News Feature, Karina Guadalupe
In an effort to remodel Crescent Park’s Multicultural Family Resource Center, 49ers tight end Vernon Davis was in town to introduce the launch of The Positive Impact Project – a partnership between The Vernon and Vontae Davis Family Foundation, Modern Class Design (the interior design company Davis co-founded), and nonprofit EAH Housing, which owns the 378-unit apartment complex.
The launch took place at the Resource Center on Thursday March 29th. More than 80 people were there, including Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, representatives from the Richmond Police Department, and residents.
“We as a community are gratified to be selected to be part of this effort,” said Kelly Crowell, Director of EAH Housing. To have Vernon Davis tell the story of him growing up in tough inner-city Washington D.C. gives youth (in Richmond) hope for the future.”
Mary Murtah, President and CEO of EAH Housing, believes that Davis’s message to everyone was that there are many roads to success. “There are so many kids who are talented, who get trapped in the inner-city and trapped by the crime. (Vernon) doesn’t want to see that happen, so he thought that by him coming out, he could help inspire kids.”
Currently, the Multicultural Family Resource Center provides residents with career and job support, after school programming, senior activities and other programs. The remodeled center will feature a computer lab for youth with access to software that should help them with their academic projects, an upgrade of the outdoor recreation area for team sports, health and wellness programs and other amenities. Work will begin over the next few months and should be wrapped up by next year.
Long time community organizer and ONS Peace Keeper Elana Bolds has been a member of the Crescent Park community for 15 years. She was happy to hear about the remodel and hopes it will result in a revitalized community center that youth of all ages can truly benefit from.
But she cautioned against celebrating too early, before work had even begun on the project. “The proof is in the pudding,” she said. Nevertheless, Bolds made it clear that she will be “rooting for this to be successful, because to me it’s all about the young people.”
Toward the end of the event, Davis revealed a mural titled “Imagination,” that was painted by Bay Area artist Jonathan Brumfield. The mural’s central concept of a tree came from Alex Schott, a 10-year old girl who lives in the apartment complex. Davis and children from the community put the finishing touches on the mural by painting the word “grow” at the base. The mural will remain in the multipurpose room at the remodeled recreation center.