A Common Goal
Montgomery’s Common Ground has found just that with several area businesses that share its vision and contribute to help it realize its goals.
Common Ground Montgomery, led and developed by Founder and Executive Director Bryan Kelly, is a non-profit organization focused on revitalizing the neighborhood of Washington Park by fostering leaders from urban youth and transforming their lives through Christian leadership. Above all, Kelly values the principles of unity and change, and he is dedicated to revamping this neighborhood so that at-risk youth and underprivileged, low-in-come households have a fair shot at life.
“Common Ground is focused on seeing community development in Washing-ton Park, and we are trying to see that neighborhood thrive,” Kelly said. “That area is faced with violence, poverty and shootings, and the children who grow up there are in hard times. There is a lot of hopelessness, and we want to see that neighborhood put back together. We want to see husbands and wives be leaders and mentors for their families.”
Since the inception of Common Ground in 2006, the organization has gained many supporters who make donations to help fund the organization. From First United Methodist Church to St. James School and Trinity Presbyterian School, Kelly’s mission touches many, including area businesses like Beasley Allen and Alabama Power, who’ve chosen to pitch in.
“The only way our world can be changed for the better is to change individuals,” said Willa Carpenter, Human Resources Liaison for the Beasley Allen Law Firm, who explained why the firm supports Common Ground. “They will change communities, cities and beyond, and through the leadership of Bryan Kelly, we can transform young lives into men and women who will grow up to build strong families, embrace education and secure jobs. Common Ground has opened a window of opportunity for underprivileged youth, allowing them to see beyond poverty, beyond the place where they are. These kids have the chance to experience a transformed life in Christ Jesus, and this will change their world and ours.”
Kelly is steadfast in his mission, and his goal for the neighborhood has expanded beyond the parameters of Washington Park. From summer camps and youth development, to getting first-time homebuyers into formerly dilapidated, newly renovated homes, and partnering with Valiant Cross Academy, an all-male private school on Dexter Avenue, Kelly has managed to expand the vision so close to his heart. Kelly was charged with drug traf-ficking as a young adult and notes that upon receiving a second chance, he realized there was room for change in this world. His background working in outreach at Troy University, along with receiving a Master’s degree in Divinity and Reformed Theological Seminary, all led him to create an organization that, for him, serves a higher purpose.
“My second chance gave me a lot of opportunity,” Kelly said. “I became a Christian in college, and I redirected my thinking on race, moving from an ‘us vs. them’ mentality to a ‘we’ mentality. I want to see long-term change with two-parent households and more leaders, children who grow up and break the patterns of early dropout rates, teenage pregnancy, violence and crime. We think this could be altered by changing the odds and connecting across racial lines.”
While the organization continues to leave its mark on the city, making great strides where all might seem lost, Kelly hopes that his message is heard as Common Ground seeks to recruit new volunteers and donors.
“We rely on the investment of others,” Kelly said. “We need more people to get involved. We need mentors and tutors for developmental electives such as sports and the arts, and we need help in administrative ways. It takes a lot of people to do what we do.”
More info: For more information on Common Ground Montgomery or to get your business involved, visit www.cgme.org or call 334-593-5803.