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Meet Christi Jennings of Children Striving Together

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christi Jennings.

Christi, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I grew up and was raised by my Grandparents and Aunt due to my Mother being on drugs my entire life. She has now been off for some years now. Back then, I was able to receive all the great things that any parent would be able to give their child no matter what our circumstances were but I also so youth and young adults that were not so fortunate although the appeared to have the best lives.

As an adult, I wanted to give back to the community so I started volunteering for different companies but one thing keeps playing over and over in my head. I want to give back my way to the community and not the way of someone else. I went to the library and started researching how to start a non-profit and how to start a business proposal and once I did all of that, CST was born. I developed a board, volunteers and planned our very first event which was CST’s 1st Day in the Park Introduction. This was the birth to the community.

Since then, we have been in existence for 5 years as of March 18, 2013, and have done so many great things such as feeding the homeless, back to school giveaways, toy giveaways, Easter egg hunts, field trips, CST Saturdays, Teen Talks, CST Adults, and so much more. Our number one goal is to “Help Our Youth Thrive” in any way, we possibly can for a better future. These children are our amazing pillars of tomorrow’s society.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has not been that smooth but it has been rewarding. The most challenging part of this road is receiving funding. Our organization doesn’t charge for anything that we do, so getting people to donate and obtaining grants is one of the hardest things. I went to CSUDH and became a certified grant writer to help with that back in 2017, however, it is still a challenge.

I am not worried about the believers because I know CST can stand on its own 2 feet and it has for 5 years now with no residual income coming in. Another challenge is the consistency with the kids. We aim to break that barrier through studies and research we conduct along the way.

Please tell us about Children Striving Together.
Children Striving Together is a non-profit organization that caters to at-risk youth as well as the youth of the community through weekly enrichment activities, mentoring, tutoring, annual events, and so much more. The age group we service is 2-18 but we also assist adults when the events or times present itself.

As a company, we are most proud of our endurance of being able to stand tall when we receive those No’s as well as the teamwork we uphold with one another. Another proud moment is just seeing the smiles on all the kids face no matter if we see them one day or every week. Just making them happy makes us happy because that is what it is all about.

What sets apart from others is that we aim to Help Our Youth Thrive for success with allowing children to be apart of weekly enrichment/social activities on a weekly basis. At the school, of course, they have sports and certain clubs they are apart of but what is missing nowadays is the enrichment. The ability to paint, create a vision board, make a t-shirt, brand a company, learn about a bank account, etc.

These things are not taught on a daily so we ensure that we teach these things and give a great lesson with it.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start all over, I would no do anything different. The trials in the errors that I have faced with my organization is what allows me to learn how to be better each and every day. No one and nothing is perfect in my eyes but I can aim for is perfection.

Everything I have been through has given me the knowledge and ability to be better than I was yesterday. Trial and Error is what life is all about and helps with the growth process.

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