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Two years later, Power Cross plans to expand on success in Salisbury

By Maggie Blackwell
For the Salisbury Post

SALISBURY — Power Cross Ministries, located at 314 North Ellis Street, is expanding their facilities at the former Frank B. Johns School site, most recently used for Rowan Salisbury Schools administrative buildings. 

The Salisbury campus, which has five buildings, is the second location for the organization, headquartered in Statesville. 

Natalie Storment, who cofounded the organization with husband Jeff, says Power Cross will improve the main building — the northernmost one, beside the driveway. This building will hold Power Cross head offices and may offer free space for other ministries in the future. Storment says the building needs a new roof and flooring; other aesthetic improvements will be made as well. 

“We operated the ministry out of our home the first two years we were getting started,” she said, “so we know as a smaller ministry it would be nice not to pay for an office.”

The building to the south of the entry drive will be converted to hold a commercial kitchen, cafeteria, study hall, discipleship room and locker rooms. 

Today, Power Cross serves hot meals to all participants. Meals are prepared in Statesville and transported to Salisbury because the organization doesn’t have a local kitchen. Once a commercial kitchen is built, meals can be prepared locally. And it will quickly be put to use, as the organization served 70,000 meals between its two locations last year. This building is the first step in phase No. 1 of the expansion, which starts in August. The administrative building will also be in the first phase.

The grassy area behind the buildings will be turned into a practice football field and athletic training area as part of phase No. 2. Today, the organization drives kids in Power Cross buses to Kelsey Scott Park to practice.

Also in the second phase, the three small metal buildings will be torn down and replaced by a 6,600-square-foot, multi-use athletic training facility.

Boys can participate in basketball, baseball or football today; wrestling will be added soon. 

For everyone

Coach John Phillip Knox, “Coach Phil” to the kids, is proud to serve in the ministry. 

“My sons came to me and said, ‘Daddy, you got to go help at Power Cross,’” Knox said.

His son, John II, just returned from Europe, where he competed in pro football. Also coaching is Tim Worley, who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Bears. Other coaches include Shawn Perry, Tamorris Wooten, Anthony Shegog, Khalil Miller, Qualin Keaton and Matt Murdock. 

When Power Cross first came to Salisbury in 2015, there was some pushback from members of the black community, who said the organization would “whitewash” their youth.

Knox scoffs at the thought.

“You look in here,” he says, “and almost every coach is black. We teach from the Christian Athletic Bible. That Bible is for everyone.”

Knox cited numbers as proof of the need for the program.

Seven boys of his 7-8-year-old group have lost their fathers to violent crime. He recalled a young man who had no underwear until “Coach Nat” Storment heard about it and privately bought him a supply of underpants, T shirts and socks.

“The best thing I know from my heart,” he says, “is these people do what they say.” 

Family-oriented ministry

Power Cross has a good track record in Statesville, where it started 11 years ago. Storment says 100% of their participants have graduated from high school on time and 40 participants have gone to college in three graduating classes. Some alumni serve Power Cross full time. 

The organization expanded to Salisbury, she says, because many of their boys left the program in Statesville to move here. It launched a football camp in 2018 with 30 boys and, today, serves nearly 130 boys ages 7 to 12, with more signing up every week. As the 12-year-olds age up, Power Cross will continue to serve them while accepting more young boys.

To date, everything in Salisbury has been managed from Statesville, where Power Cross has a board of directors. In order to better serve Salisbury, Storment says, the organization will continue with a main board of directors and add advisory boards for each location. Storment says there are plans to add a third location in the next two years. 

“Because we are very much a family-oriented ministry, we want to make sure the people who serve on our board are truly invested in Power Cross and understand the needs and operation of the ministry,” she said. “Because we are still a little new to Salisbury, we allowed some time before we add new members.”

Storment says there are plans plan to add the Salisbury advisory board by September.

‘We can take the right path’

As for the boys, Power Cross seems to fill a need. Vashaun Scott, 8, said, “I like it here because I learn about football and God. I didn’t know about God before I came. Sometimes people take the wrong path, but we can take the right path. I’ve learned how to tackle and how to take the stance.”

He demonstrated the stance by crouching with one finger on the ground.

“My mama likes me to come because we didn’t have nothing to do after school,” he said.

Vance Scott, 7, says, “I like it because we learn about God. Sometimes we call him Jesus.”

Harveyon Henderson said he enjoys the sports and Bible study.

“When we listen, the coaches are nice. Mama likes me to come because I get on her nerves,” Henderson said.

On this day, Murdock entered the dining hall with a Bible in his hand.

“I’m going to give a little Bible study today,” he says. “Raise your hand if you can tell me your favorite super hero.”

Right after Batman, Spiderman and Superman, one young man offers, “Coach Phil!”

Coach Phil, caught unaware, smiled and shook his head.

Privately, he said, “I don’t want these boys to wind up dead. I don’t want them on drugs, selling drugs, in jail. They deserve a bright future and that’s why we’re here working with them.”

Power Cross plans to hold a fundraiser in the fall to bring more awareness about its project and to allow local folks to invest in its work.

For more information about the organization, visit powercross.org.

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