Q.1 Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
Ans. Crushers Club was created to be the strongest alternative to gangs in Chicago by providing high risk boys and young men with the support and tools needed to restore their lives and improve their neighborhood. With over a decade of experience with gang affiliated and justice involved youth, Sally created Crushers Club – an innovative youth violence prevention and reduction program located in Englewood on Chicago’s South Side – in response to the neighborhoods epidemic of violence and incarceration.
Q.2 Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
Ans. The Crushers Club theory of change is to harness the same tactics used by gangs in order to redirect and stabilize high-risk youth rather than incarcerate them. But instead of guns and drugs we use boxing and music. We put our youth on the payroll and put them in charge – we are hero makers – letting them lead the charge of saving each other and their community.
Q.3 What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
Ans.The inspiration for Crushers came in 2000 when I went to Englewood to begin volunteering at a court mandated program for juveniles. All I kept thinking was what if it was my son? What if I was raising my kids in a war zone? I wanted to do something to help.
Q.4 How many hours do you work a day on average?
Ans: Working 10 hour days frequently and being available to our youth whenever they need us, Crushers Club doesn’t believe in second chances we believe in a million chances. Our success is due to investing multi year in helping disengage our youth from the gang culture and transforming their lives into contributing members of society. Providing a daily purpose and sense of belonging are key to preventing them from continuing in gang activity. When people ask what is our secret sauce tell them a ton of love with a system of intelligent consequences. To me a good leader steps back and lets the youth lead. They are the real heroes living and dying in a war zone that shouldn’t exist in a place as affluent as America.
Q.5 What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Ans. For others wanting to start a non for profit my best advice is never give up, no matter what hold onto your vision. I ran out of money twice in the beginning, but I just kept operating and praying and never gave up on building something that could make a difference. My faith is what gets me through everything and what keeps me motivated.
Q.6 What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: I would say the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur are tenacity, hope and vision. No matter what just keep doing the work and serving.
Q.7 To what do you most attribute your success?
Ans: I attribute our success to a never give up mentality, and the belief that anyone can change given the right support and tools.
Q.8 Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Ans: We are funded by individuals and foundations, the Respect 90 Foundation, Southland Rise, Chicago community Trust, JUF, The White Foundation to name a few.
Q.9 What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Ans: The best way to achieve success for me is to know we all make mistakes but that when are youth re offend or get in trouble that is an opportunity for growth and loyalty. Mistakes are gifts its how we learn. I always tell the boys the reason I am so wise is because I made a million mistakes. We use a system of clear cut consequences for everything, no call no show you volunteer the next day, cursing is 25 push ups, bullying is $5 off your paycheck and 1 day suspension etc
Q.10 Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
Ans: In 5 to 10 years I hope to have expanded to 2 more sites and shared our model with others working with this demographic.
Q.11 Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Ans: There are so many other non for profits I admire, Chicago Eco House has an amazing model to rebuild the community through flower farming and bee keeping and I Grow Chicago does amazing work in Englewood rebuilding the community and providing a safe haven for many. There are so many people working to help those less fortunate and I admire anyone who puts others first.
Q.12 How important have good employees been to your success?
Ans: Having a strong team is crucial to success. We have an amazing team of men, all who have history in Englewood. They are the key ingredient to success. Love for our youth is the number one criteria and the ability to support our youth as the leaders and hero makers of tomorrow is where they draw their motivation and strength from. We have weekly staff meetings where we discuss the previous week and our boys progress.
Q.13 How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
Ans: We encourage our boys to provide ideas and feedback at our weekly youth meeting. Every Thursday we take 30 minutes to discuss a topic and listen to our youth. We always ask them what can we do better?
Q.14 What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Ans: My most satisfying moments are when I see hope come alive in our youth. When they start to actually smile because they know they are not judged by their actions but by their hearts and they know they are loved here no matter how many poor choices or mistakes they make. That is family people whose love does not change like the wind based on our actions. We all need to feel that type of unconditional love.
Q.15 What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?
Ans: Ours is a culture of belonging, family, love, joy and purpose. I stand by every child is my child and family is not DNA, family is people that love and respect you and are there for you at your lowest point with open arms.
Q.16 In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
Ans: The one word to describe my life as an entrepreneur would be soldier because I will never stop fighting for a brighter future for these young men.
Company : CRUSHERS CLUB
Address : 1406 West 64th Street
City : Chicago
State : IL
Zip : 60636
Phone : 312-221-0289
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org