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Power Cross Ministries provides power in life; expansion into Salisbury coming soon

By Andie Foley

Salisbury Post

Monday through Thursday, Power Cross Ministries’ downtown Statesville campus is abuzz with activity.  Groups of young men, separated by age, rotate between stations to get help with homework, have a nutritious evening meal, and train in sports.

The athletics part of the program often provides opportunity for valuable life lessons.

“Listen, if you don’t work hard in life, there is always going to be someone out there ready to take your place,” Power Cross coach and co-founder Jeff Storment tells a group of students during their evening baseball practice.

One player has failed to pay attention and missed a pass.

“If you don’t do your best in college or at your job, there are a dozen other people waiting to be in that position instead of you,” Storment said.

Messages like this are commonplace in the Power Cross program, a ministry dedicated to providing young men with athletic, academic and spiritual support from age 7 through their college careers.

With its success in Statesville, Power Cross is now ready to expand into Salisbury. The goal is to be operating in Salisbury by midyear.

The way the program works is simple: Young men are drawn to the program to participate in sports such as football, baseball and basketball. Once involved in Power Cross athletics, students are given opportunities to work alongside volunteer tutors each afternoon. The program also holds weekly Bible studies.

Deshon Holmes is a junior at Statesville Christian High School and has been in the Power Cross program since 2010. Holmes said Power Cross has helped him grow in his faith and his athletic ability.

Though football is where his passion is, Holmes plans to pursue becoming a physical therapist after graduation.

“One day you may have football, but then life starts to happen. You need to have a plan,” he said.

His experience with Power Cross and its specialized athletic trainers sparked his interest in the career path.

Holmes’ friend Jabril Williams – a sophomore at Statesville High School and Power Cross participant since 2012 – reports similar personal gains.

“Power Cross has helped me grow closer to God. They’ve helped me learn how to grow up and be a man,” Williams said.

Power Cross’ founders and staff said setting goals is important for the students.

“We want these kids to shoot for the stars, but we have to teach them it’s a process,” Storment said. “‘If you want to get here, first you’ve got to do this.’ To us, if we get them a high school diploma, we’ve hit our target.”

Storment’s wife and Power Cross co-founder, Natalie, agrees.

“We feel that God has blessed us with the ability to help these kids,” she said. “We help give them the tools necessary to take advantage of their talents and opportunities.”

These tools can be tutoring and mentoring or financial support so they can take part in athletics. All Power Cross services are free, and participants are provided with sports equipment, transportation to games and conferences, and lodging when necessary.

For Natalie and Jeff Storment, the most important tool they provide is a chance to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

“The most common question we receive is about our goals. Why are we doing this?” Jeff Storment said. “Our No. 1 goal is to teach these boys about Christ. We believe having this foundation will get them further in life than anything else we can do for them.”

Of about 30 students who graduated from high school while involved in Power Cross, about 70 percent are enrolled in college. Seventeen of these young men are on academic or athletic scholarships.

Power Cross alumni Khalil Miller is in his second year at Catawba Valley Community College.  He started participating in Power Cross in 2007.

“I want to be honest with people: I wouldn’t be in college if it wasn’t for them,” Miller said. “Since I went through Power Cross, my grades went up to As and Bs. Coming out of my first year at a college, I had a 3.5 GPA.”

Miller said Power Cross prepared him for life in the adult world, particularly as a person of faith.

“Me, as a gentleman, as a man of God – they’ve really done it all. They’ve molded it to where they know that my graduating class can actually go out into the world and be all right.”

Response to Power Cross’ plans to expand into Salisbury has been resoundingly positive, the Storments said. Both have received phone calls from people expressing excitement and interest in the program.

A public meeting about the expansion will be held Thursday at K&W Cafeteria on Jake Alexander Boulevard. Dinner will be at 6 p.m and information about the Salisbury launch will follow at 6:30 p.m.

To learn more about Power Cross Ministries and its Salisbury kickoff, go to Facebook or visit www.powercross.org.

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