GO Cincinnati are the long-term relationships Crossroads has formed over the years with the organizations it serves.
“We know their buildings, their properties, their needs, and we know how to best help them, so sometimes we put together a multi-year plan, and it gives them the peace of mind and helps them to budget so they don’t have to spend money on things that we’re happy to help with,” Kruyer says. “It’s just a really special day.”
Kruyer, who grew up in Northern Kentucky, left her hometown in the ‘80s. During that 10-year period of her life, she says she wondered what she was doing because everyone and everything she loved was here. She says that's the kind of passion for the city that drives Crossroads to engage and reach out.
“We love our city—and by Cincinnati, we mean all of it—from Burlington to Middletown to Amelia to Cleves—the whole Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area,” Kruyer says. "We’re just totally committed to making it one of the best places in the country to live.” 

Do Good:

• Find a nonprofit that interests you and lend a helping hand.

• Assist Crossroads in its volunteer efforts throughout the year.

• Like Crossroads on Facebook.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a teacher at the Regional Institute of Torah and Secular Studies. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

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