Over the edge

Natalie Rowland, News Editor

Seventeen stories up. Attached only by a harness to a rope connected to the top of the building. Arms spread wide as they rappel to the bottom where hundreds of people are gathered watching. A smile grows with the realization of the difference they just made in the community.

This will be the picture for Lawrence North Principal, Brett Crousore and Fall Creek Valley Project Lead the Way teacher, Jason Williams  as they rappel 17 stories down the Barnes and Thornburg building in downtown Indianapolis this Friday. They are going Over the Edge as they do their part in a fundraiser to stop youth violence. Motivated by their love for the kids in their community, they both agreed to take part in this challenge.

“I’m very passionate about this situation, so I said I would love to do it. It’s for a great cause,” Crousore said.

Over the Edge is an event put on by Central Indiana Youth for Christ to raise money to stop youth violence. All the money will go directly to their Juvenile Justice Program, a youth outreach program that helps students become more productive members of society, instead of taking part in violence in the community. Chris Rickelman, the LN and FCV leader for a YFC program called Campus Life, believes that this event will help with awareness of the problems in our community and will help raise money for programs against youth violence.

“Our overall goal is to raise further awareness of the growing problem of youth violence and to raise funds to support our programs like Juvenile Justice, Campus Life and other programs that we do,” Rickelman said.

As a teacher for the youth in the community, Williams is passionate about stopping youth violence. So when he was given the opportunity to contribute to the cause, he was all in.

“I’ve been bothered a lot lately by the amount of violence that I have read and heard about. So when Chris came up to me and presented this idea to raise some money for our youth in the Juvenile Justice system, in that moment I was in. I thought it was a great idea and I believed in it,” Williams said.

The first 76 rapellers to raise a minimum of $1,000 will be sent over the edge. Each potential rappeller has a page set up where friends, family, and people from the community can donate to help them meet their goal. Both Crousore and Williams met their goal so they will be part of the 76 people going over the edge.  Crousore believes that the community has been very supportive in this which has helped him in reaching his goal.

“It’s been a great response. People have really all jumped on board with this. As a community, we find ways to donate to certain causes like this,” Crousore said.

The money will go directly to support programs against youth violence. In addition to the financial support for these programs, Williams believes that this event will also lead to greater awareness and public support for the cause.

“As the public starts to become more aware and interested, maybe instead of just reading a news story and saying ‘that’s terrible’ they start thinking ‘something can be done about this and I can be part of a change,’” Williams said.

Williams and Crousore are just two of the many people signed up to take part in this event. To Rickelman, it is exciting that there are so many people that care about the youth in the community enough to go over the edge,

“I’m thrilled to have guys who are so loved in our community that have such a heart for students that have decided to partner with us and I am excited that there are individuals that decided to jump into this crazy idea to help our cause,” Rickelman said.

Crazy or not, Williams and Crousore are all in for doing this. Though they are both excited to actually go off the side of the building, they both think that once it comes time to make the jump that they will be nervous.

“It is something that I have never done so I’m sure I’ll be anxious as it is happening but right now I am excited,” Williams said.

“I’m excited. I think my wife and my mom are more nervous about being up 17 stories than I am, but I’m sure once the adrenaline kicks, I’ll be nervous,” Crousore said.

To Williams, this event is a way to lead to a better future away from violence and crime. He hopes that this will create a better community for his kids and future grandkids to grow up in.

“I want our city to be a great place. I want my kids and grandkids to have a safe place to grow up in where the fear of violence isn’t something they think about when they walk to school,” Williams said.