Matt Richard began a program years ago to raise the next generation of leaders, but that almost ended after the Club Blu shooting of 2016.
Matt Richard knows the Club Blu shooting is why programs like Crossover Community Outreach in Fort Myers is necessary.
“Growing up in a single-parent household in Los Angeles, California, I just dealt with a lot of problems that a young teen would deal with without a father at home,” said Richard. “Really just running in the streets, not having mentorship, not having role models to kind of lead me on the right path.”
Richard uses Crossover to teach teens about financial literacy, leadership skills, faith in God, sports and athletics.
“A lot of these kids are just walking by themselves,” Richard said. “Crossover is my way of giving back and actually building the things that I think I would’ve been able to use and would have been beneficial to my life.”
The program almost stopped in 2016, when 14-year-old Sean Archilles, was shot and killed at Club Blu.
“I just didn’t want to have to go through losing young men at that young age for just senseless crime, but in that moment as I was really just weeping and crying out, God spoke to me and said this is the reason why I have you here is it’s to be a leader in these times, where you can lead these young men to walk through their hurts but also to choose a different life,” Richard said.
Crossover serves about 50 kids a week, and more than 160 middle schoolers and high schoolers have visited, so Richard wants to expand and hire more staff to serve more kids in the community.
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