CHRIS' BLOG

  • Blog
    0922172017

    They Are Loved

    Recently I heard an interview with the great writer, teacher, thinker, and activist Nikki Giovanni. She spoke passionately about her upbringing in a poor family with many challenges, but she was so amazingly clear that “we were loved.”  Her clarity and exactness in how she said it has stayed with me.  The biggest part of my job is to tell the story of Beyond Housing and the 24:1 Initiative, but Ms. Giovanni’s story made me realize the dominant refrain in my storytelling has been about the deficits in neighborhoods and families – all the things that are missin
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  • Blog
    0705172017

    The Awe of the Ordinary

    I recently had a wonderful - albeit painful - reminder of the beauty in the everyday things of life. After waking early one ordinary Saturday morning, feeding the dog and cats, and enjoying my cup of coffee, I read a column by Omid Safi, the D--irector of Islamic Studies at Duke University, entitled “The Spirituality of the Ordinary is Luminous”. In it, Safi describes the wonder in the “extra-ordinary” experiences of life, whether they be places, relationships, or our spiritual journeys. He states: “It is easy to love the extraordinary. It is easy to pursue a spi
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  • Blog
    0608172017

    Sights and Sounds of a Neighborhood

    On a recent beautiful spring day in St. Louis, I had a rare break and decided to take a walk during the lunch hour. I was even dressed for it, wearing comfortable jeans and a Beyond Housing shirt - another rarity. I walked out of our beautiful new offices and headed east, toward Barack Obama Elementary School and Vetter Place Senior Apartments. As I got closer to the school, I began to hear the wonderful sounds of kids playing outside. Their jubilant laughter was heartwarming and infectious. When I arrived at the school, there had to be at least 100 kids playing outside One group included abou
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  • 0602172017

    Perceptions and the Helpers

    Subsequent to the latest global tragedy in Manchester, England they were several posts reminding us about the famous Mister Rogers quote of “look for the helpers”. The story behind the quote was that as a child, Mister Rogers was frightened by the news reports he saw about the tragic things happening when he was a child. To calm him, his mother told him to always look for helpers and that they were always nearby. Good people are always coming to help when bad things happen. As we think about this notion and whatever tragic event that we can recall, helpers are always there. In Man
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  • Blog
    0509172017

    A Great 30 Minutes

    My normal mode of operation at my job is not to look back at anything we accomplished in the past, but rather to look ahead to what else needs to be done.
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  • 0407172017

    A BLANK BLUE SIGN

    I recently drove to Louisville to visit a dynamic organization named IDEAS xLab that joined us as one of seven communities nationally in winning the Culture of Health Prize from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2016. Their work uses the arts in community building in a way that would be wonderful to replicate through Beyond Housing – but more   about them in moment. The roundtrip drive to Louisville from St. Louis takes about eight hours, so there’s plenty of time to notice the signs along the way. On the ride home westbound on Hwy.64 somewhere in rural Indiana I drov
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  • 0315172017

    Trees -Yes Trees - are Part of Community Building

    When most folks think about community building, they think about housing, health, education, economic development, and jobs. Rarely do you hear anyone speak about trees.
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  • 0214172017

    Our Best Selves

    I just reread Langston Hughes’ poem “Let America Be America” again, and in the second stanza he said these prophetic words: Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed Let it be that great strong land of love Where never kings convince and tyrant scheme That any man be crushed by one above The poem implores “us” to live up to the expectations we have set for ourselves. Hughes makes it clear that, as a black man in 20th century America, he was not fully participating in the greatness of America. He does not, however, let his exclusion to the full promis
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  • Blog
    0127172017

    Staying Focused

    I have been thinking about what to write for my next blog over the past few weeks. A lot has happened in the last 30 days: the winter holidays, the start of the New Year, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the inauguration of our new president, and the women
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  • Blog
    1128162016

    Moments

    As I age and watch my children grow, I find myself trying to capture more moments in my mind.  The pace of our lives moves quickly most days, but I am trying to savor the moments that mean the most to me.  We can get caught flying through our days, rushing from one thing to another, filling our days with task after task, but rarely do we look around to capture important moments. My wife and I recently visited our daughter Sophie at her college – Otterbein University, outside Columbus, Ohio.  This is her freshman year, and she has so far had a great experience with new fri
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Blog List - Chris
About Chris

I’ve been working in community development in the St. Louis area for 25 years, and I’ve been the CEO of Beyond Housing since 1993. While I’m proud of our accomplishments, I don’t claim to be an expert. At Beyond Housing, the experts we listen to are the voices of the community members we serve. I’ll be raising issues here that I believe matter to our community. I hope you’ll join the conversation. We do reserve the right not to post comments containing offensive language. To paraphrase Dr. King, we can disagree without being disagreeable.