Name: Terrance Koontz
Company: Community Alive
Title: Founder and Executive Director
Years Active: 5
What inspired you to create the Community Alive program?
I started out working at the Boys and Girls Club and as I built my platform I worked my way up to become the community organizer at Texas Organizing Project. I come from a very large family and where I was taught that if one person has it then everyone has it, or everyone needs it, so I learned to look out for not just myself but for everybody. I took my family values and I extended it to the community because I felt and still feel that the minority communities need more love and more connection when it comes to being neighborly towards each other. Initially I had a strong desire to help the low income minority communities by creating programs that made you want to come back and do it again. I felt that there was a need for programs where the children and the parents could come have a goodtime and then take that energy back into the community. I wanted to inspire people to be an inspiration to others and that’s when I decided to create Community Alive. There are a lot of programs for kids but they don’t relate to them because the old school approach does not resonate with the new generation. Community Alive try to bring in a new prospective. The idea is to build the community through these programs and connect people through these programs.
What programs do you offer?
My parents were divorced when I was 12, so growing up in a single-parent household and being the oldest I faced many adversities. My struggles have allowed me to identify with those in need of the correct documents and government program applications. I realized early on that the community does not have the information and don’t know where to go to find the information. Sometimes, they don’t even know the right questions to ask to get the right answer. I have lived through hard times and struggles so I know the answers to the questions because I had to get them for myself. A lot of times, you don’t have to hold their hand; you just have to tell them where to go. Outside of the Assistance and Government aid programs, we host the annual “Get your mind right youth summit”; we also partner with various organizations to host food and school supply drives.
What big events do you have coming up?
Right now, we are working on the Chess Initiative, which will help bring chess clubs into the schools that are located in the lower income communities. I am also in the process of creating the “Black Male Summit” with Brother Deric Muhammad. We want to focus on our young men and their decision making process in terms of their immediate decisions and how those decisions can affect their long-term success. We teach them how to be responsible for their own lives because a lot of them come from a situation where their dads were not and are not around and they use that excuse throughout their lives to justify their mistakes. We try to catch them early and challenge them to be men through our own testimonies.
Tell me about your volunteer campaign.
Right now, we are reaching out to our community leaders and asking them to help us make this year’s programs better than ever by donating or offering their talents as a speaker, deejay or barber. We also need monetary donations and donations of educational books and games.
For more information please visit:
[email protected] or wwww.facebook.com/communityalive